In the more than 29 years that the Department's acknowledgment regulations have
been in effect, the Department has confronted a number of recurring issues in
the administration of the regulations including: the emergence of splinter
groups;... opportunities for streamlining the process
through expedited decisions against acknowledgment and decisions against
acknowledgment on fewer than all seven criteria; the handling of questionable
submissions; and designation of ``inactive'' status.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
The Wintu Factions Have to Unite in Order to Recieve Federal Acknowledgment?
(photo- previous image removed) Dado Ceremony, Along with Mole, Loli, Hesi, Sede, Boli Accounted for the Pre-Historic Northern Wintu Dance Cycle. Our Tribe named the Big Head- Bohem Peyek Tchono- ta. Literally, "Big- Head- Dance".
Think about what our families miss out on by continuing to not Unify Twards Recognition. What could we potentially loose if the Wintu leaders fail to unify us?
So here some of us still are. 2008. A long time since the BIA instated the Office of Federal Acknowledgement (OFA) thru federal CFR regulations to review BAR petitions from Tribes claiming to be modern conglomerations of Wintu surviving 1800's genocide and removal to reservations. In 1984, when our petitions were initially announced to Interior, the various Wintu leaders, that that time, Ray Patton for the Central Valley Wintun, Gloria Gomez for the Wintu of Shasta, Ed Grant for the Wintun of Cottonwood and also Ray Patton for the Nor Rel Muk Nation. We thank these honorable Wintu people for their fore site.
This week the BIA/ Asst. Secretary of the Interior published in the Federal Register an unprecedented OFA Notice attempting to supply "Guidance and Direction Regarding Internal Procedures" for OFA personnel review tribal applications. In the Notice, dated May 23, 2008, the Asst. Secretary of the Interior Carl Artman, referenced several issues that are sure to have wide ranging impacts on the several groups seeking acknowledgement currently thru BAR representing the Northern Wintu Tribe. New direction from the Asst. Sect'y Artman that includes what Interior has now termed as, "managing recurring administrative and technical problems in processing petitions for Federal acknowledgment.
In the recent past Interior has come under scrutiny from national tribal leaders and tribal rights watch groups, and the national media, arising concern for tribes, that the current nature of the BAR review process has become overbearing on tribes seeking acknowledgement thru Interior. And that specifically the Interior has violated Trust Responsibilities to hundreds of thousands of American Indians, that are currently members of Non-federally recognised tribes, who's members could be currently be benefiting from federal assets to benefit their welfare, like health, education, and housing, but have been left with-out Trust services in denial and termination of thei Trust responsibility of the Federal Government towards the tribal members. Some tribes like our own Wintu, have been waiting for longer than two decades.
In that time our members have seen our reservation at Toyon closed and our members forcefully removed (1987), another tribe re-acknowledged (Redding Rancheria 1983) in our traditional territory, including members of tribes not from the Shasta Trinity County area, then a casino was built in the Wintu name with millions in revenue sharing to the state of California with no benefit to the Wintu members to this day (Win-River Casino 1990-present), and more recently as a result of inter-tribal disputes the "splintering" of tribal families into separate factions claiming control of the Wintu people as a whole. Yes, unfortunately for the members caught in the middle of tribal leadership disputes where very few get anything of grant monies and everyone else in the tribe is left to guess whats going on... tribal governments without representation for tribal members, or equal rights against tribal governments gone mad, and no legal recourse even as Not for profit organizations as County and State courts have repeatedly referenced Santa Clara v. Martinez where tribal sovereignty trumps the governments rights to interfere in inter-tribal disputes, this all despite California being a PL 280 where the Wintu Tribe resides, delegating authority to the state attorney general, and also despite the State of California declaring authority to excercise Illegal Taxation of California tribal lands thru the Gaming Revenue Agreements forced upon California Tribes by the California Governors Office.
Contradictory leadership from the non-Indians to say the least. More accurately these recent events have proven to be for the Wintu, Double-handed legislation eminent of the Old 1851 Ash Creek Treaty days, where we as Indians have no re-course, no representation.
To the knowledge of Stop Wintu Fraud Editors it is the first time that Interior has officially used the term "splinter" to define in the Federal Register the fracturing of tribal memberships, for various reasons unique to each occasion. A good example of why federal statues rarely fit into real day Tribal issues like the "splintering of the Wintu", the new CFR Notice Recommendations and Direction does nothing to actually assist the tribe in resolution of any type to inter-tribal/ band disputes. Disputes that would be better clarified with the direct assistance and approval of the Interior and Regional Directors working in concert for the tribe to speed conflict resolution and complete applications, and move on to review to reduce back-log of the List of Tribes waiting for recognition which is now over 310 tribes waiting for review decisions.
It has been calculated by this Stop Wintu Fraud editor that of the 310+ tribes waiting for review thru OFA/ BAR, 32% of the tribes listed today in the Register are in some way Duplicate tribes that potentially would benefit by complying with interior's wishes , that in the name of speeding the process, tribes are to both resolve inter-tribal disputes and stop fracturing of tribal groups from single former petitioning groups into rival petitioners that would potentially, to interior create (and are creating) at least some of the back log.
Is the back long caused by tribes? No. Are tribes being forced to suffer "negative determinations" as a result of awry tribal leaders gone astray that no longer think in the tribal general memberships best interests. Here in the Notice today, Interior has gone beyond past mis-statements towards us as trustees, that the splintering of tribal groups should result in the tribe not receiving assistance in the BAR process, nor receive acknowledgement as a result of the splintering Interior has defined today as,
The idea that Interior is now, in 2008, 26 years into the OFA process, attempting to penalize tribes for excericising the Federal Right to be Self-Determinative of our futures and our right to Self-Governance as American Indians to dissolve and formulate tribal identity as tribal members see fit here has been diminished in interiors attempts to, "opportunities for streamlining the process through expedited decisions against acknowledgment and decisions against acknowledgment." Really whats being said to tribes is if your tribes splits up, we'll use that against you now. Also in the Notice Interior states for its OFA personnel that past "Conflicts within a petitioning group that result in multiple and conflicting claims to leadership hamper the ability of OFA to communicate and conduct its business with the group when OFA cannot identify a single governing body as the point of contact with the group." Here BIA is stating, "hey, if you make it harder on us (your trustor) by splintering into contradictory factions we will use it against you (the potential trustee). In a possible violation of trust relations, and certainly in an attempt to limit the size of tribes acknowledged in the future, and there bye limiting the trust responsibility of the federal government to assets held in the name of our people, without representation as to the resources use historically, therefore is interpreted here to be potentially a undue and illegal termination of trust responsibilities to hundreds of thousands of non-federalised Americans Indians, not just the Wintu.
A note for our pseudo-leaders, Wade, Gene, and Linda. Dis-enrolling people from the tribe was, and never will be the answer to what you cannot accomplish alone. You your self's actually amount to a splinter group when you applied as the Toyon by OUR 1993 deadline. And again when you Malone's wanted remove all the Central Valley people back in 2003. Why was that again, oh yeah, because you don't "like" Gloria Gomez. A real Wintu leader would can the bullshit set your personal differences aside and work for the good of all the Wintu, not just your pitiful family. Perhaps you begin to see that everyone around you when they become involved are forced to see your strangle-hold on the tribal government thru illegal elections every year. You can't have both tribes (Toyon and the Wintu Tribe), tribal members see for themselves the tribal council stop the Wintu meeting and then have the Not for profit meeting separate. Ask questions Wintu members, find out for yourselves why the general members aren't on the not for profit list but they have a separate general council listing for members? And the way they have it currently structured by the careful help of Non-Wintu CILS attorney Mary Risling, and this was only the Curl and Malone descendants will benefit from any monetary revenue from the tribe in the future? Read your Constitution. 33% to constitute a majority? Well from the 91 members base roll that's almost exactly the percentage of the 17 member extended family Curl-Malone Voting Block.
If theirs nothing wrong with the way the tribe is currently being run then why did Caleen Sisk leave the Curl-Malone Board to formulate the Traditional Winnmem? Why did Jill leave the Curl- Malone group? Why did Loretta Root leave the Curl Malone Ground? Why did 350 other Wintu leave to join United Bands after you illegally adopted your likewise illegally drafted Curl-Malone Wintu of Northern California Interim Constitution in 2003 by a vote, to small, to exact it. Ask the Nor-el-muk, the wintu from Trinity County, if they'll have anything to do with the Curl-Malone Board? Why did Gloria Gomez stick with the Central Valley Wintu after your family, in the name of your fraudulent tribe, drag her into court back in 1997-1998? It wasn't because you actually picketed in front of her private residence that year.... ya' think? And why would a single member who regained salmon harvesting rights on his own and fished for 6 years using traditional methods without assistance from the tribe, then be threatened with dis-enrollment after being nominated for Wintu Tribal Council?
Internal conflicts aside, the Wintu- interband disputes of our tribe have been addressed by attorneys representing us (as early as 2001), and now have been addressed by the Department of the Interior, and their position on "splintering" of petitioning groups is clear, if any ambiguity existed before surrounding duplicate petitions doomed for negative determinations, duplicate petitioners will not receive assistance or acknowledgement.
To absolve the Wintu bands is easy, the only obstacle to our rapid progression and eventual recognition is just a lot of power tripping old people that have entertained a false sense of control over the tribal membership for so long that it seem the leaders won't even won't take their finger off the button, and resolve petty differences for the good of the people.
The link to the notice from the Assistant Secretary of the Interior on Current Splinter groups: