Part THREE in the story of how a group with no Pechanga blood gained control of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. Anyone wonder where the Bureau of Indian Affairs was in all this?
The Pechanga Band had a stable government for many years. Over a period of 10 years or so, the Band developed and adopted a Constitution and an Enrollment in response to the growing population on the reservation and the need of the Band for a more formal governing structure.
After the Constitution was adopted and the enrollment criteria decided upon, the Band proceeded to enroll approximately 450 members in full compliance with its enrollment procedures.
A small group of dissidents, led by Butch Murphy, refused to acknowledge the Band’s Constitution and the tribal enrollment process. In fact, they refused to apply for enrollment. This small group announced to the Pechanga Band at a tribal meeting that they were breaking away from the Band and forming their own tribal government.
Prior to breaking away from the Band, the Splinter Group took steps to disrupt the workings of the government.
Below are some quotes regarding the Splinter Group’s actions:
“…we never did get past the first item which was a petition circulated by JM to abolish the bylaws and new roll. They wanted to go by recognition only…If they don’t like you, you never get recognized though you would be a legitimate member by lineal descent.”
“…I felt we needed police protection. They were that violent.”
“…the violence of the opposition would not allow the continuance of agenda. Now they are starting their own band. This stems from agitators who probably do not have a Pechanga or Temecula back ground.”
“We may have to take legal action before something drastic happens here.”
These actions, along with their need to abolish the adopted Constitution and enrollment criteria and their failure to apply for enrollment, are signs that the Splinter Group “probably do not have a Pechanga or Temecula back ground.”
If they did have lineal descent and could meet the enrollment criteria developed and approved by the tribe, why was it necessary to cause such disruption of tribal government and eventually break away to form its own government with separate enrollment criteria?
Was their breaking away from the Band to form their own government a concession that they in fact could not meet the enrollment criteria and they were not tribal members as defined in the Band’s governing documents?