Monday, December 24, 2012

Kevin Washburn

 Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs

Kevin Wasburn was nominated in August 2012 by President Obama to the position of Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  On September 21, 2012 he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

I didn't know much about Kevin Washburn and decided to do a little google searching.

He does have a Wiki Entry

He has quite a background which includes (information from Wiki):

General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) from January 2000 to July 2002

Author of a law school casebook on Gaming Law and Regulation

Taught the first course at Hardvard University on Gaming/Gambling Law in that school’s history

Scholarship focusing on the intersection of Federal Indian law and criminal law

Author of one of the principal casebooks on Federal Indian Law, entitled American Indian Law: Native Nations and the Federal System

Enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, a federally recognized Indian nation.

Taught Gaming/Gambling Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Was a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School

Served as an Assistant United States Attorney in New Mexico
Was named the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law on March 3, 2009

This is just some of what Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn has accomplished.  There's actually much more.

Here are some articles:

Salazar Applauds Senate Confirmation of Kevin Washburn as Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs 

Q&A With Ken Salazar and Kevin Washburn

From One Who’s Been There: Kevin Gover’s Advice for Kevin Washburn

This really is a challenging job.  There are 304 Indian Reservations across the United States.  Each has its own unique tribal governing documents, enrollment procedures, natural resources, economic development, gaming, sacred sites, and other issues.  There are a myriad of lawsuits the BIA is facing over trust disputes, land into trust, gaming compacts, etc etc.

One thing I didn't even realize was an issue until I did some reading is wind power.  Apparently there are some issues with Wind Turbines being built on sacred ground that needs to be addressed.  There's so much going on I can't imagine how it all gets tackled and dealt with.

This excerpt comes from the article above titled From One Who’s Been There: Kevin Gover’s Advice for Kevin Washburn:

What are some of the major challenges that Kevin Washburn is facing?

First of all, it’s strange to come in at the tail end of a president’s term, but it does give him these couple of months to intensely study what’s been going on. He hasn’t been in Washington for a long time, so he will be getting caught up of all the details. Catching up is no small matter. Next, he has to confront the reality that decisions about Indian affairs have been being made all over the Department—not just at the BIA. His predecessor [Larry] Echo Hawk recused himself on a lot of key issues, including Cobell, trust, and the federal recognition cases. That means somebody else, somewhere else in the building, has been handling those issues. Those are major responsibilities for the Assistant Secretary to get back under his portfolio. I also hope the White House allows him to bring in some of his own staff to help him get up to speed, so he doesn’t have to worry about working with others who have their own agendas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pala Anchor Managment Contract

Available on the NIGC Website is the management agreement between the Pala Band of Mission Indians and Anchor Gaming, or Pala Anchor LLC.  All you have to do is go to the NIGC website and in the search box type Pala Anchor.  There are other Pala related public documents available on the NIGC website as well.

The Articles of Association are mentioned on page 7 and page 12.  If you have Adobe you can download the document and search it.

Pala is officially referred to as the Pala Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pala Reservation

 Pala Anchor Managment Contract

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Then and Now

He was Pala's website just last year.  It stated the same thing until earlier this year:

Here is Pala's website now:

Congratulations Pala on your new Constitution.

You can click on the images to enlarge them.  The right columns provide a date reference.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pala's Enrollment Committee Violated Their Own Ordinance

Pala's Executive Committee is also Pala's Enrollment Committe.  Pala has an Enrollment Ordinance.  It's had one since the 1960's.  It was changed in 2005 and again in 2009.

What always bothered me is that Pala's Enrollment Committee violated their own ordinance.

The Ordinance States:

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Executive Committee of the Pala Band, by adoption of this revised Ordinance, does not intend to alter or change the membership status of individuals whose membership has already been approved and who are currently listed on the membership roll of the Pala Band of Mission Indians..."

I think most tribal members read that in 2005 when the Ordinance was revised and took it to mean the rolls were locked in.  No one was getting disenrolled.  In the early 2000's the issue of Margarita Brittain's blood degree would boil to the surface during General Council meetings.  After many years of sitting in General Council meetings listening to people trash Margarita Brittain Robert Smith spoke up one meeting and said the issue was over and would never be brought up again.  A 10 year moratorium was put in place on changing the rolls at all except for new membership.

Thus when the disenrollments started happening it was a pretty big shock to me and I suspect to many.  We have had our political differences but I though we all agreed we were tribal members.  I guess I was wrong.
Pala Enrollment Ordinance No1 Rev 2009

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll Margarita Brittain is 4/4

In the late 1950's and early 1960's Pala sought to organize itself.  Part of this process was establishing a government to government relationship with the BIA which meant establishing governing documents.  Pala worked to establish the Articles of Association as its governing document.

