WHAT IS THE BIA UP TO? Regional Director AMY DUTSCHKE, FOIA Coordinator Doug Garcia and Public Liaison Jessica "kick the can down the road" Rogers spin their wheels more than a drag racer.
Emilio Reyes' FOIA request response from the BIA PRO is in violation of FOIA USC 552(a)(3) and 43 CFR 2.12(a) for failure to make a reasonable effort to search for records requested thru FOIA.
Because the FILE IS A BIG ONE, I've LINKED it HERE... if you want to download It contains a LOT OF EVIDENCE in the requests. PLEASE take a look
Reyes reports the requested records sought in this request were previously requested on December 18, 2015 and July 7, 2016. The BIA stated no records were located. Emilio was able to locate the records at a later time at the National Archives and provided copies to the BIA on August 2016, he requested the BIA and other agencies to hold the records in their repository in case any researchers are conducting research on Mexican Indians. Those agencies included the Office of Indian Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Office of Federal Acknowledgement (OFA) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs. All agencies are branches of the Department of the Interior.
One of the families listed on the Wadsworth list includes the Trask Family who are present members and part of the tribal council at the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians. Even though Frank Trask is not listed on this list of Mexican Indians, there is overwhelming evidence that the mother of Frank Trask stated in correspondence that she was a Mexican from Baja. The other part of the family came to California from Ohio. The wife of Frank Trask, Leonora La Chappa (Trask), who's ancestor is Domingo Yanke, is listed as Mexican and for a second time listed as Mexican Indian in the Mesa Grande tribe.
The controversy not only exists with the Trask family but other families in Southern California whose present descendants are listed on this Wadsworth list of Mexicans and Mexican Indians.
Considering that the Act of 1928 specifically requested Indian applicants to list the names of their ancestors who were a party to the negotiated treaties in 1852, how did they get a 1928 application approved by the Examiners of BIA? So ok, the 1928 Application was approved by error, you would think it would be fixed in the revised roll in 1948. Perhaps not. Ok maybe in of the Act of 1968? NO again.
Due to the inconstant errors of the 1928 applications, the Office of Federal Acknowledgement does not recognize Mexicans or Mexican Indians. On the other hand, their historical errors will not be corrected either. To the present day, these individuals are considered California Indians. Some tribal councils have been disenrolling the real California Indians, while others do not allow membership into their own tribes. In other words, Indians from Baja California disenrolling the California Indians. The irony of who is a California Indian and who is not, a problem caused by the BIA. And let's not forget California is the leading State on disenrollment.
Then we have the problem with BIA issuing Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) which is traced to the 1928 California Indian application. Again, the OFA does not acknowledge CDIB's as "proof" to be considered a historic tribe.
Reyes's email stated the following: "[BIA], in your correspondence you state no records were located. Due to the importance of these records, I have located the documents that pertain to my [two] FOIA requests and I'm providing you a copy to hold in your repository."
He also stated that these documents are historic that will be helpful to other agencies including the Office of Federal Acknowledgement and the Office of Indian Services, and Solicitor's Office. With present tribal disenrollment, the hypocrisy of the BIA has allowed other non-California Indians be current members at these Southern California Indian tribes. Moreover, The Office of Federal Acknowledgement gives a difficult time proving lineage to non-federally recognized tribes' members. In most cases, the only records if they exist are mission records, however, it becomes more difficult for those Indians who did not entered the missions and refused to assimilate to the Spanish or Mexican culture. In addition, the OFA dismisses a family who is on the mission records as a Baja California Indian. But yet, the BIA accepts the descendants of Indians of Baja be members of Federally recognized tribes.
Emilio has provided historical records in the past to the BIA. Years ago, he was able to locate the 1928 Blanket applications that were missing in the records of the BIA and the National Archives in California. While researching a specific family and requested records from BIA, BIA informed him that if he located the missing 1928 blanket applications to please provide them with a copy, and he did. The blanket applications consists of hundreds of pages, in which former BIA Superintendent, Robert Eben's ancestors are listed in there. The Blanket applications are census rolls from 1928 consisting only of names, no blood degree, nothing, just names and tribes.
Months after providing the records to the mentioned agencies, he conducted the same request to test the government's transparent procedures. Emilio did the FOIA request to BIA and the Solicitor's Office. The Office of Solicitor upon receive of the request provided 28 pages responsive to the request, all records released in full. Reviewing the documents we confirmed they were the same documents Emilio provided to all DOI agencies in 2016. However, the BIA who shares same repository for all DOI agencies, the American Indian Records Repository (AIRR), stated, no responsive records were located.
The BIA informs the requestor ("Emilio') that it does not posses or cannot locate responsive records to the request. However, there is reason to believe the search for these records was incorrect, inadequate and believed the search was not even made. Since the Solicitor's Office did located these records, the BIA should have been able to locate the records too. In accordance to 43 CFR 2.57(3), if there is a reason/proof to believe the records do exist, the Bureau is subject to additional appeals. The Bureau if filed additional appeals will be subject to non-compliance.
Emilio states that having a transparent government was implemented thru FOIA. BIA continues to fail. Let's not forget California BIA is responsible and the leading State on tribal disenrollment, internal BIA corruption, conflict of interest between BIA employees and tribes, FOIA violations.
When will the U.S. Government decide to step in?
Emilio suggest that if the BIA has over 10,000 employees to help Federally recognized tribes, and in some cases non-federally recognized tribes and the public, that tells us that if we reduce the staff by 90%, BIA will get the job done more efficiently. He's also stated in the past that most BIA agencies outside of California have been compliant to his FOIA requests, however, CA BIA fails almost every time. Their failure started as soon as the new BIA Superintendent Javin Moore came into his present position, and when Emilio exposed the corruption of non-natives approved by the BIA in the San Pasqual tribe.
Removing the Regional FOIA Coordinator of California, replacing the BIA FOIA liaison with another form of solution, removing the BIA Privacy Act Officer and replacing all California BIA staff will create a positive change we been trying to see for decades.
Emilio has filed 11 FOIA lawsuits for non-compliance against the BIA this month, total of 4 are moving forward in the District Court of Southern California. Emilio will file additional lawsuits this week, in which he will be seeking to hold and declare the BIA in contempt, for failure of their actions following FOIA procedures.
Hopefully with all these lawsuits, Congress will eventually step in and investigate the non-compliance of DOI, CA BIA's. Someone needs to take responsibility and that will be Amy Dutshke, Douglas Garcia, Javin Moore and Sandra Hansen.