Saturday, January 21, 2017
Pechanga Indian Reservation: Travel Opinion Piece A Casino, Some History and DISENROLLMENT
The Pechangans are generally known as the Luisenos after the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. However, the Pechanga Indians believe life on earth began in the Temecula Valley. They also believe their ancestors have lived in the Temecula area for more than 10,000 years.
The first recorded Spanish contact was October 1797. The trip also included Lake Elsinore. The dominate presence of Mexico began many years of conflict, war and massacres. Each winning and losing. Hundreds of Pechangans were slaughtered by the rival Cahuilla Tribe. Hundreds were buried in a mound that can be seen from Highway 79.
Perhaps the most misunderstood period of history for the Native Americans revolves around the various mission established by Father Junipero Serra. Making history has glamorized their treatment. Which researchers branded the so-called documentation as lies.
The missions, from San Diego to San Francisco, enslaved most of the Indians. Their cultures were compromised; they were forced to become Christians, work long hours in the mines, and fields, eat food that was foreign to them and many other demeaning activities. Basically, poverty was their lot in life.
The problem with this behavior is that too often Native Americans have been classified as lazy, thieves, alcoholics and even criminals.
The establishment of resorts and casinos has changed the common perception. Men like James Ramos, Supervisor, and others have elevated the negative viewpoints concerning Native Americans.
This statement is a disclaimer regarding the following comments. In spite of the annual income of the Pechanga Casino-between 1 and 2 billion dollars a year-there is great contention within the ranks. Again, in spite of the fact that each tribe member receives between 300 and 400 thousand dollars per year.
The conflict is over disenrollment. The issue is over bloodlines. Who is and who isn’t a real Pechangan.
But those kicked out insist the issue is really about money. They are being deprived of healthcare, education opportunities for the children and monthly stipends. Two cousins, Rick Cuevas and Michael Medariaga, are the major combatants on the side disbarred in 2006.
Madariaga says, “We have the original deed signed by President McKinley.” He is the spokesman for those excommunicated. He also states, “It’s about money and political power.”
A recognized anthropologist is quoted as saying that the disenrolled are Pechangans. He also said, “I am surprised and dismayed that the tribe continues to maintain otherwise.”
The Pechanga leaders have refused repeatedly requests for an on-camera interview. However, the tribe chairman, Mark Macarro has said, “The issue is a question of ancestry.” OP: THERE IS NO QUESTION, we have PROVEN our ancestry, the question is the Macarro's honesty, and his unwillingness to do the right thing.
As of now, those “outside” have no legal recourse, BECAUSE INDIAN RESERVATIONS ARE SOVEREIGN. Meaning they are beyond the USA courts. “In the meantime, Cuevas and Madariaga are left with memories and nowhere to turn.” Cuevas said, “Now we can’t be buried here next to our relatives.”
Much of the material in this article was taken from a CBS News investigation.
Personally, I hope both sides will soon reconcile their quarrels and once again live together peacefully. OP: US too
Amen. Selah. So be it.