FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --There is breaking news tonight related to the shutdown of Chukchansi Casino. The federal government has decided to recognize one of the feuding leadership councils of the Chukchansi tribe.
In a decision issued today, the Interior Department ruled the faction consisting of Reggie Lewis, Nancy Ayala, and others who were elected to the tribal council in 2010 are the legal representatives of the tribe.
Lewis told Action News this is a momentous decision for the tribe. He says it will enable his group to begin negotiating with the federal government to reopen the casino which was shut down four months ago.
This is how the DOI assists tribes in self-determination. The tribe can't even hold elections to determine their own leaders. They get the leaders that the DOI says are their legal representatives. The same leaders that managed the tribe's casino into closure through their incompetence and corruption now get another chance to suck the people dry.
You Chukchansi should remove all the 2010 leaders from office. They are not going to work for the general welfare of the people. They are going to steal your money and blame it on the disenrollees. Don't you have any real leaders? Or do you only have these vampires?
nokomis hernandez, dora jones, chance alberta, reggie lewis, nancy ayala, jennifer stanley and morris reid....from this composition, i would say a vote of THIS council will result in four denying and three approving those disenrolled between 2010 and 2012 being brought back--with the same number for or against a forensic audit being completed...and NONE of these council members will assure that what needs to be done to heal our people will occur, and that is to bring ALL our chukchansi people home, including ALL of the over a thousand chukchansi dismembered since this travesty was implemented against our people over a decade ago...the GENERAL council needs to press for a clean slate election asap, and assure with their votes what needs to be done to unite our people and bring justice is accomplished...
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The tribal members AKA General Council don't care who runs it all they care about is their $300 dollar checks and their Welfare checks. Reggie and his pet Hyenas Nancy,Chance,2 face Nokomis,Dr whats it's name and Gold Digging Tracy will get rid of all of you tribal members by your own hand of course for your $1000.00 dollars they bought you all for as for the other groups what you have to say or show for your selves? looks like your nothing but floor mats just being walked on
Reggie is going for 100 million.and no one can stop him.
Same as it alwasy was. Very sad state of affairs. I am not suprised. I am sure it is part of a rarger deal that is still unseen. Someone promised someone else something to be paid or done in the future. Money, politcal support, or something related to the demise of the Indian culture.
Time will tell.
I should check the spelling first, what I was saying it is part of a larger deal.
Well i guess im still disenrolled.
$300 to $400 a month is nothing compared to other tribes, you Chukchansi are getting majorly ripped off by someone, what a set up they have. I will be your leader and give you all 10 times that and still make mucho bucks from your Casino. Dang other tribes are raking in thousands up to $30,000 a month and you Chukchansi with a very big Casino are only getting piddly squat, really sad how you are being walked over and you don't care, but I guess that is typical greed.
@February 10, 2015 at 11:55 AM:
Just from your writing I seriously doubt you could turn around or greatly influence the local PTA. Perhaps you might have a marginally marketable 4-year degree. But your writing shows deficient recognition and awareness abilities. From your writing you obviously have a lack of mathematical concepts, such as a denominator. This denominator is what some in these tribes are working on, so the remaining individuals can get that $30k per month, so to speak. You also show a lack of grammatical reference as I'm sure you mean $30,000 per individual, and not tribe. A tribe that rakes in $30,000 per month is a small pittance even compared to Chukchansi. If you can't get a simple post right, surely you wouldn't be much for a manager/leader of any significance.
Reggie, Nancy, and Tex sure have run the tribe and casino into the ground. It was on their watch that so many failures occurred, like not complying with gaming regulations leading to the excuse for Tex to raid the casino even though he could of submitted those documents as well while his faction had control. Ultimately, all this really started when Reggie and Chance lost their seats on the council and refused to accept the fact that they are losers. The perfect storm of self-serving interest, greed and incompetence.
@Restitution: The fact that Reggie and Chance lost reelection shows that there was a movement to replace the 2010 Council. But on Indian land elections don't necessarily mean anything. And, when the democratic process fails we've already seen what happens when other approaches are used, such as Tex and accomplices getting locked up following the raid and all the self-proclaimed leaders from their rigged elections. Look at all the other blogs here, and you see that this problem of stealing from the people, or their identity is quite prevalent. It's just a matter of unclinching the fist of greed from those dictators who seek to eliminate political opponents through disenrollment and then hide behind the veil of tribal sovereignty.