Pala also sought economic development.  Part of economic development involved per capita payments to its members from business enterprises.  In order for this to happen Pala had to establish an enrollment standard and the BIA had to approve the rolls. This lead to the establishment of Ordinance No. 1 which governed enrollments.

Pala decided to use the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll as the base roll for the tribe.  The original Pala Allotment Roll was hand written by alloting agents and did not have blood degrees.  In the 1960's Pala and the BIA reconstructed this roll to include blood degrees using notes from the Alloting agents, Individual Family History Cards, and other documents.

The Pala Enrollment Committee had 5 points to consider:

Pala Enrollment Committee - 5 points to be considered for enrollment

Notice the Pala Enrollment Committee recommended a minimum blood degree of 1/16.  This was because they wanted to look out for their grand children and great grand children.

Here is the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll as reconstructed in the 1960's.  Margarita Brittain is listed as 4/4 and her children as 1/2:

1913 Pala Enrollment Approved by Secretary of the Interior

Every name on the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll is listed as either 4/4 or 1/2.  This because one had to be at least 1/2 to receive an allotment at Pala.  Margarita's children received allotments.  Also note there is no distinction as to what type of blood degree each person had.  There was a mix of Indians living at Warner's and Indians already living at Pala.  As such Pala is a "Band" of Mission Indians which include Kupa, Luiseno, Kumeyaay, Cahuilla, and Yaqui.  Blood Degrees in the Articles of Association came to be known as "Pala Blood" rather than distinguishing from each group.

Here is Margarita Brittain's selection for Allotment:

1911 Margarita Britten Selection for Allotment (Brittain)

You will notice that the Alloting agent that signed Margarita's allotment selection was L.W. Green.

When Pala inquired into Margarita Brittain's blood degree in 1962 they received this letter from the BIA:
1962 Feb 27 Letter from the Department of the Interior - Margarita Britten Full Blood Cupa Indian

Notice that it was the alloting agent L. W. Green who made a record that Margarita Brittain was a fullblood Cupa Indian.

My copy of the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll came from my Grandmother, Pauline Pink.  This is the letter that she received with her copy of the roll:

1967 Jan 12 Letter to Pauline Pink Accompanying the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll

Saturday, November 24, 2012

September 30, 2011 Letter From Robert Smith Acknowledges the 1/16th's

This is a letter mailed to all Pala Tribal Members on September 30th, 2011.  In it Robert Smith acknowledges the descendants of Margarita Brittain as 1/16th.  And yet 5 months later we were disenrolled for no reason.

September 30, 2011 Pala Band of Mission Indians Letter

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving with the Addams Family

This about sums up how I feel about Thanksgiving.

Addams Family Thanksgiving

Hope everyone enjoys their day off - for those of you that get one.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote For The Day

“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” 

- Frederick Douglass 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Two Indian Workers Attract Attention

Here is a newspaper article that discusses the Riverside County Fair in 1916 where Margarita Brittain and Salvadora Valenzuela put on some demonstrations at the Pala Booth. Margarita Brittain demonstrated basket weaving and Salvadora Valenzuela demonstrated lace making. It's a pretty neat article. It's a little hard to read but if you enlarge it and squint a bit you can get through it. Great information considering the time period. I am also including the accompanying picutres.
Two Indian Workers Attract Attention RIverside County Fair 1916 October 10th to 14th

You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
Margarita Brittain (left) Salvadora Valenzuela (right)

Margarita Brittain

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Robert Smith Acknowledges Margarita Brittain's Daughter is 1/2 Indian

This is a document signed by Robert Smith acknowledging that the Daughter of Margarita Brittain (Britten), Casilda Welmas, is 1/2 Indian. Robert Smith has been the Chairperson of Pala for over 20 years. Robert Smith Acknowledges that the Daughter of Margarita Brittain is 1/2 Degree Indian Blood

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stella Pink for Pala Tribal Treasurer

My Aunt, Stella Pink, is running for Treasurer in this year's election. It's time for a change at Pala. Please support my Aunt and help get the word out.

Please note, Scribd, the website I use to host documents, can be a little slow. It may take about 30 seconds for the flyer to pull up. Or, you can click the link and go directly to it. Either way, feel free to print one out and share it with friends and family.
 Stella Pink for Tribal Treasurer

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quote For The Day

"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould US financier & railroad businessman (1836 - 1892)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pala Nominations

Last night was nominations.  I am no longer able to go to meetings so I had to rely on family to let me know how it went.

This is what I heard:

For Chairman

Robert Smith (Incumbent)
David Duro

For Treasurer

Theresa Nieto (Incumbent)
Stella Pink

For Committee

Sheila Smith (Incumbent)
Theron Cueva
Nevil Tiger
And others?

There may have been more nominated for Committee so if anyone knows the names let me know and I will update this post.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gresham's Law

Gresham's Law is a a law of economics.  According to Wiki it is expressed as follows:

Gresham's law is an economic principle that states: "When a government compulsorily overvalues one type of money and undervalues another, the undervalued money will leave the country or disappear from circulation into hoards, while the overvalued money will flood into circulation."[1] It is commonly stated as: "Bad money drives out good", but is more accurately stated: "Bad money drives out good if their exchange rate is set by law."

Another expression of Gresham's Law is as folows:

"Two decades before the S.&L. crisis and the article on looting, Akerlof wrote about “Gresham’s dynamic” in a 1970 piece on “lemons”: “Dishonest dealings tend to drive honest dealings out of the market. The cost of dishonesty, therefore, lies not only in the amount by which the purchaser is cheated; the cost also must include the loss incurred from driving legitimate business out of existence.” NYT - William K. Black

One way to think about it is prohibition.  Prior to the prohibition of alcohol sales it was regulated and taxed.  After prohibition we saw the rise of a massive black market for alcohol.  This lead to over 10 years of intensive gang violence.  Our entire political system was being gamed by bootleggers.  Entire cities like Chicago were owned essentially by gangsters like Al Capone.

Any of you watching Boardwalk Empire, while this is a dramatization, will be familiar with politicians, government officials, judges, and police being bought off in order to keep the flow of liquor going which was supposed to be illegal.

Another example is the drug war.  The War on Drugs has done nothing to create the black market for drugs.  Selling drugs is more profitable than ever.  In the absence of any rules, laws, regulations, and oversight the bottom line becomes making as much profit as possible.  Honest business people will not touch illegal drug sales which leaves the markets to more unscrupulous forces that care about nothing but making money.

We saw this in Las Vegas in the 1940's to the 1970's.  A lack of regulations brought in the mafia which essentially ran Vegas for decades.  Skimming, rigged games, and other shady business practices were common.  Movies have been made about this legendary corruption such as Casino.

It's my view that we are seeing Gresham's Dynamic play out with Indian Casinos.  The NIGC is supposed to be regulating the casinos but it is not clear (at least not to me) how effective their regulating has been.

Tribal Sovereignty makes it even harder for the Federal Government to assert legal jurisdiction over tribal casinos.  At least at this point the Federal Government through the NIGC or other agencies have had for the most part a hands off approach to tribal gaming.

We all want to believe that the governing bodies of tribes are being honest with their tribal members about their business.  But we know based on news reporting that scandals have taken place at Tribal Casinos up and down the State of California.

There's a political nexus as well with politicians taking contributions from tribes in exchange for support for putting land into trust, supporting a casino development plan, or to keep the State from putting regulations on tribal casinos.  Or to keep the State from legalizing gaming in general.

There are several dynamics at work and not all work for the tribe.  In some cases Cities seek to take advantage of tribes demanding more money from them for infrastructure improvements than was previously negotiated.  In some cases tribes fight tribes to prevent each other from opening casinos.

All this has lead to some level of corruption in tribal gaming.  It may not be totally wide spread.  I am sure many tribes try to operate as fairly and honestly as they can given the environment.  But the lack of oversight and regulation has created an environment where the bottom line is to make as much money as possible by any means.

My opinion is that eventually this will lead to the Federal Government having to take a more active role in regulating tribal casinos.  It won't happen overnight but as more and more scandals get unearthed, as more people go to jail, and as more public attention is drawn to the issue the Federal Government will be forced to act unless tribal casinos clean up their act on their own.  Gresham's Dynamic suggests they won't.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Vote For Robert Smith Is A Vote For More Disenrollments

Pala is facing its most important election in a long time.  The outcome of this election will determine Pala's future and fate as a tribe.  If Robert Smith and the rest of the Executive Committee are re-elected they will view it as tribal approval of the disenrollments.  They will feel emboldened and continue their plans to disenroll even more tribal members.

Right now Pala's Executive Committee is just sitting back and waiting.  They are waiting to see if the BIA will do anything.  It appears they won't.  They are waiting to see if NIGC will do anything.  It appears they won't.  They are waiting to see if the Federal Government will do anything.  So far it appears they won't.  The last hurdle really is this election and the General Council.  Once they secure another term they will be able to accelerate their plan.

I don't know if the People of Pala are aware (except the families of the disenrolled) but Pala's Executive Committee basically took the minor's trust funds.  Where the money went is not clear.  Some of the money from Vulcan was supposed to be in trust with the BIA.  It wasn't.  It was with the tribe.  The Per Capita money for the minors was in trust funds with Pala.  That was their money.  They were members over the years the money was put into trust.  Those trust funds should still be theirs.

