Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro is the 1st Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians. He has overseen and approved of the disenrollment (the stripping of citizenship from tribal members) of two large families, my own, the Paulina Hunter descendants and the first family to be disenrolled en masse, the Manuela Miranda descendants.
We had a protest of disenrollment at the NCAI Marketplace in Sacramento. Security and police were on hand to protect the attendees from 40 elders of many tribes.
I was able to get inside the meeting, and confronted Chairman Macarro at a break.
My wife told me, "now is your chance, go talk to him". Being a good husband, I went to the other side of the ballroom and met him as he was making his way out. He was surprised to see me.
"Rick, what are you doing here?" I extended my hand to shake and he said, "I'm not going to shake your hand". (Maybe Covid shy? I've been vaccinated)
I asked him, "what can we do to get my family back into the tribe?" "you know the disenrollment was wrong". We have more evidence of belonging than ANY OTHER Pechanga family. Do we go before the council? The enrollment committee?
Mark told me, "the enrollment committee, in regards to membership has equal authority as the tribal council."
LIE: THE ENROLLMENT COMMITTEE went to the council for direction on the disenrollment of two family's, they DID NOT act on their own authority.
The chairman went on to describe how my ancestor was "missing" after the eviction when she went to Los Angeles.
LIE: Paulina Hunter made the nearly 100 mile trip from Los Angeles by horse/wagon in the late 1890's to be included in the tribal census. It's not like a freeway drive today. That's a five to six day trip.
Macarro conflated Paulina Hunter moving from the reservation to Los Angeles, for work, with the "breaking ties" with the tribe they claimed Manuela Miranda did when she was FIVE YEARS OLD, going to live with her sister. (Indian Child Welfare isn't a good thing?)
LIE: There was NO requirement under the Pechanga Constitution to only live on the reservation. In fact Macarro's moved to Colton over 60 miles away AND the Chairman DOES NOT LIVE on the Pechanga Reservation.
When I brought up Paulina Hunter being an original allottee, he claimed "anyone could get an allotment".
Obfuscation: Paulina Hunter's bona fides were given in THREE depositions taken in the Luiseno language in 1915 that she was Pechanga, INCLUDING chairman Macarro's OWN FAMILY. She received 20 acres as head of household. Our family STILL lives on our allotment. Chairman Macarro's family LOST theirs. Why would those tribal people LIE for Paulina Hunter? It defies reason and there must be a darker reason they eliminated the family..
He claimed Paulina Hunter was fraudulently enrolled, but offered NO PROOF.
LIE: There was NO enrollment during Paulina Hunter's lifetime, but she was ON RECORD as being from Temecula AND Pechanga, by Pechanga's hired researcher.
Many in the tribe have little connection to those who were there during the eviction of 1875 but that doesn't matter, as there was NO requirement of that. More importantly, the EVICTIONS were NEVER discussed in the enrollment committee meetings on disenrollment, much less as a requirement to belong.
I appreciate Chairman Macarro's willingness to engage. Glad he knows who I am (Rick Cuevas, great great grandson of Paulina Hunter). When asked about the fact that many STILL IN THE TRIBE can't meet the requirements he claimed Paulina Hunter didn't, he simply shrugged. The Truth doesn't matter to Chairman Macarro.
He weaved a tale of lies, and if the truth doesn't matter, why is he so well thought of? Doing the right thing is easy,. and that is true justice. #rightthewrongs of disenrollment
Learn MORE about Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro