Thursday, March 20, 2014

Warner's Hot Springs Renovations Slowly Progress

Pacific Hospitality Group bought Warner's Ranch and Hot Springs (Kupa) last year.  They found the property in worse shape than they anticipated.  The renovations are going slow and going to cost over $50 million dollars.  But they hope to have the golf course open by summer.  No mention of the Kupa in the article.  I guess our homeland is lost forever this time.

UT San Diego - Warner Springs golf course to reopen

By J. Harry Jones4:25 P.M.MARCH 18, 2014

 — Although renovations at the historic Warner Springs Ranch resort are progressing slower than hoped since the property emerged from bankruptcy last year, the resort’s golf course and clubhouse are scheduled to reopen under new ownership this summer.

Go Here to read more UT San Diego - Warner Springs golf course to reopen

Friday, March 7, 2014

William Pink's Letter to Tribal Leaders

Dear Tribal Leaders       

Honorable Members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Staff, Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs

In a recent decision by the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn, surrendered the sovereign power and pre-emptive authority of the United States to determine the Degree of Indian Blood of an Indian person. He has formally recognized that this is now a reserved power of Tribes or their duly elected/appointed committees governing Tribal membership.

The decision was the result of various appeals made by recently disenrolled members of the Pala Tribe in California as well as myself, challenging a Tribe’s right to determine an individual’s degree of Indian Blood. (Please see the enclosed decision as it pertains to me)

At first glance this decision may appear to be harmless and even innocuous. The fact is this may be the most important decision ever made with respects to the relationship between Indians and the United States.

Tribes are now empowered to adopt ordinances/regulations, delegating to themselves the authority to determine who is and who is not an Indian and not just a Tribal member. This seems harmless but the reality is that such a system is subject to extreme abuse and it already has been.

It means that Tribes, depending upon their governmental structure, can make Indians into non-Indians and non-Indians into Indians and hence duly Federally recognized. As such the United States will be obligated to provide services to these non-Indian Indians and refuse service to Indians made non-Indians. One would have to surmise that Tribes will also have the authority to recognize non-citizens as Indian too. (Remember that Tribes were often split apart by international boundaries) This now provides an opportunity for these affected parties to become members of Tribes within the United States. This is an action long opposed by the United States.

A quick and short summary of the facts in my particular case is that my Tribe’s Executive Committee reduced the Degree of Indian Blood of my great grandmother from 4/4ths Indian to 1/2  Indian. This single action caused the disenrollment of more than 170 descendants of my great grandmother and a reduction of the degree of Indian Blood of more than 100 other descendants of my great grandmother. 

On appeal, the Pacific Regional Officer held that my great grandmother was indeed 4/4ths Indian but due to the Tribe’s Ordinance the BIA could not overcome the Tribe’s action and has allowed the decision to reduce my great grandmother’s Degree of Indian Blood to 1/2  to stand. Assistant Secretary, Kevin Washburn concurred.

Many of you, both Tribal and representatives of the United States, may think this a simple matter and of no concern. I promise you that if you take even a minute to consider the ramifications of this decision you will quickly realize that the ability to truly determine who is and who is not an Indian reaches catastrophic proportion.


A small Tribe can now enroll hundreds of people not entitled to Tribal membership while a large Tribe can now disenroll hundreds of people who are entitled to membership. 

I and my family have been rendered helpless in this matter. It is my hope that courageous individuals will take up this matter and stop this new genocide. 

You can find the complete details of this case at:


William J. Pink

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Michelle Roberts, Nooksack Tribal Councilperson, Submits Open Letter to Secretary Jewell and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn

Secretary [Sally] Jewell, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs [Kevin K.] Washburn:
Michelle Roberts, Nooksack Tribal Councilperson
In the wake of the Cedarville tragedy, will you now honor your trust responsibility to all American Indians to prevent such disenrollment-atrocities?
As the media has rightfully observed, “the shooting in Modoc County is the latest, and most chilling, example of tribal violence over power struggles and disenrollments.”
In December, Nooksack Tribal Secretary Rudy St. Germain and I wrote each of you, after you ignored a petition signed in October by 900 tribal members in Washington State, imploring your intercession in our disenrollment.
We asked you:
“What will it take for you to honor your trust responsibility? The threatened unconstitutional taking of Indian-owned homes? Further educational discrimination against Indian children? Tribal elders’ loss of health care or their resulting death?Violence amongst our people?We hope not. We hope you will do something, now."
But you ignored that letter and our follow-up emails, too. You have not even given us the courtesy of a single response or acknowledgment.
Our family and tribal members have also been subject to abuse of process by others on our Tribal Council, racial slurs and taunting by our opponents, visits to our homes by tribal police at all hours of the night, and treatment like criminals by the tribal court and cops. Meanwhile, there has been almost no democratic process at Nooksack in well over a year; no General Council meetings; no public Tribal Council meetings. Recall petitions signed by hundreds of us have been thrown away. And the doors of the Tribal Court have been closed to us.
So we have worried about the dispute turning violent on our reservation. History teaches us that when democracy falters, when there is no due process, when free speech is stifled, people take matters into their own hands.
We have read about the Chuchanski "civil war" that resulted in a riot and stabbing, and about the protest at Berry Creek that was broken up by county cops with a flash-bang grenade. Yet you at Interior pick and choose whether to get involved, and when to get involved. You got involved with the Cherokee Freedman when you didn't have to. You finally got involved at Chuckanski. But you have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to our situations and our pleas for help.
What now will it take for you or Congress to do something—anything? Another tragedy? More bloodshed?
We have presented you with proof of countless federal law violations, most recently IGRA, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper gaming per capita distributions. Last summer, a Secretarial election funded by federal taxpayers was carried out to cause our disenrollment. It was riddled with voting rights violations, which would not be allowed in any state or federal election. But you turn a blind eye and deaf ear to those violations of federal law as well. These concerns are not “internal to the tribe” or matters of “self-governance.” Those are just excuses.
And do not forget that tribal “disenrollment” is a creature of the federal government. It was foreign to Indian people until the 1930s, when the United States began “reorganizing” tribes and Interior began foisting boilerplate constitutions on tribes. Those constitutions include “disenrollment” provisions. Our traditions do not. There is no Nooksack or Coast Salish word for “disenrollment.” It is Frankenstein in Indian country that the United States has created, and now ignores.
Disenrollment is therefore your business. It is a federal concern.
This is our last communication to you; our last desperate plea for your help. This time we are copying the media in hope that they might get your attention, should you still choose to ignore us and to flout your trust responsibility and moral duty.

Michelle Roberts, Nooksack Tribal Councilperson


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs - Kevin Washburn on Tribal Enrollment Disputes

Indian Country Today Media Network published some quotes from AS-IA Kevin Washburn with regard to Tribal Membership Disputes.  I posted a few excerpts below but I recommend reading the whole article.  Click the link below to go to the full article. Washburn on Membership Disputes: Should US Trample on Sovereignty?

By Gale Courey Toensing

Emphasizing that he was speaking in general terms and not about any specific tribe, Washburn told ICTMN that issues surrounding tribal leadership and membership disputes “are the hardest questions that I face,” because they raise core questions about the fundamental meaning and practice of sovereignty.
“I think the question is, should tribes always be sovereign and self-governing? Or are there times when the United States should trample over their sovereignty and self-governance for some other purpose – the principle of justice or equity or something like that?” Washburn said.
“One can make a solid argument that the United States never has any business trampling on tribal sovereignty and self-governance, but that’s not satisfying to everyone because we all see occasionally a tribe doing something that well-thinking people outside the tribe disagree with. These are just agonizing decisions and I’m not convinced that the United States is better at making these decisions on average than tribes are at making them themselves,” Washburn said.
As sovereign nations, perhaps tribes should be looking to other authorities for conflict resolution, he suggested.
“There are other forums for deciding tribal disputes that might better serve tribes than the United States. A lot of what we see are human rights violations, at least arguably so, and the United States is not the only entity that has an interest in policing human rights violations."