The only way to reverse all this is to change the make up of the Executive Committee and return power to the General Council.  Word needs to get out.  All 162 disenrolled have fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins still enrolled.  They need to all be voting.  About half live off the reservation the rest live on.

It's no secret that in the past many Brittains living off the reservation voted for Robert Smith.  Not being able to go to General Council meetings they had to rely on meeting agendas and minutes to determine what was going on.  The consensus seemed to be that since the casino was doing ok Robert and the rest of the Executive Committee must be doing ok so they kept voting for them.

That's over now.  The mask is off.  The Brittains know they were betrayed by the Executive Committee.

It will be herculean task to defeat the current Executive Committee in the upcoming election.  But for the sake of the tribe it needs to be done.  If the Executive Committee is re-elected more disenrollments will happen.  Will your family be next?

Speak out at a General Council meeting against the Executive Committee's plans and your family could be targeted for disenrollments.  Do you want to continue living under that fear?  Vote in new people and move the tribe forward.  Reverse these shameful disenrollments and put Pala on a path to future prosperity.  If a change in leadership does not happen then the tribe will continue to be torn apart by the Executive Committee.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pala Raceway Noise

Fallbrook Bonsall Village News - Pala Tribe rebuts issue of raceway noise

Debbie Ramsey
Managing Editor

Here are some excerpts from the article:

The Rainbow Community Planning Group has stated that the Pala Band of Mission Indians has responded to its latest written plea (Aug. 19) for help in regards to a noise issue coming from Pala Raceway that they say is disrupting peaceful living. Unfortunately it wasn’t the answer they were hoping to hear.

RCPG chairman Dennis Sanford said the group received a letter dated Aug. 29 from Pala Chairman Robert Smith, which essentially said noise from the raceway does not exceed legal limits and the Tribe would not require the operators of the raceway to take any further steps to reduce noise.

"We have no proof of the sound levels as their study results were not shared and we had no access [to them]," said Sanford. "County ordinances govern noise levels being emitted from various sources. We have been told by the Tribe that because they are a "sovereign nation" they can do whatever they want and are not subject to various laws and ordinances."
In regards to taking any other measures to reduce noise emitting from the track, Smith said those measures would be "prohibitively expensive." 

Read Full Artcile and Commnets Here - Fallbrook Bonsall Village News - Pala Tribe rebuts issue of raceway noise

Friday, September 28, 2012

Genocide By Paper

All up and down the State of California and in many other places across the United States disenrollments have been taking place for the last 7 to 10 years.  The increase in disenrollments seems to coincide with the rise of Indian Gaming.

Casinos have sort of created the Perfect Storm for disenrollments.  Every Indian Tribe is unique in how they organize and determine their membership.  But one thing each tribe seems to have in common are long standing feuds between family groups.  Prior to the casinos the bickering between families often took place in meetings and were resolved by elections.

Casinos however have given Indian Tribes tremendous resources to do many things.  They can hire law firms and business professionals to help grow their businesses.  They can hire lobbyists and send them to Washington D.C. to protect their interest.  They can work with State and Local governments on things such as road and infrastructure improvements.

The other by-product of all this is the consolidation of political power.  Leaders of tribes are well aware of their political opposition and disenrollments have become to tool of choice to quell any opposition.  There is also a financial component to disenrollments particularly for smaller tribes.  The less members a tribe has the more per capita distribution there is for the remaining members.  All of this leads to a Perfect Storm for disenrollments.

Original Pechanga's Blog has done a great job of documenting disernollments up and down the State of California.

The list is long and includes Pechanga, Redding Rancheria, San Pasqual, Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, Robinson Rancheria, and The Pala Band of MIssion Indians, among others.

Not surprising, the position of the U.S. Government has been "hands off" Indian Tribes.  The policy of the U.S. Government toward the Indigenous Peoples of America has long been eradication and assimilation.

Toward the end of the 19th Century the public's enthusiasm for the extermination of Native Ameicans waned.  The Calvary was no longer being sent in to slaughter tribes.  Instead, tribes were forced onto reservations.  Government Officials then set about essentially setting up tribal membership by blood quantum.  While blood quantum was not explicitly defined in the Dawes Act government officials did use long standing blood quantum laws for the purpose of determining who should receive allotments.

We can see this in the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll where those who received allotments were either 4/4 or 1/2.  No one less than 1/2 received an allotment including the children of Margarita Brittain.

In many ways blood quantum was just another way the U.S. Government could ensure the final destruction of Indian Tribes particularly smaller tribes.  It was a form of Paper Genocide.  Larger tribes still have many full blood and half blood members.  There is no risk of them interbreeding resulting in genetic disorders.  Larger tribes tend to have a larger blood quantum requirement - either 1/2 or 1/4 blood.

