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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indian Disenrollments: When Hearsay Trumped Historical Evidence

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Temecula disenrolled 25% of their tribe, including my family, descended from Paulina Hunter.  Pechanga's enrollment committee commissioned noted anthropologist John R. Johnson to research her ancestry.   When he determined that she was indeed Pechanga, they simply didn't considered the report they paid for.
Paulina Hunter 


Here is what they accepted:

Despite the unequivocal proof of Paulina Hunter as an original person of Pechanga Temecula the ROD (record of decison) notes “Raymond Basquez, Sr., Gloria Wright, and Vincent Ibanez (then imprisoned for child sexual abuse) provided affidavits and statements to the Committee contending that Paulina Walla Hunter and her heirs were not historically recognized as Pechanga members.”  ROD at 25. 

The Enrollment Committee does not indicate what evidence supports the positions of Mr. Basquez, Ms. Wright, or Mr. Ibanez or provide any analysis or why their opinions are to be given greater weight than the litany of evidence supporting the membership of Paulina Hunter, or how a previous Enrollment Committee made any error in providing membership to Paulina Hunter’s descendants. 

Unlike the statements provided to support the membership of Paulina Hunter, Mr. Basquez, Ms. Wright, and Mr. Ibanez did not live during the lifetime of Paulina Hunter and have no direct knowledge of her membership in the Tribe or residence on the Reservation.  None of these people are anthropologists or experts in genealogical research.  Their testimony should not have been given greater weight than contradictory affidavits from others evidencing Paulina Hunter’s membership. 

Further, most of Mr. Basquez’s family are members of the Concerned Pechanga People (CPP) and have publicly called for the disenrollment of the Hunter family.  Mr. Basquez clearly has a conflict of interest and his testimony should have been disregarded.  Ironically, Mr. Basquez’s family traces through Maximimio Leyva, whose 1928 application also indicated San Luis Rey instead of Pechanga

Under the Enrollment Committees reasoning Mr. Basquez’s family is not Pechanga either.  Like the letter from Mr. Basquez, Gloria Wright’s letter should have been disregarded because she is a member of the CPP and has publicly stated at a Pechanga general membership meeting that “you people [including the Hunter family] are out voting us and that is why I’m in favor of
disenrollment.

What Pechanga did stinks.

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