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Opinion
Column: Pechanga Band decimating Indians


"One of the biggest gambles these days for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians is something akin to a shell game. A little genetic three-card Monty if you will. Now you see it, now you don't. Once you was, now you ain't.

And they're pretty darned good at it.

The sordid affair began in early 2004 when the tribal enrollment committee gave the boot to 133 of what up to that point had been their brethren. Since then, the case has been bouncing around the state and federal court systems, but that hasn't stopped the "real" Indians from protecting their heritage, which is turning ever greener, and we're not talking about the environment here, with each disenrollment.

The approximately 1,000-member tribe most recently disenrolled nearly 100 members of another family whose lineage, tribal leaders said, wasn't pure enough to partake of the lucre generated by the casino money machine operating on the reservation.

And a money machine it is. Estimates of the monthly take for each adult member of the tribe are from $10,000 to $15,000 and growing larger with each purge. Shoot, the Indians are decimating their numbers with as much prejudice, maybe more, as the white man did more than a century ago."

Get the Story:
Phil Strickland: Pechanga expert at getting rid of Indians (The Californian 8/22)

Relevant Links:
Pechanga Tribal Disenrollment - http://www.pechanga.info
Bureau-of-Indian-Affairs.com, Disenrollment site - http://www.bureau-of-indian-affairs.com

Related Stories:
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Disenrollment an issue in Pechanga Band election (07/13)
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Editorial: Supreme Court passes on sovereignty (05/29)
Pechanga Band calls refusal of membership case a win (5/24)
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Campbell amendment put to test in court case (4/21)
Another Pechanga family faces removal from tribe (03/21)
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Identity Theft: California Indians lose tribal rights (01/26)
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