BIA puts hold on removal of dozens from San Pasqual Band

A year after taking action, Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk has put a hold on the removal of dozens of people from the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians of California.

In January 2011, Echo Hawk determined the tribe could remove the descendants of Marcus Alto Sr. He said the evidence showed that the group didn't possess enough San Pasqual blood to qualify for membership.

But the Alto descendants went to federal court and won a preliminary injunction last month that bars the Bureau of Indian Affairs from implementing the 2011 decision. So Echo Hawk followed up last week with another order, this time reminding other federal agencies of the latest development.

Although he questioned his ability to follow all of the terms of the injunction, Echo Hawk wrote that "the Alto descendants are deemed to be members of the band" for health care, tribal government services and other Indian programs.

Relevant Documents:
Larry Echo Hawk Order 2012 | Larry Echo Hawk Order 2011 | BIA Superintendent Letter

Related Stories:
Echo Hawk decision allows ouster of dozens from San Pasqual Band (02/01)

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