Smaller tribes have a much rougher time of it.  Their survival depends on pro-creation.  When Pala set out to organize itself as a tribe and determine its membership they were well aware of this conundrum.  Very few fullbloods were left of parenting age.  There was also the issue of blood in general.  Pala's membership consists of a mix of Indian Blood which includes Kupa, Luiseno, Cahuilla, Yaqi, and Kumeyaay.

Because of this mix "Pala Blood" was determined to be those on the 1895 and 1913 Pala Allotment Rolls.  No distinction was made between the various different types of Indians that resided at Pala.

Americans often think fondly and romanticize about the Iroquois concept of making plans for the 7th Generation.  In some respect the People of Pala did make plans for the future generations and did what they could to ensure their survival as a tribe.  As such the blood quantum was set to 1/16 so they could protect their grandchildren and great grand children.

And while this solution seemed to work for a time it was in effect kicking the can down the road.  The fullbloods and nearly all the half bloods have passed.  Pala is composed primarily of 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 degree of Indian Blood.  These generations are struggling to keep the tribe moving forward into the future.

At a time when Indian Tribes up and down the State of California should be strengthening their membership and ensuring their survival tribes have instead turned to disenrollments.  In the short run this may seen like a good idea for a variety of reasons ranging from a consolidation of political power and increased financial benefit.

But over the long term it's tribal suicide.  Indian Tribes are finishing the job the U.S. Government could not complete and that is the eradication of tribes in general.  This is why in my opinion the U.S. Government is taking such an unprecedented hands off approach to Indian Tribes.  They see the long game.  They know eventually smaller tribes will destroy themselves.

Many tribes have already gone bankrupt, had their casinos put into receivership, and now struggle for survival.  There is nothing more Las Vegas and Wall St would like to see than for casinos to be out of the hands of Indians and into the hands of Las Vegas developers and investment bankers.

It's Paper Genocide and in many ways it was all set up by the U.S. Government which established blood quantum knowing it would eventually lead to the demise of the smaller groups of Native Americans.  Sure, larger tribes will survive but the odds of smaller tribes making it another 100 years grows less and less each year.

I am often confronted by people who lament that many Indians these days do not know much about their language, their culture, or their religions.  When this happens I remind them that the U.S. Government prevented Indian Children from speaking their Native language, practicing their religion, or engaging in cultural activities.  It was forced assimilation and the whole purpose was to eradicate Native American Culture.

Now all the U.S. Government has to do is sit back and wait as Paper Genocide continues to ravage Indian Country finishing off the job the American People lost the stomach for 120 years ago. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NC Times Reports Leroy Miranda Arrested

NC Times - PALA: Tribe's vice chairman arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public

The vice chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public at the tribe's casino early Saturday morning, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Deputies were called to the casino at 1:47 a.m., according to a Sheriff's Department report. Pala Vice Chairman Leroy Miranda, 46, was arrested shortly after deputies arrived at 2:56 a.m. Miranda was booked into the Vista jail at 4:13 a.m. and later released, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Officials at the Valley Center sheriff's station declined Tuesday to comment on the details of the incident.

Miranda was elected vice chairman of the tribe in 2001, one of six members of the tribe's governing council. He is the director of the Cupa Cultural Center, a museum on the reservation, according to the tribe's website.

Doug Elmets, a spokesman for Pala, said the tribe is reviewing the incident and declined further comment.

"The allegations are currently under investigation and the executive committee of the tribe will review the circumstances of the incident," Elmets said in a written statement.

Miranda was previously cited for allegedly soliciting a prostitute at the Happy Time Adult Book Store Nov. 6, 2009, in Moreno Valley, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lewd conduct in February 2010.

Under the terms of the plea, Miranda agreed to pay a fine of $570, enroll in an AIDS education program, stay away from the Happy Time Adult Book Store and wear an electronic monitoring device, also known as an ankle bracelet.

The Pala tribe owns one of the largest casinos in the county, the Pala Resort & Casino, east of Fallbrook on Highway 76.

In recent years, the tribe has been embroiled in a bitter internal dispute over its membership. Tribal leaders have expelled 154 people who they say do not meet the requirements to belong to the 900-member tribe.
The feud goes back years, but critics say the removal of the tribal members was spurred by a failed effort to recall Miranda last year. Former Pala Chairman King Freeman, whose family members were expelled from the tribe, told the North County Times last year that the recall effort began after he learned about Miranda's 2009 arrest in Moreno Valley.

Miranda could not be reached for comment by phone Tuesday afternoon at the Cupa Cultural Center.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fair and Honest Elections - The Hallmark of Democracy

Free, Open, and Fair elections are supposed to be the hallmark of Democracy.  One Person - One Vote.  We send our military all over the world spreading democracy by the barrel of a gun and with Predator Drones.  When we hear about Election Fraud in other countries we wag our fingers and send in Jimmy Carter to oversee those elections.