Reggie and chance will get what they deserve.
I am well acquainted with the usurpation of the power of the tribe by corrupt leaders. For Chukchansi this appears to be an opportunity that could resonate throughout Indian Country. The DOI is imposing leaders on the tribe that were elected 5 years ago. Is that part of their mandate to support self-determination among tribes?
I think not. I believe it is another ploy to support corrupt tribal leaders. From the viewpoint of the tribal members it makes no sense to set up the leaders whose incompetence created a situation where the NIGC had to step in and close the main source of tribal revenue.
These leaders are failures, and for the DOI to force them on the tribe undermines sovereignty and puts the tribe in the position of being victimized once again. Not only is this contradictory to a policy of self-determination, but it is also a violation of the fiduciary trust obligations to put tribal members in the grips of corrupt leaders who are responsible for $50 million in missing funds.
The tribe should meet without the enticement of money to draft a resolution to conduct a clean slate election where none of the leaders of the factions can participate. The resolution should include an invitation for a BIA observer, and include a vote to amend the governing document to include language that makes it patently clear that the majority vote of the tribe is the power and authority.
Perhaps it might be going too far, but the tribe might also rebuke the DOI and the BIA for giving deference to corrupt leaders and preventing the will of the people to be heard.
This mess can only be cleaned up by good people making good decisions for the welfare and benefit of all. Any taint of corruption might prevent the reopening of the casino unless there has already been a deal struck among the parties interested in ripping off the tribe. Then there will never be any justice, and the leaders will get rich, the people will fight among themselves, the disenrollments will continue, and the shame will endure through all time.
Great post. It’s good to see legitimate rationale on the blog.
I believe there are potential real leaders. However, it is a matter of getting them away from their real jobs and applying themselves to an economic situation that is less certain as a tribal leader. Career, family life, location of residence and work all come into play. At this point, most of these “leaders” are only in that position because they had nothing better to do career-wise, and in all likelihood, being a tribal council member is the ceiling of their capability or opportunity. Of which currently the only real requirement is the ability to argue and fight amongst each other.. oh and disenroll those opponents. Before the casino or paid council positions, people weren’t motivated to be a part of the council. Thus, the lackluster pool of council members. Plus, coming from Indian Country, or influence, it is tougher for individuals to emerge from preexisting substandard conditions to become professional career type leaders.
Additionally, for any real leaders, it requires navigating the fraudulent tribal elections where a winner gets disqualified after the fact just so the losing candidate(s) can retain their seat (Lewis, Alberta). And then the balance of voters gets manipulated through disenrollment so that the next election benefits them. So yes, it would be nice to have an election where the best available candidates, that are vetted through knowledge, skills and experience have a realistic chance to be leaders. Instead Chukchansi are stuck with this incompetent, selfish crew (I wouldn’t call them leaders) such as Reggie Lewis, Chance Alberta, Nancy Ayala… And then the BIA comes in and recognizes them (2010 Council) for business purposes. It would only be fitting that the same General Council, consisting of all tribal members, from 2010 also be recognized and allowed to vote in the elections. That would be true self-determination if the people can decide.
And that brings up the biggest can of worms, as to who is Chukchansi and who decides (same as all the feuding tribes). The lamest excuse here is by those that claim they are the only Chukchansi because they were the only ones that held onto their land. Using the land based criteria of maintaining allotment and distributions established by the government intent on destroying the Native American and integrating them into mainstream society as a basis for being Chukchansi is pure garbage. With all the hardships the ancestors endured, it only made sense to sell the land to improve their living conditions. So appropriately that claim has been stamped out so far. Much more appropriately would be actually following the constitution and recognizing all people that are descendants of Chukchansi as established therein. And kicking people out for something like one parent/ancestor being from another tribe should also be eliminated. Why would it be ok to marry black or white, but not from another Native American tribe? A person of multiple Native descent should be allowed to choose their tribe, but not flip flop, and their kids should not be impacted, because they too are descendants. Ultimately, it comes down to establishing the base population and sticking to it. Only in by birth, only out by death (misconduct and suspension should be outside sole discretion of the council. Separate legislative, executive and judicial powers = good concept). Once that happens, true leaders can emerge in a democratic process. The tribe can then move forward and focus on tribal-community relations, cultural self-preservation, improve tribal members social, economic and health standards, and maybe… even reopen the casino.
