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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