We lampoon countries like Iran where Ahmadinejad gets 99% of the vote.  Or Egypt where Hosni Mubarak would get 99% of the vote.  Or North Korea where King Jong-il would get 99% of the vote.  We question Russia when Vladimir Putin keeps getting re-elected.

And while we celebrate Democracy in this country we have never really been a democracy.  When the United States was formed only white men could vote.  Women couldn't even vote until 1920.  Throughout our history there have been numerous scandals of ballot stuffing, election fraud, and voter suppression.

Vote buying also has a time honored tradition in our politics.  Vote for So-And-So and get a loaf of bread and cup of hot soup.  Vote for So-And-So and get $25.  So-And-So promises a Chicken in every Pot and a Car in every Garage if you just vote for him or her.

We don't have to look that far in our past to see election irregularities.  If all the votes in Florida had been counted (not just the counties Al Gore wanted recounted) Al Gore would have won.  John Kerry was winning in 2004 until tens of thousands of absentee ballots showed up for Bush unexplained in Ohio.

Election Fraud goes on at the smallest towns and largest States in this country.  I don't know how we as a People cal celebrate and claim to be Champions of Democracy when we cannot even ensure we have free, honest, and open elections in our own country.

I know what some say - they say we are not a Democracy.  We are a Republic.  We have been ruled by the Wealthy Elite since the founding of this Nation and continue to be.  We did not even get the direct election of Senators until 1913.  Some to this day want to repeal the 17th Amendment and return the election of Senators to State Governments.

The more things change the more they stay the same.  The wealthy continue to peddle their influence and buy elections.  The Government doesn't serve The People but the wealthy elite who fund the campaigns and then make demands of our elected officials.

I don't know what it will take to get free, fair, and honest elections.  It would take The People rising up and demanding it.  But far too many people have a vested interest in seeing those in power stay in power.  Far more are bought off for a promise of an appointed position, a government contract, a tax subsidy, or access to resources they normally would not get.

With such rampant corruption it sometimes boggles my mind how we have even managed to survive as a country for this long.

Monday, September 17, 2012

BIA Inaction Defies Logic

The history of the United States government versus the Indigenous People of America is long and sordid.  It runs the gambit from genocide, biological warfare, treaty violations, theft of land and resources, and cultural annihilation. 

As the Indian Rights movement took hold a move toward self governance was embraced by the Department of the Interior.  The BIA began working with tribes to help them set up tribal governments.  The goal was self reliance and economic development.  This however still did not stop the BIA or the U.S. Government from meddling in Indian Affairs when it suited them particularly when there were resources such as oil and uranium that the government wanted.

After 1950 a series of Supreme Court decisions handed more power over to the tribes under the heading of Sovereignty.  Still, this did not stop the BIA from overseeing tribal governments, approving their governing documents, and certifying their elections.

By the 2000's Indian Casinos grew to a multi-billion dollar a year industry.  With it came the mentality by the U.S. Government of "hands off" Indian Tribes.  Well, hands off those that have casinos anyway.

Armies of Jack Abramoff type lobbyists flooded Congress.  Their message was clear - "hands off Indian tribes.  Oh, and here is your check to help your re-election campaign".

Tribal Sovereignty was now viewed as powerful as kryptonite against Super Man.  The BIA has routinely for over 10 years now sat on their hands and claimed Tribal Sovereignty prevented them from getting involved in tribal affairs.

Tribal Officials emboldened by the in-action of the BIA have since run amok all over California disenrolling and banishing any members who dare challenge their political power.  Even in cases where it is clear to all that disenrollments should not have happened the BIA claims Tribal Sovereignty and sits on their hands.

Tribal Officials armed with powerful attorneys go to court with one document and one statement for the courts - Tribal Sovereignty - Hands Off.

So now we have this situation at Pala where the Federal Government through the BIA recognizes Margarita Brittain as 4/4 and recommending that disenrolled Pala members continue to be enrolled at Pala. Yet the BIA refuses to get involved beyond a toothless recommendation.

The BIA has in effect allowed the Pala Executive Committee to overturn the BIA's final decision that Margarita Brittain is 4/4.

What's more, the BIA has allowed the Pala Executive Committee to alter the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll which clearly lists Margarita Brittain as 4/4 and her children as 1/2.  In order to get an allotment one had to be at least 1/2 degree of Indian Blood.  If Margarita's children were not 1/2 they would not have received an allotment.  The BIA in 1913 was not exactly looking to hand out allotments to just anyone.  They made sure those that received them were entitled to them.

