• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs does adjudicate disenrollments for some tribes, such as the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians in North County. Last Friday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Pasqual Band “withheld casino profit checks from about 50 people,” arguing that they do not have the necessary one-eighth Indian blood to qualify for the payments. But the Bureau of Indian Affairs may stop the action.

Is there a danger, asks the legislative analyst, “that ‘gaming tribes’ [could] abuse [Unlawful Entry], if enacted, to banish disenrolled members? Could this bill create the potential that disenrolled members could be fined for necessary acts such as travelling to their homes, seeking medical services at Indian health facilities, and visiting tribal members?”

Stand Up for California is a citizen advocacy group out of Penryn, northeast of Sacramento. Cheryl Schmit, the organization’s director, faxed me a letter she sent to Unlawful Entry’s author, Gloria Romero, on May 29, 2007. Referring to the bill’s potential to control problem customers at Indian casinos, Schmit admitted that it could be “laudable and necessary in some instances.” Nevertheless, she noted, “California’s Mission Indian Reservations were created by ‘allotments,’ [which] are privately owned and can be passed on to their heirs. Some of these allotments have been transferred to fee-land and sold to non-Indians. [Both Indian and non-Indian] owners are sometimes being illegally prevented from traveling on Indian Reservation Roads [which are state roads] to reach their private properties.… By not resolving this problem, the bill would set the stage for extensive litigation.”

As Unlawful Entry makes its way toward possible passage, I wanted to find out what prompted San Diego County officials to support it. As of this writing, a request seeking the position of Bonnie Dumanis has not been answered. And a legislative assistant in Kolender’s office told me he had never heard of the measure.

Bill Kolender, however, was for many years a tribal relations representative for the California State Sheriffs’ Association. During the spring of 2006, the last time Kolender ran for sheriff of San Diego County, several officials of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation contributed to his campaign. Khanh Pham, compliance officer for the Sycuan Gaming Commission, contributed $250; tribal manager William Tucker, $750; and Nubia Ruiz, a member of the tribal council, $500; for a total of $1500.

Neither Sycuan nor the Barona Band of Mission Indians, which sponsored Unlawful Entry: Tribal Land, is currently known to be disenrolling members.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


realnews July 2, 2008 @ 1:49 p.m.

But what else can we expect? Because the Indians had such a lousy immigration policy and welcomed the white man...after they got the idea to fund gambling concerns to reap some monetary equity, doesn't it make sense they'd go after the support of San Diego's dumbest and easiest to purchase, support to gain more, er, ground? (Pardon the pun, it's genetic.)

After all, San Diego is like all border towns: Dirty and corrupt. Name one, just a single border town that isn't. So this makes sense.


OPechanga July 4, 2008 @ 8:56 a.m.

Many forget that many of the California tribes are based on lineal descent. Pechanga law says one must trace their ancestry to an Original Pechanga Temecula person. That is, unless they don't like the way you vote, or you are not controllable. Then you get disenrolled. The tribe's OWN hired expert proved our family was Pechanga and the disenrollment committee did not take his report into consideration.

Tribes are wielding sovereignty like a club and that will cause the continued erosion of it.

Our elected officials need to quit looking for the money and do what is right and this bill is NOT right. It allows the tribes to keep us off the land that President McKinley gave to us in 1895 as true Temecula people.

Gloria Romero should worry about her own district. How about building a prison in Los Angeles Gloria? That way, the perps that will be indicted from Pechanga shortly, will be close to home.

My blog has more on Pechanga


JohnnyVegas July 4, 2008 @ 4:31 p.m.

I feel sorry for OPechanga, and even worse for the tribe.

The gambling/vice money is causing greed to wreck and destoy their people and culture.


OPechanga July 5, 2008 @ 1:46 p.m.

There are so many who have been disenrolled that are in worse shape than me and my family.

We are talking about elders, in their 80's who lost their health care and status as Indians.

There are many tribes the do well for their people. It's tribes like Pechanga that stain others with their actions. Pechanga had to spend so much more money than the other 3 tribes did in the recent election, because even THEY weren't sure that the people trusted them.

Remember, that this isn't like kicking people out of a country club. We have been in the tribe for centuries and a faction was able to gain power and use it for....well, evil.

Google Original Pechangas Blog for more. There is a lot of information in the archives.

Please stop this bill!


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!