Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bree Black Horse: Recognize. Disenrolled Indians Acknowledged As Their Own Tribes

New addition to Native American Law Firm Galanda Broadman, attorney Bree Blackhorse has a new option on the table.  Recognition of DISENROLLED Natives of current recognized tribes.

Why shouldn't they be?  In my own tribe, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, my family was PROVEN to belong to the tribe by the TRIBE's own documents.   They disenrolled my family anyway, accepting testimony from an imprisoned child molester, vs. red-ribboned documents and their own hired expert's testimony. There are THOUSANDS who have been abused by their own tribes...

Here's Bree's blog post

It could happen.  In fact, the Federal Government is currently considering whether a band of disenrolled California Pomo Indians should be recognized as their own tribe.  Other tribes should be worried about the threat that disenrolling tribes may cause the inter-tribal status quo.

In 2005, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation disenrolled a portion of its membership as a result of internal division following Pinoleville’s reestablishment as a federally recognized tribe.  Some of the disenrolled Pinoleville Pomos now seek federal acknowledgement as the Ukiah Valley Pomo Indian Tribe.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs is in the process of reviewing the Ukiah Pomos’ application for federal acknowledgement.

The federal acknowledgment regulations do not foreclose the possibility of disenrolled Indians, such as the Ukiah Pomos, being recognized as their own tribe.  A federally recognized tribe must be comprised of a “unique membership,” including that “comprised principally of persons who are not members of any federally recognized Indian tribe.”  

Section 83.11(f), however, provides an avenue to acknowledgment for a tribe whose members have been “otherwise associated with a federallyrecognized Indian tribe.”  A tribe petitioning for recognition that falls within this definition must constitute a “separate political autonomous entity.”

Disenrolled Indians, who are typically blood-related and otherwise closely connected like the Nooksack 306, the Grand Ronde Chief Tumulth Descendants, and the Ukiah Pomos, can make that showing by satisfying both the “distinct community” and “political influence or authority” criteria.

Evidence of distinct community includes social relationships between those Indians; patterns of informal social interaction between them; and shared economic or other activity amongst them.

Evidence of disenrolled Indians’ “political influence or authority” includes the community’s use of a council or other centralized leadership process to control their members’ behavior, to make decisions affecting the group, and to represent the community in dealing with outsiders in matters of consequence.

Indeed, a disenrollment assault against a family or group of Indians only serves to further their communal distinction and political authority; those relatives are forced to strengthen their social relations and interaction patterns, if not form their own leadership council, in order to fend for their survival.

And resorting to legal processes to defend their original membership can force federal consideration of their petition to be recognized as a new tribe.

The Ukiah Pomos sued the Federal Government in Allen v. United States, 871 F. Supp. 2d 982 (N.D. Cal. 2012), over the BIA’s failure to call an IRA Secretarial election for the Ukiah Valley Pomo Indian Tribe.

Although the District Court found that the Ukiah Pomos did not fall within the IRA’s second definition of Indian—after a partial interpretation of Section 19 of the IRA and an inadequate interpretation of the Act’s legislative history—the parties settled the litigation on terms that now require the BIA to consider the Ukiah Pomos’ recognition petition.  It will be interesting to see of the Obama Administration takes action before the 2016 election.

In any event, disenrolling tribes should be careful what they wish for—as should all tribes.


Anonymous said...

That is a great idea. Why did it take so long ?

Anonymous said...

it's even more interesting when the band knows their are already federal recognition under allotments, land use, and water rights. clans already recognized the disenrolled now the question is, who has more say of the land usage? the creator already wrote the book. it's time to honor ALL.

Anonymous said...
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H. Caufield said...

I hear Gregg Sarris, Graton Pomo Chairman is not native; which is why he put in the tribe's constitution that there will never be disenrollments, to protect himself.

Anonymous said...

I hear that Caufield doesnt know anything...The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians is a Northern California Indian Tribe whose Pomo and Wappo ancestors occupied the Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys continuously and successfully for more than five thousand years. Their success was due to a sophisticated knowledge of their environment, refined arts and technologies, participation in complex trade networks, with strong family and community bonds.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Native American Casinos The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act represents one of the biggest failures of U.S. policy in the last fifty years. Passed by Congress in 1988 under the guise of “economic development” for the country’s impoverished Native American tribes, IGRA has resulted in the transfer of tens of billions of dollars to casino operators while many Native Americans still remain in serious poverty. It also has been a driving force behind the massive expansion of predatory gambling that has overwhelmed the U.S. over the last twenty years. Casinos are dishonest, financially-damaging to citizens and are contributing to the unfairness and inequality of opportunity in America – a truth that remains unchanged regardless whether they are commercial casinos or Native American casinos. While most people understand lotteries are an extension of government, many citizens do not fully realize that the same is true for casinos. Casinos are a creation of government and its public policies. They are instituted by the states to create a new revenue source separate from direct taxation, and they almost always create regional monopolies for the casinos in the process. Without the legal, administrative, regulatory, and promotional privileges provided by government, casinos would not be spreading into mainstream American life as they are today and likely would exist only on the fringes of society. - See more at: http://stoppredatorygambling.org/blog/category/research-center/native-american-casinos-research-center/#sthash.xNB16tzW.dpuf

Anonymous said...

