Rick Cuevas: Pechanga disenrollments motivated by politics

Rick Cuevas

Rick Cuevas of Original Pechanga addresses disenrollment controversy within the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in California:
No Temecula Indians were required to reject tribal membership for an allotment on the reservation. There is no evidence of any rejection of tribal membership by the Hunter Family. The first family to be disenrolled, from the Apish family, still have members in the tribe. The disenrollment stemmed from a political issue where new enrollment committee members upon taking office from both Apish and Hunter families found that the committee had not been processing enrollment applications from certain families and those people were denied tribal membership and they ended up in a moratorium on new adult members even when their applications had been submitted before the deadline. Once questions arose, plans for disenrollment began.

The Pechanga reservation was created for the displaced Indians of Temecula. Prior to the establishment of the reservation in 1882, there was no Pechanga nation. Without the reservation land, there would BE no Pechanga Tribe, the tribe was and is still known as the Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians. This is the official title of the tribe, sometimes referred to as the Pechanga band of Mission Indians, as the reservation was intended for ALL Temecula Indians. Our ancestor, Paulina Hunter, was allotted 20 acres as head of household. Her descendents all have rights to the land, and many still live on the reservation.

The General Council, in fact voted overwhelmingly to halt ALL disenrollments. It was the Mark Macarro led tribal council that ignored the will of the people, and did NOT follow the tribal constitution. Not only did they NOT vote to kick out allotees, they voted to KEEP allotees in 2005. So the disenrollment in 2006 of the allotted family, the Hunters, was in violation of a duly passed legally binding tribal law.

Get the Story:
Rick Cuevas: A Rebuttal to Duane Champagne's Recent Piece on Disenrollment (Indian Country Today 7/14)

Also Today:
Duane Champagne: The Debate Over Disenrollment (Indian Country Today 6/28)

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