But Cuevas, who was victim of disenrollment by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, isn't the only one in Indian Country who has raised concerns. When Harris was seeking the the Democratic nomination for president last year, she was asked about her tribal homelands record at a roundtable with tribal leaders and again at the historic Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum. On both occasions, Harris tried to deflect from her past. She blamed her stance on the land-into-trust applications on the California governor, arguing that she was required to take action at the behest of another state official. "Why did your office oppose these applications?" Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe asked at the forum. "I was the lawyer for the governor, and the governor made decisions about fee-to-trust applications by California tribes," Harris responded a year ago this month. "As the lawyer, the law officer for the governor, we had to file those letters." "But that was never a reflection, and has never been, a reflection of my personal perspective," said Harris, who prefaced her remarks by stating that the U.S. government "stole land" and "took land" from tribal nations. "There must be a restoration of that ownership," she added, embracing the fee-to-trust process that she attempted to undermine in California.
Kamala Harris: Joe Biden has a racist past. We can’t let a man like this become president.— Original Pechanga (@opechanga) August 11, 2020
Also Kamala Harris: Sure, I’ll be your VP.
Kamala supports APARTHEID:
Today our nation made history when Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate. For the first time in our...Posted by Deb Haaland for Congress on Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Despite the high-profile attention to the issue, Harris isn't among the prominent Democrats who are supporting bills that would ensure the reservation stays in trust and that would help other tribes address attacks on their homelands. Closer to home, it took her two years to support efforts to restore land to tribes in California. "I just can't imagine her as president," Cuevas, who also has attempted to raise issues of tribal disenrollment to her office, told Indianz.Com. He said his letters and calls on the hot-button issue have all gone unanswered. Besides opposing land-into-trust applications that were submitted to the BIA, Harris as attorney general attempted to reverse a previously approved acquisition. As part of a case involving the Big Lagoon Rancheria, she claimed the tribe could not restore its homelands because it was not "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934 -- which happens to be the same argument the Trump administration is using against the Mashpee Wampanaog people.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is promising to fight for a #Carcieri fix in order to prevent the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and other Indian nations from losing their homelands. @JoeBiden #StandWithMashpee https://t.co/bRBM69y5Vo— indianz.com (@indianz) March 31, 2020
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals slapped down Harris's efforts in a June 2015 decision. A panel of 11 judges noted that she was trying to attack a land-into-trust approval made 15 years prior, all over a mere 11 acres in northern California. "Allowing California to attack collaterally the BIA’s decision to take the eleven-acre parcel into trust ... would constitute just the sort of end-run that we have previously refused to allow, and would cast a cloud of doubt over countless acres of land that have been taken into trust for tribes recognized by the federal government," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote for the court in a decision hailed across Indian Country. As part of a separate case, Harris went out of her way to argue that the reservation of the Colorado River Indian Tribes had been diminished. In doing so, she sided with non-Indians who have repeatedly -- and unsuccessfully -- attempted to undermine the tribal nation's sovereignty. The state of California was not a party to the dispute, so Harris sought approval to file a brief in support of her views. The federal judge hearing the case refused to do so, noting that the tribe's boundaries had long been established. The U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the case in 2017, the same year Harris took office.
I know there is an amount of discretion especially in regards to pursuing appeals on cases, and Harris did actively pursue appeals in cases regarding tribal land status that would undermine tribal sovereignty.— Emmy Scott (@EmmyNawjoopinga) August 12, 2020
And in a further sign that Harris was out of bounds for attempting to intervene, the nation's highest court last month made clear that reservations can only be disestablished by Congress. The appellate courts are already taking notice. "She hasn't done anything for Native Americans in California," Cuevas said of Harris. The Democratic National Convention opens August 17. As part of the gathering, the Native American Caucus will be meeting virtually on August 18 and on August 20. Biden is set to formally accept the party's nomination on August 20, the final evening of the convention. The 2016 convention took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the time, Native Democrats were organized as a "council" -- they were elevated to caucus status the following year. The 2016 event included rising stars like Peggy Flanagan, a citizen of the White Earth Nation who was serving as a state lawmaker. She won election as Lt. Governor of Minnesota in 2018 and is the highest-ranking Native woman in a state executive office.
Yesterday, I asked @KamalaHarris to address tribal sovereignty concerns, specifically her record on Native land-into-trust. She told me she wants to clarify on these issues & that there was a lot of misinformation, & her team has my info and is supposed to contact me. pic.twitter.com/nn5Wk2GRaX— Emmy Scott (@EmmyNawjoopinga) July 6, 2019
Deb Haaland was at the DNC four years ago too. She was serving as chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party and expressed her heritage by wearing traditional Pueblo clothing, a practice she repeated when she took office in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019. "Today our nation made history when Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate," Haaland said on Tuesday. "Let's get to work," said Davids.
.@KamalaHarris looking forward to working hard to fire up Indian Country and getting out the vote to elect @JoeBiden our next President!— Rion Ramirez (@RionRamirez) August 11, 2020
All I can say is I got your back @KamalaHarris and you are gonna make a great VP!@mayaharris_ @JulieR2019 @emmyruiz @KeepHuynhing https://t.co/snRhqSogGF pic.twitter.com/k5bTgsQ1eS