Casinos have proven to be a tremendous asset to the Indian nations, but it seems they have also served as one of the greatest sources of temptation to tribal leaders and members.

This week I have received letters of complaint by members of several tribes questioning the honesty of their leaders. The old saying, "Where there's smoke, there's fire," may appropriately be applied in some of these cases.

There seems to be some smoke wafting from the casino of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe in northeastern South Dakota. The following note appeared on the op-ed page in the Fargo (N.D.) Forum and describes a situation now boiling on that reservation:

LEAFY SPURGE: To the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribal Council, which recently fired the chief executive of their gaming enterprise after he reported a string of bad checks written by the manager of Dakota Magic Casino and other evidence of malfeasance, including self-dealing and conflicts of interest. Michael Roberts asked for "whistle-blower" protection but was fired on the pretext that he'd overstepped his authority by hiring an outside law firm. It won't wash. The authorities now are looking into matters - and the council now is attacking Roberts for making his allegations public; instead the council should open up and allow the sun to shine, and then take corrective action.

And a local newspaper in Oklahoma reported this incident:

Today, Dawena Pappan, 39, of Ponca City, Oklahoma, pled guilty before United States District Judge Robin Cauthron to embezzling funds from the Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma, announced Robert J. Troester, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Pappan, who is a member of the Tonkawa Tribe, served as the Tribe's Secretary-Treasurer and was a member of the Tribe's Business Committee from mid-1999 through mid-2008. Today, she pled guilty to having worked with other tribal officers from April 2005 through April 2008 to take several hundred thousand dollars of proceeds from the Tribes casino operations for their personal use, rather than legitimate tribal activities.

At sentencing, Pappan faces up to five years in federal prison plus a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution. A sentencing hearing has been set for January 20, 2010, at 9:00 a.m.
I have also heard of turmoil in the Comanche Nation also in Oklahoma. Here is an email to that affect:
The Comanche Nation of Oklahoma has been losing millions of dollars each year for a long time. The amount is probably around $100 million by now and climbing. The citizens of the Nation really have no recourse for action and cannot get answers from the elected leadership. The membership feels paralyzed. Of course audits come back clean, but many know that's not the case. Federal courts will not touch Indian issues because of our mythical sovereignty, and we surely do not want to go into state courts because of states' rights, esp. here in Oklahoma.
For more (unverified info), go to comanchenationforum. It will give you an idea of what's going on.

And what is that smoke coming from the Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota? There is more than one tribal member asking serious questions:

Word came out last that two tribal officials were indicted on embezzlement charges....... Resource Center for rehab employees could not cash paychecks. Banks refused to honor them. A firefighter working on controlled burn went to get gas for fire truck and tribal credit card was denied. Trash piling up by dumpsters, one end of tribal building yesterday was closed. They claimed swine flu and that they were wiping it down. An audit was done last week while big Whigs were at NCAI. Apparently there is now a freeze on all tribal funds/spending/payroll
Check out www.elbowoods.com INNER VOICE is a group trying to combat the corruption.

In fairness to Chairman Marcus D. Levings of the Three Affiliated Tribes, he did send out a response to the latest charges. In part his press release read:

Anonymous said...

I want to reassure the membership that at no time was the Tribe without adequate funds to pay our employees, our bills and to provide those services which our members rely on. Payroll was released today and the arbitration judgment that was levied against us was satisfied. While we are extremely dissatisfied with the outcome of that arbitration and the extreme measures taken against the Tribe and our enrolled members, it is an issue that needed to be addressed in order for the Tribe to continue its duty to provide governmental services to our members, our elders and the many people who rely on the Three Affiliated Tribes.

So like I said, there is an awful lot of smoke out there just smoldering and ready to ignite. Having covered tribal politics for 30 years I know as a fact that every tribal government has its dissenters and some dissent for good reasons and others for personal reasons. Perhaps the powers-that-be can take a look at what is in this column, for starters, and separate the chaff from the wheat. Perhaps some of these folks aren't complaining just to exercise their lungs. Where there's smoke there's fire and where there's money, there's temptation.

Anonymous said...

whatever got to you anonymous 11:46 must have been some serious truth. I applaud your tactic of denying everyone else continuity. Well done. But you must also be well done. Ready for the burn in hell or a long stay in prison. Can't imagine the words on here that really tore at your ego but they have. Blocking us and denying us the privilege of freedom of expression can't feel near as bad as the guilt you are feeling. At least use your own words or aren't you capable of writing your own sentences or having your own thoughts. Whatever your worry is I am glad that I do not have to deal with your conscious. It must be a terrible place to be. What memories have you created for yourself. How sad. Beyond sad. Truly pitiful.