Emilio Reyes, a Gabrieleno Tongva, a tribe which is currently NOT federally recognized, is our guest blogger, Reyes is the founder of STOP Tribal Genocide...For over five years I've done extensive research on the archives on the records created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A good friend of mine, Rick Cuevas, proprietor of Originalpechanga.com and a Pechanga disenrollee shed the light of many issues happening in Indian Country of which I was unaware. When I found out Natives were losing their tribal and federal rights due to tribal disenrollment, I immediately started researching the families affected and see how I could help.Presently, the Bureau of Indian Affairs oversees 567 Federally recognized tribes through four offices: Office of Indian Services, Office of Justice Services, Office of Trust Services and the Office of Field Operations.On June 2017 I filed the first lawsuit against the Department of the Interior; Bureau of Indian Affairs. This was the result of non-compliance on Freedom of Information Act Requests.The following is the story on how the 'Indian' was designed to fail, to be expendable, to be eliminated.
An act of Congress of May 18, 1928 (45 Stat. 602), authorized the attorney general of California to bring suit in the U.S. Court of Claims on behalf of the Indians of California for benefits they would have received under the 18 treaties negotiated with the U.S. A trust fund was created with appropriations made by Congress for educational, health, industrial and other purposes benefiting California Indians.California Indians were provided a six page application and required by law to answer 28 questions which related to the individual Native American claiming eligibility such as tribal affiliation, blood degree and family history. Upon completion of this work, a census was created listing 23,787 Native Americans who claimed California Indian ancestry. Today the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Federal Acknowledgement, claim these applications were approved with little or no verification.Native Americans are being disenrolled from their tribes and mostly due to these 1928 California Indian Applications. Tribal disenrollment, is the modern assimilation process which terminates the citizenship of Native Americans in their tribes.The Bureau of Indian Affairs has advised Federally Recognized tribes, that these applications cannot be used as membership and enrollment criteria. Tribes still often decide to go back to these 1928 applications and revisit the historical errors made by B
IA. Especially if it works to their advantage in disenrolling tribal members. Even though not confirmed, the oral histories of our elders have mentioned these applications approved by the Act of 1928 were mainly filled out by the Examiners during the enrollment of California Indians.
We have been able to confirm many historical errors in some of California Indian reservations. The San Pasqual Tribe, located in Valley View, CA, seat of San Diego, is the perfect example of erroneous enrollment by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A white man by the name of Frank Trask was hired to take care of the San Pasqual Indian Reservation, married a Baja California Indian who resided in the Mesa Grande Reservation, the family then occupied the San Pasqual Indian Reservation and made sure to keep the real descendants out, an ongoing problem happening for decades, and continuing to this day.California is the State where most tribal disenrollment are happening. I started conducting research on families that have been wrongfully disenrolled or have questionable Indian Ancestry. In my research I have found that there exists many inconsistencies, not by the genealogy of the individual in question, however, in the actions by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and most of the times by tribes.In these Freedom of Information Act Requests, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been non-compliant to FOIA requests. Interestingly, most BIA agencies outside of California have been compliant except the leading state on tribal disenrollment. The agencies in California which include the Pacific Regional Office, the California Central Office and the Southern California agency, have provided most records redacted, claiming exemptions that don't apply, even when there is nothing that can compromise the information on the requested records.Nevertheless, the administrative appeals have been filed in the appropriate department for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is handled by the Office of the Solicitor, the Office continues to fail to acknowledge or denied receipt of its appeal.While 9 complaints are pending against the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the District Court of Southern California has decided to move forward on six cases. FOIA requires all agencies of the federal government to release information to the public upon request, unless the agency demonstrates that one of the nine specific exemptions applies. FOIA also encourages accountability through transparency and it’s the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government.Read more on Marcus Alto here:
Emilio Reyes descends from the Gabrielino Tongva Tribe. Emilio is the Founder of Stop Tribal Genocide, a movement dedicated in promoting Native American rights. Genealogist and Researcher specializing in Native American family lines.