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San Manuel Chair: Attorney no expert on sovereignty

"Sacramento Attorney Howard Dickstein's opinion page piece in the Feb. 17 edition of Capitol Weekly ("Tribal sovereignty: A dynamic concept upheld by the courts for generations") completely misrepresents the high regard the vast majority of American Indian tribes have for their legal status as sovereign nations.

Dickstein speaks of sovereignty as a commodity to be bartered with local and state governments in exchange for the right to engage in government gaming on Indian lands. Indeed, Dickstein has historically held to such a legal position in his representation of a handful of American Indian tribes. But Dickstein's opinion and the position of those tribes he represents are far removed from the vast majority of tribes in California and throughout the country. That includes my tribe, the San Manuel Ban of Serrano Mission Indians.

The vast majority of this nation's 562 federally recognized tribes regard our sovereignty as sacred and inherent. Without sovereignty, we would cease to be Native Americans.

My ancestors fought and died to protect sovereignty. To suggest we should give it away for the right to operate slot machines is ludicrous and sacrilegious. I am offended and angry that anyone would make such a suggestion, especially an attorney for Indian tribes who professes top be an ;expert on tribal sovereignty.'"

Get the Story:
Deron Marquez, Chairman, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (Capitol Weekly 3/2)

Relevant Links:
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians -

Related Stories:
Valbuena: Yes, tribes are sovereign governments (2/17)