I do not understand how the BIA can sit idly by claiming Tribal Sovereignty while the Pala Executive Committee violates their 1989 final decision on Margarita Brittain and in effect alters the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll.  If the BIA wanted to they could get involved.  There are more than enough violations committed by the Pala Executive Committee to justify involvement.

The Pala Executive Committee has made a complete mockery of Tribal Self Government and Pala's Governing Documents.  So why does the BIA continue to turn a blind eye not just to Pala but to several tribes up and down the State of California? 

Why does the rise of inaction by the BIA seem to coincide with the rise of Tribal Casinos?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

February 24, 2012 BIA Recommendation

The first 8 disernolled Margarita Brittain descendents appealed the Executive Committee's decision to disenroll to the BIA.  The BIA responded to the appeal recommending that Pala's Executive Committee reverse their decision.  Here is that recommendation:

24 Feb 2012 BIA Recommends Reversing Pala Disenrollments

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Big Lie

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”  - Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Chief

"All this was inspired by the principle--which is quite true within itself--that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying." - Adolf Hitler from his book Mein Kampf

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"a bribery and kickback scheme that preyed on the tribe"

Another article in the Sacremento Bee:

Judge allows bail for defendant in tribal theft case

Published: Saturday, Sep. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Bart Wayne Volen, once a prominent Sacramento-area developer and contractor, has an impressive list of assets, and now federal prosecutors want them, plus double-digit incarceration.

So, they argue, he should have to stay in jail until he pleads or is found guilty because, facing prison and financial penalties that spell total ruin, he will use his liquidity and familiarity with international travel to flee.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd didn't see it that way Friday. At the conclusion of a protracted hearing stretching over parts of two days, the judge ordered Volen released on $3.5 million bail to be secured by a home in Maui and his son's signature on an $800,000 bond.

Drozd also ordered cash totaling approximately $573,000 transferred from Volen bank accounts in Maui, San Diego and Thailand to the client trust account of his attorney, Matthew Jacobs. The judge decreed that none of the money may be withdrawn without the approval of a court officer.

Volen, 53, who is charged in a grand jury indictment, along with two former employees of the United Auburn Indian Community, with a bribery and kickback scheme that preyed on the tribe, has been on conditional release since last week, pending further investigation of his holdings by the government.

Continued Here - Read Full Article Here

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Is It Better to be Loved or Feared?

Political wisdom often dictates that it is better to be respected and feared rather than to be loved.  This goes all the way back to the 16th Century when Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince instructing would be leaders on how to gain and maintain political power.

This theme of being feared rather than being loved permeates our popular culture including movies such as Star Wars and The Godfather.

Here is a quote from the movie A Bronx Tale:

Is it better to be loved or feared?

That's a good question.

It's nice to be both, but it's difficult.
But if I had my choice...I would rather be feared.
Fear lasts longer than love.
Friendships bought with money mean nothing.
You see how it is.  I make a joke, everybody laughs.  I'm funny, but not that funny.

Fear keeps them loyal to me.  The trick is not being hated.

I treat my men good. But if I give too much, I'm not needed. 
I give just enough where they need me but don't hate me.
There is a clip a clip from the movie with this scene toward the end that you can watch on youtube here

Friday, August 24, 2012

Corruption Exposed At California Indian Casino

This article appeared in the Fresno Bee on August 17th, 2012.  The casino is the Thunder Valley Casino owned by the United Auburn Indian Casino.  For those keeping tabs on this kind of stuff you may recall Howard Dickstein is an attorney for United Auburn.

The article is titled:

3 charged with defrauding California tribe of $18M By DON THOMPSON - Associated Press

Here are a couple of excerpts:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Three men have been indicted on federal charges of defrauding a casino-operating Indian tribe of more than $18 million through a kickback scheme involving the tribal administrator, federal prosecutors said Friday.
They are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering in indictments unsealed Friday. The indictment charges that they inflated bills related to a construction project that included new headquarters for the tribe.

Volen, the contractor, is alleged to have paid about $7.5 million in kickbacks to Hinz. Prosecutors say Hinz, the quality-control expert, then used part of his money to buy tribal administrator Baker a Lake Tahoe vacation home, a $54,000 in-ground pool, a $70,000 BMW and a trip to Hawaii, among other things.

In March, the Internal Revenue Service moved to seize 23 properties, including vacation homes in Lake Tahoe and Maui, as part of the investigation.

Read The Full Article Here

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Margarita Brittain - Fullblood Kupa Indian

This is an informational booklet on Margarita Brittain.  She was a fullblood Kupa (Cupa, Cupeno) Indian from Warner's Hot Springs.  Her and her children were removed from the village of Kupa at Warner's Hot Springs in 1903 during the Cupeno Trail of Tears.  Margarita and her children received allotments at Pala and became part of the Pala Band of Mission Indians.

