Column: Labor unions wrong to go after tribes

"Just as we have no place in deciding who is a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, we have no standing to tell Indians they must do this or that and can't do the other thing on their land.

If we can cite sovereignty in taking a hands-off approach to the disenfranchisement of nearly 250 tribal members, even as the ruling clique's own study determined they were bona fide members, then how can we, with any intellectual honesty, meddle elsewhere with their sovereignty?

What the Pechanga did in booting these members is a disgrace at best.

The leadership from Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro on down should be ashamed to look in a mirror, much less show their faces.

But if picking the pockets of out-of-favor members -- remember there is that no-so-little matter of the forfeiture of more than $13,000 a month for every disenfranchised Pechanga -- is none of our concern, then neither is who they hire, what they pay, what tribes they rub out competitively or what gambling operations they cut into.

Battles over Indian sovereignty are in our state and federal courts with some regularity and too often with judges ruling that Indian nations are sovereign except when it suits our purposes that they not be."

Get the Story:
Phil Strickland: Indians wrong target (The North County Times 8/7)

Related Stories
Clinton refuses to attend 'Prez on the Rez' forum (5/31)
California tribe loses major sovereignty court case (2/12)