Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some Chumash are MORE EQUAL than Others, Though They May Be LESS Indian

Santa Barbara Independent opinionist Mike Brady has a piece on how 150 Chumash are enjoying largesse, while THOUSANDS of other Chumash are locked out.  It's good to see someone else seeing with open eyes.

 Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has about 150 enrolled members. They receive all the money from the casino. The thousands of other Chumash descendants, some with more Chumash DNA than the enrolled tribal members, are locked out, receiving no benefit from the Tribe’s fortune.

The state grants this gambling monopoly. The federal government removes enrolled members’ land from a taxable status (fee) into a “sovereign nation” (trust). The reason we did this is to appease our guilt and “make it right” for the Native Americans.
Does it correct our wrong to give a small minority huge wealth while leaving the remaining thousands of Chumash descendants out of the money?
The Santa Ynez Chumash Tribe asserts it has the legal basis to exclude the other Chumash. Does the legal right to do so make it right?
Laws have made it legal to:
Put Japanese Americans in relocation camps and strip them of land and possessions.
• Enslave Africans and African Americans.
• Keep African Americans second-class citizens without basic rights through the Jim Crow laws and the “separate but equal” determination by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where is the compensation to “make it right” for these people? Being legal did not make it right.
Shouldn’t we rethink government policies that enrich a small minority and do not “make it right” for the vast majority?
Charitable giving is a wonderful thing. Americans are truly altruistic. I applaud the Santa Ynez Chumash Tribe members for their gifts to the community. We also need to thank the individuals and charities, too numerous to list, that give as much, or a greater percentage, of their income to charity.
Does giving to charities give non-tribal members the right to stop paying property taxes?
Our schools, our roads, our water, our environment are all supported by taxes, and determinations about these critical issues are made through our government. Yet, we have an elephant in the room. The Enrolled Tribe says it is sovereign and above the rule of law.
All other citizens do, and will, bear the burdens of the Tribe’s actions.
My opinions and votes are often contrary to those of elected officials. But that is the democratic way. Other than about 150 U.S.citizens in Santa Barbara County, the Enrolled Tribal members, we all pay property taxes and live within the rules and regulations the majority have made. And, we give to the community.
I don’t feel right about allowing a small minority to gain extreme wealth at the expense of other Chumash descendants and all U.S.citizens. To me, this system fails to “make it right.”

1 comment:

Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Mike Brady says there are other descendants who have more Chumash DNA than the enrolled tribal members, but he fails to mention that the Chumash had many different villages, all with their own languages and customs. There were coastal Chumash, Inland Chumash and Island Chumash and who is this Mike Brady who can tell the Santa Ynez Chumash who belongs and who doesn't belong to their tribe?

All gaming tribes pay revenue distribution according to the State Gaming Compact, and this revenue is shared with tribes that do not have gaming. The Santa Ynez Chumash are following the law that was approved by the state, and the other Chumash can benefit if they are organized into tribes.

The state grants a monopoly to other interests also. They do this through licensing. So racetracks, and card houses also have a gaming monopoly that is regulated by the state, and even fewer people benefit from these monopolies. At least the tribe shares revenue with all its members and not just a handful of owners.

The government forced people off tribal land and onto reservations. They compensated the Indians for the theft of their land by giving them reservations on poor land in out of the way places and exempting it from taxes. The Indians couldn't pay taxes anyway because income opportunities were denied them through discriminatory practices. So this was not done to make things right. It was done to get the Indians off their land so settlers could develop the resources.

The Chumash Indians were not "given" their wealth. American Indians collectively worked for legislation that permitted gaming on their lands. Then the Chumash obtained financing, built a Casino, and operated it profitably. Some tribal casinos have failed, so give the Chumash some credit for being enterprising, and successful at their business.

Put it into perspective. Mike Brady pretends that he wants to help the other Chumash, and that somehow U.S. Citizens are being harmed because the Santa Barbara Chumash run a casino and make a profit. He failed to analyze the contribution of the Chumash business to the local economy and compare it to the amount of property tax the County might get from the tribe's small reservation. At the same time he turns a blind eye to all the other wealthy people who get tax breaks, favorable or protective legislation through lobbying efforts, and work hard at tax avoidance so they can keep their wealth.

So tell me Mr. Brady, what would the citizens of Santa Barbara County lose if the Chumash lost their Casino through a change in governmental policy? Put it in dollars and cents and lets see if your uniformed arguments hold water.