Monday, April 30, 2018

Tribal Membership: It's NOT the P.T.A or Kiwanis, Yet Tribal Leaders Revoke Memberships Like it Doesn't Matter

Me and Mrs. OP are on vacation for three weeks, I will try to post new articles, but will bring some older articles forward for our new readers.  PLEASE, visit my blog often, share on social media and ask family and friends to do the same:  

From 2011:

The process of determining who is a legitimate member of an Indian nation is inherently an emotional one, and never more so than when tribes are expelling members, as has been happening quite a bit of late locally.
At those tribes with successful casinos, quite a bit of money can be at stake (in addition to issues of self-identity and family ties) ---- and so it's no surprise that lawyers are getting involved. Or at least wanting to get involved.
Outside of tribal courts, each of which sets its own rules, those being expelled have no legal right to appeal ---- something a group of recently expelled members from Pala want Congress to change.
We believe this would be a mistake.
The Indian tribes are best suited themselves to determine their own eligibility standards and rules. Just as it would be highly inappropriate (not to mention unconstitutional) for the government to pass laws determining how religions admit (or expel) members, so should tribal membership be left alone. 

OP: The issue isn’t about determining membership, tribes do determine their won eligibility standards, but what happens when tribes act outside their OWN constitutions? The federal government should be able to step in when a tribe does not follow its laws and keeps people from exercising their rights in the U.S. Constitution. In Pechanga’s case, the tribe instituted an unconstitutional moratorium to halt enrollment. The moratorium was voted in to keep a large family, who fit all criteria for membership out. When another family, who supported the rightful placement of the first family, was stripped of it’s tribal citizenship, the tribe again voted to STOP all disenrollments. The tribal council took it upon itself to inform the tribe that membership issues did not fall under the authority of the tribal membership. What that would seem to mean is: The tribe CAN vote to keep people OUT, but they can’t vote to keep people IN? 

These tribes' traditions and history extend far back into history; they were determining their rules for membership long before the Europeans showed up, and must be allowed to continue without outside interference. 

OP: And we were fine, throughout history, there were NO mass terminations of tribal membership, including at tribes like Pala and Pechanga. It wasn’t until the casino came did tribes disenroll for money. Next will they ENROLL for money, essentially selling memberships?

Despite what the attorney for some expelled Pala members contends, tribal membership is most assuredly not a "civil rights" issue. 

OP: Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression. That means churches can violate civil rights just as can tribal governments. In Pechanga’s case, habeas corpus, freedom of speech, rights to have attorney present, right to fair trial, (one council member showed up late and ruled on his mother’s and his aunt’s “fairness”)

Nobody has a right to be a member of the Presbyterian Church USA or the Roman Catholic Church, so nobody has a right to membership in the Pala Band of Mission Indians. 

OP: If nobody has a right to membership, then there should be NO Pala Band of Mission Indians. How could there be? They’d be a group just like the P.T.A. rather than a sovereign government. Should churches have the same rights and benefits as tribal governments?

At the same time, we would point out that just as any American has the right to declare themselves head of his or her own church, the expelled members surely have the right to self-identify as American Indian. If enough are expelled from any one tribe, and can prove their ancestry under federal law, they also have the right to collectively petition Congress for recognition as a native community. 

OP: This is ridiculous on its face. We ARE from our tribes, in our case, proven by Pechanga people who were alive during the formation of the reservation, such as Delores Tortuga in sworn testimony taken in the Luiseno language and confirmed by the tribe’s own hired expert. Pechanga’s vaunted elder, Antonio Ashman also swore that he knew Paulina Hunter as Pechanga. Pechanga’s enrollment committee chose not to use that evidence, but rather took the hearsay word of an imprisoned child molester. Who would have a greater incentive to LIE, someone who had nothing to gain, or someone who would share in the theft of per capita which now totals over $300 million?  Why would Pechanga's enrollment committee choose NOT to believe Ashman, when he is quoted on their own website about the eviction of 1875.  He was not alive during the eviction, but he sure was alive when Paulina Hunter was.

We are from Pechanga, we don’t need to become another tribe, we have our allotment on the Temecula Indian Reservation and our family still lives there. Federal recognition comes only in a recognized tribe. Ask the Juanenos how easy it is, or the Tongva.

But the notion of non-Indian courts deciding who is and who is not a member of any particular tribe? OP: Indian courts are right now lobbying to have jurisdiction over non-members. Is that proper? Would the NCTIMES be editorializing about the lack of due process and rights to an attorney if their reporter was arrested?
That would represent a troubling intrusion into the tribes' traditional rights, as well as a serious violation of the American right of people to self-organize. 

OP: Traditional rights include rights to belong. Pechanga’s committees, run by a few in power have made a mockery of self organization. Other tribes have done the same, such as Redding Rancheria in N. California, who eliminated a family of their FIRST tribal chairman.

Citizenship is a birthright, membership in a church is a voluntary act. Tribal laws must be followed or their should be some ramifications. Our politicians must but enforcement into the Indian Civil rights Act.  And they certainly should not award tribes that practice apartheid on their reservation with lands into trust.  They should use their bully pulpits to speak out on the injustices by tribes such as Snoqualmie, Pechanga, Enterprise, Redding, Pala, San Pascual and the worst tribe of all, the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians.


Anonymous said...

That new law firm has Attorneys that can help you end the Tribal corruption once and for all.
Call the law offices 357 Magnum and 38 Special and ask foe Attorney
Shot Gun or his assistant Mr.TNT.

Anonymous said...

I am totally surprised that no one has tried to take Robert Smith or Theresa Nieto out one way or another.
They have destroyed all the Custom and Traditions of the Pala
"CUPA" Tribe.
They turned Family members against family members.
They have taken all the love of the people and turned it into hate.
They have stolen all the minors trust funds with no checks and balances.
They continue to lie to the Members about all the money transactions
and land deals that would benefit the Tribe as a whole.
They kick out real Tribal Members and enroll fake one to get them to vote to keep them in office.
They have spread corruption through the Reservation on a daily bases.
The Tribal members just sit back and let this happen, WHY?.
Don't you care what they have destroyed that was built by your Ancestors who would take these corrupt and fake Indians and hang them
if they were alive today.
Your Ancestors died thinking that you would take care of each other and live with the Customs and Traditions that they created for you.
Why have you turned your backs on them for a few dollars, is that all they were worth to you.
If it is then you are not a real NATIVE AMERICAN, you are just as fake as the corrupt ones destroying your Reservations.
What about your children are they safe if you get sick and die?.
Don't you care that if you do pass on that Smith and Nieto will more than likely remove them from the homes that they were raised in and kick them of the Reservation?.
Are you really that dumb to think that they will be safe after you are gone?
Well good luck with that.
Just look at their track records.

Anonymous said...

Some bands not all bands think it's ok to ignore what their ancestors gave written depositions during reservation creations. Our ancestors were shunned by outside land grabbers and forced onto reservations. At Pechanga their are land allotments and their were several oral depositions recorded by the bureau of land management. Why would a band allow others to ignore the truth on who was a recognized band member? Some believe it's ok to dishonor their ancestors recorded history because???????? Shameful acts for sure!!!