A recent opinion piece by Cherokee genealogist David Cornsilk had me thinking about the "identity theft" of heritage that is going on in California Indian Country.
As we have seen in some tribe's such as San Pasqual , white interlopers have taken control of the tribe. And as surely as Andrea Smith, Elizabeth Warren,or Ward Churchill did, they have taken the identity of real Indians.
San Pasqual leader Allan Lawson's ancestor has NO blood of the band. His ancestor explicitly stated they were NOT Indian, yet the BIA has seen fit to give them all rights as Indians and keep the real descendants out. Self proclaimed Indians should not have the rights of true Native Americans. Yet, they do at Pechanga and San Pasqual. The Nooksack tribe is led by one who was adopted into the tribe, yet he has been attempting to disenroll true Nooksack people claiming they "don't belong". His attempts were SLAPPED down this week by the IBIA.
In my own family's case, we are descended from Original Pechanga Indians. In our disenrollment case the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, led by Mark Macarro, hired renowned anthropologist Dr. John Johnson to research our ancestor Paulina Hunter, from whom 175 of us descend.
Dr. Johnson has done extensive work with The Padrones, the records of the Spanish missionaries dating back to the 18th century. He was quickly able to provide documentation and evidence of our ancestral ties to Pechanga and Temecula, where the Pechanga Reservation now exists. He used the tribe's own paperwork and records, to show Paulina Hunter was indeed a Pechanga Indian.
In a television interview, Dr. Johnson stated that NO OTHER FAMILY belonged more than the Hunters. We were 100% Pechanga. Well at least from the 1700's to 2006 when the tribal council overruled the will of the people and terminated Paulina Hunter and all her descendants, living or dead. We are collateral damage.
We had the proof of ancestry, something that many in the tribe DO NOT have. My family is still on the outside, even though we LIVE ON THE INSIDE of the reservation. We still have our original allotment issued by President McKinley that we received at the inception of the reservation . We live under an Apartheid system, with no rights to vote on issues that affect us.
Our tribal history proves we belong, with chairman Macarro's own ancestor calling Paulina Hunter "AUNT". We have sworn depositions, taken in the Luiseno language in 1915 that state that Paulina Hunter was Pechanga, you know, from people that KNEW HER when she was living! (she died in 1899).
I invite ALL Pechanga people to compare our history to their own. Chairman Macarro wasn't born in the area like so many of our family have been. He wasn't even on the original list of enrolled, nor was Jennie Miranda the previous tribal chair, who is now disenfranchised.
We have long established relations to the tribe and the reservation. We didn't have to manufacture our history like some tribal families.
Do the right thing Pechanga, bring the rightful people home........