162 of Margarita Brittain's descendents were wrongly disenrolled from their tribe by Pala's Executive Committee.  The preponderance of evidence demonstrates Margarita Brittain was a fullblood Kupa Indian and her descendents are entitled to be enrolled at Pala.   The BIA Agrees.

Margarita Brittain Booklet

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Are The New Membership Requirements For Pala?

For over 50 years the membership requirements for the Pala Band of Mission Indians was that one had to be a lineal descendent of someone on the 1913 rolls and be at least 1/16 blood of the band.

All 162 disenrolled members of Pala meet the membership requirement.  The BIA agrees that all 162 members should be enrolled.

Margarita Brittain is listed as 4/4 on the 1913 Pala Allotment Rolls. Her children are listed as 1/2.

Over 50 years of Custom and Tradition, the Articles of Association, and even the Pala Constitution list membership requirements as being a descendent of someone on the 1913 rolls and possessing at least 1/16 blood of the band.

So what has changed?  Are there new membership requirements?  People of Pala should be concerned since it seems the membership requirements have changed.  The Pala Executive Committee is going against over 50 years of Custom and Tradition, the Articles of Association, and the Pala Constitution by disenrolling 162 of its members.

It now appears anyone can be disenrolled or enrolled based on a vote by the Executive Committee.  Is this really what the tribe wants?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Doldrums

I was hoping to get a few more documents this weekend but it didn't come through.

This summer feels like it's going in slow motion.  I'm trying not to put my life on hold and trying to just keep going.

For all the disenrolled I hope you are doing as well as you can.  Thanks to all our family for being there with support.  I have to believe that in the end the truth will win.  We are who we are and no one can take that away from us.

Pink Floyd - Lost For Words

I will resume some more document posting tomorrow.

Friday, July 27, 2012

More Census Records

1897 Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch) Census
Margarita is on Page 4 along with her children.

1897 Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch) Census

1898 Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch) Census
Margarita is on Page 4 along with her children.

1898 Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch) Census

1899 Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch) Census
Margarita is on Page 5 along with her children.

1899 Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch) Census

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Census Records

I have a lot of census records.  I will probably be posting them over the next several days.  The early ones can be hard to read as they are hand written.  Also, the spelling of names can vary in each census.  There really was no english spelling for Indian names and Indian words.  It had to be invented.

As such, in looking at the records one will often see that a name is spelled the way it sounded.  An example would be Sibimooat.  There are many variations on the censuses including C.B. Mooat, Sevemootim, and Sibimooat.  Anthropologists often spell it as Sivimuat wtih the plural being Sivimuatem.

Another is Owlinguish which sometimes appears as Awlwingewish.  There's also alternative spellings to first names such as Michella and Miguella.

First up is the 1887 Census for Agua Caliente (Warner's Ranch).   Margarita appears on page 4 as Margarita Sauvelim* (also spelled elsewhere as Sauvil, Saubel) and is listed as a Widow.  Her children are listed as daughter Michalla, Esperanza, and Santiago (James).

*Note - earlier I mistook the name on the census to be Sevemooat but as a commenter pointed out the census taker spelled Sevemooat differently than the last name of Margarita. On closer look the last name is closer to Sauvelim.  On the census when I zoom in close it seems to be spelled Sauvmalin or Savumalin.  It's hard to tell if the 3rd to last letter is an l or a b.  It's hard to tell if the last letter is an n or an m.  Savumabin could also be it.  It appears the census taker was trying to spell phenetically Sauvelim which is also Sauvel and Saubel.   

1887 Agua Caliente (Warner's) Census

Next is the 1895 Agua Caliente Census (Warner's Ranch)

Margarita is on page 4 and is listed as page 4 Margarita Awlwingewish with children Miguella, Esperanza, Maria Antonia, and Santiago.

1895 Agua Caliente Census Warner's Ranch

Next is 1896 Agua Caliente Warner's Ranch.  Margarita is on page 4 listed as page 4 Margarita Owlinguish with children Miguella, Esperanza, Maria Antonia, Santiago, and Martha.
1896 Agua Caliente Warner's Ranch

Monday, July 23, 2012


Here are some family photos.  Sometimes when we focus so much on names on documents we forget these are people.

Margarita Brittain is my Great Great Grandfather.  James Brittain, her son, is my Great Grandfather.  Pauline Pink is James Brittain's daughter and my Grandmother.

You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

James Brittain at the Pala Store

James Brittain on Horseback

James and Flora Brittain

Pauline Pink rabbit hunting

George and Pauline Pink
Margarita Britain

Margarita Brittain

Do you have any photos you would like to submit? Let me know and I will post them here!