Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Margarita Brittain 101

In the late 1950's, early 1960's Pala began organizing itself and establishing a government to government relationship with the BIA.  This was done in part so the tribe could pursue economic development.  At this time this consisted of pursuing Sand and Gravel operations.  There were probably other economic development plans as well that I am not aware of.

In order for the tribe to pursue economic development and distribute per capita payments membership had to be defined, an enrollment process established, and a base roll for the tribe needed to be created.

An Enrollment Committee was formed to discuss how this process should occur and what standards would be established.  Here are the 5 points they considered:

Pala Enrollment Committee - 5 points to be considered for enrollment

We can see from these 5 points that some but not all of these points were adopted. 1/16 was decided as the minimum blood degree. This standard was included in the Articles of Association and later in Pala's Constitution. But we know people moved from Warner's were not all considered fullbloods. Everyone listed on the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll are listed as full or half. Margarita Brittain is listed as full while her children are listed as half. If the standard of counting everyone that was moved from Warner's as fullblood was adopted then Margarita Brittain's children would have been counted as fullblood as well.

The original 1913 Pala Allotment Roll was a hand written document and did not contain blood degrees. But the alloting agent did make notes for all or some of the individuals. In addition the BIA also had Individual Family History cards for many as well as other documentation of blood degree.

An inquiry was made to the Department of the Interior about the blood degree of certain individuals including Margarita Brittain.  The Department of the Interior issued this letter in 1962:

1962 Feb 27 Letter from the Department of the Interior - Margarita Britten Full Blood Cupa Indian

The letter states that on December 5th, 1910 Special Alloting Agent Mr. L.W. Green recorded Margarita Brittain as a fullblood Cupa Indian.

We can see on Margarita Brittain's selection for Allotment that the agent was L. W, Green:

1911 Margarita Britten Selection for Allotment (Brittain)

We can see on the 1913 Pala Allotment Roll that Margarita Brittain is recorded as 4/4:

1913 Pala Enrollment Approved by Secretary of the Interior

However on the copy Pala had of the 1913 Roll that the tribe used for enrollment purposes someone circled 4/4 next to Margartia Brittain and wrote 1/2 next to it.  They wrote 1/4 next to her children.  The changes are not noted in anyway:


In the mid-1970's this error was discovered.  In 1984 Pala's General Council voted to correct Margarita Brittain's blood degree to 4/4.

In 1985 the tribe requested a Per Capita distribution.  At the time the Original Enrollment Ordinance required Department of the Interior approval of the rolls before a Per Capita Distribution could be made.  In 1986 the BIA recommended that the Secretary authorize the BIA to officially record Margarita Brittain's blood degree as 4/4:

1986 BIA Letter Authorizing The Secretary to Record Margarita Brittain as 4/4

This decision was appealed and in 1989 the BIA issued their Final Decision that Margarita Brittain is fullblood:

September 11, 1989 Department of the Interior Lettter to Pala Chairperson Patricia Nelson On Margarita Brit...