Former Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker has turned in his resignation as police chief for the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.
He was hired to serve in that position one month ago by ousted members of the band's Tribal Council as two factions of the tribe fight for governance and possession of tribal property and leadership.
"For a month, I have been serving as the Police Chief of the Paskenta Tribe,” Parker said. “When I took the post I let everybody involved know that I would serve as chief until all means and modes of peaceful resolution had been exhausted; and that at any point when I realized there would be no peaceful resolution to this discord, I would resign.”
The battle began during the tribe's annual General Council meeting on April 12, when a quorum of the general council voted to suspend 76 members of the Pata family on the basis they weren't "blood" tribal members.
The General Council also removed four members of the five member Tribal Council, including Tribal Council Treasurer Leslie Lohse, who has served on the tribal council since 1998 and in 2012 was named State Assembly 2nd District Woman of the Year. Others removed from the Tribal Council were David Swearinger, Geraldine Freeman, and Allen Swearinger.
The only remaining member on the Tribal Council was Chairman Andy Freeman. The General Council voted to replace the removed members with Ambrosia Rico as treasurer, Andrew Alejandre as secretary, Leticia Miller as vice chairperson, and Natasha Magana as member-at-large.
Parker said he still recognizes the four ousted members as the “duly elected Tribal Council.”
“I have worked side by side with the duly elected Tribal Council and I have been very impressed by their efforts to call for tribal unity and work through the legal process,” he stated. “They have also engaged with state and federal officials, who have not realized the urgency of making a decision. The four members of the Tribal Council have remained true to their resolve to maintain peace and call for a unified tribe.
Parker, who serves as on the Red Bluff City Council, said it has been an honor to serve as the police chief for the past month.
“But at this time I must step down. I do wish nothing but the best for the entire tribe,” he stated.
As the tribal battle continues, disturbing allegations from both factions have been made public.