(continued in next post)
As far as getting the tribal members to rebuke the BIA/DOI, or do anything, it is one thing to suggest it. It is another to actually get enough tribal members together in the first place, especially without an incentive like the $1,000. If the incentive could be guaranteed based on turnout and not biased by anybody or particular vote, that may work to get the turnout (It must be noted apathy is huge without immediate gratification. Even the midterm US election only saw 34% voter turnout). But there is also having the members informed enough to understand what they are voting on. With the regular U.S. and local elections people even get misconstrued information and understanding of the proposals. Let alone a one day affair when people would have to digest something like constitutional amendments in a large group setting. There would need to be proper delivery of the proposals to the people, and maintaining the attention of that many people from various backgrounds, and keeping the peace. It would be a very monumental feat to get everybody together to come to a vote, especially when there are many voters with ties to each faction and only so many that could be considered swing voters that aren’t really tied to a faction. And this brings us back to where the will of the people becomes distorted by disenrollment. When the people are in flux, so is the will. The will of the people in 2003, 2010, or 2015 therefore varies greatly, if only due to the process of selecting the people allowed to express their will, or vote. All the people must be allowed to vote!
Well my friend I feel your pain. If there are potential good leaders who unable to lead because of their personal circumstances then the tribe will continue to suffer. Some sacrifices are necessary to overcome obstacles. There is no other way to bring about positive change.
On the other hand, if the people are unwilling to make sacrifices and do the work to restore rule by law then they must sleep in the bed they made. There is no one who will step in to help them. There are only those who will step in to grab some money.
The BIA and the DOI often take the path of least resistance. They don't want to get involved so they make decisions they claim are reasonable, and then wash their hands of the matter.
All the people must vote! A current vote where real issues are decided and real leaders are elected to carry out the will of the people is the best solution. Unfortunately it sounds as though the people aren't ready for government by the will of the people. As they say, you can lead a horse to water...
There is an ellement of influence. All DOI and DOJ agencies are subject to congressional oversite and are thus guieded by legisation that guids internal policy within the repective departments. We are never going to see an indipendent action that upsets the status quo. That is just the way it works. Influence and lobbying for our cause and civil liberties is one of the best ways to effect change. It is possible, yet it takes time and dedication to the cuase. Keep the faith and work toward the day we see the change.
The personal circumstance of good leaders is only a portion of the obstacles, as I also touched upon before. It is too bad selecting good leaders isn't as simple as carrying out the will of the people. It’s not that the people aren’t ready for a government that carries out the will of the people. This is why there was a riot and a temporary take-over of a tribal government office only to be thwarted by the county sheriff. This occurred because the will of the people was not honored following an election!
It's a pure dictatorship at this point. This is revealed by the obvious manipulations of the votes and selectively applying or ignoring the constitution so that it benefits those in power. This poses the question: how do you peacefully wrestle control when the will of the people is not honored, and there are no other options such as civil action through a court that can determine when violations of the constitution have been made? Based on your presence here on this blog, and your screen name, I’m certain you too are experiencing similar obstacles.
In addition to the basic will of the people, there is also the need for the representation of the minority, such that they don’t get their rights taken away purely because they are in the minority (say a smaller family). Thus the need for checks and balances in government. This is why I feel the U.S. has the best model for government the world has ever seen. But even it has issues and continues this day to grapple with civil rights of minorities, such as gay or racial minorities. Would you say that the U.S. is not ready for a government by the will of the people? I would hope not. And to say Chukchansi, or other tribes going through this for that matter, are not ready for a government of the people also would not be accurate.
Ultimately I know of only one tribe, with a casino, that has stymied these disenrollment and power-grab situations. That tribe has effectively eliminated disenrollment, unless fraudulent activity was the basis to get enrolled. This included two iterations of the constitution before even getting a casino. And therein lies the primary obstacle, stopping disenrollment.
Thanks for the dialogue. Good conversation.
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