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Published by OPechanga
Pechanga Heir Testimony on HR 5413
Pechanga Heir Testimony on HR 5413

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: OPechanga on Sep 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Testimony in Opposition to HR 5413
My name is _______________________. I am a Temecula Indian and I am an heir to aninterest in an allotment which will be affected by HR 5413.I submit this testimony to express my concerns regarding HR 5413 (“Act”) and requestthat the Subcommittee on Water and Power oppose the Act until such time as it isamended to address the issues presented in this testimony.In order to provide the proper context for my concerns, I believe that it is important toaccurately portray the history of the Temecula Indians, the Temecula Indian Reservation,and the allotments provided to Temecula Indians.Since time immemorial, the Temeekuym- Temecula Indians- have called the TemeculaValley home. Our history begins with our ancestral home village of Temeeku, which wasa center for all the Payomkawichum, or Luiseño people.On January 5, 1852, a "Treaty of Peace and Friendship" between the United Statesgovernment and various Indian tribes was signed at the village of Temeeku on LittleTemecula Rancho. The treaty provided for large grants of lands to the Indians, includingland along the Temecula River where the Temecula Indians had always made their home
Unfortunately, under pressure from the State of California, the Treaty, as well as other treaties with California Indian tribes, was never ratified. Eventually a group of TemeculaValley ranchers petitioned the District Court in San Francisco for a Decree of Ejectionagainst the Temecula Indians. In 1875, under an order of ejectment granted several yearsearlier, the sheriff of San Diego County evicted the Temecula Indians from their villageand their homes.On June 27, 1882, seven years after being evicted, the President of the United Statesissued an Executive Order establishing a reservation for the use and benefit of the“Temecula band or village” of Indians. Over the years, several subsequent trustacquisitions were made, each one increasing the size of the reservation. (The originalexecutive Orders (1882 and 1893) setting aside the Temecula Indian Reservation andother trust acquisitions are looked to as “priority dates” establishing the water rightswhich are part of the settlement which would be confirmed and authorized by HR 5413).And, in accordance with the Act of Congress approved January 12, 1891 (26 Stats 712),allotments were made to the Indians residing on the reservation of the Temecula band or village of Mission Indians in the State of California. These allotments were subsequentlyconfirmed and been extended numerous times for the benefit of the Temecula Indiangrantees and their heirs.My ancestor, Paulina Hunter, was one of the Temecula Indians who received an
allotment. Paulina Hunter received allotment #62. I currently have an ownership interestin this allotment.As an allottee interest heir and Temecula Indian I am concerned that the Act does not properly protect my property rights and actually provides for infringement on said rights by the Pechanga Band.I therefore request your opposition to HR 5413 until the Act is amended to address thefollowing:
I. The Department of the Interior and Pechanga Band’s Failure to Notify Allotteesof the Negotiations to Settle Water Rights
Prior to the commencement of negotiations on the water rights settlement and theintroduction of various acts to confirm and ratify the settlement, I was never notified bythe Department of the Interior or Pechanga Tribal officials that my rights and interestswere going to be negotiated. To date, all the negotiations have occurred without my participation or consent.Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian Allottees have contacted the Department of Interior representative in charge of the settlement negotiations, and we are in the processof getting a meeting with this person to discuss our concerns regarding the negotiationsand settlement. Until we can meet with the Department of the Interior and are includedin the settlement negotiations, I respectfully request that no further action should be takenon HR 5413.
II. Pechanga Tribal Officials do not Represent the Interests of all Temecula Indiansor Temecula Indian Allottees
Despite claims to the contrary, Pechanga Tribal officials do not and have never represented me in the water rights settlement nor have they contacted me to ask for myconsent to represent my interests.Pechanga Tribal officials and their representatives have acted without my approval intheir negotiations to settle the water rights claims associated with my allotment and intheir efforts to pursue Congressional action to approve and ratify the settlement.Moreover, I and many other allottees do not trust Pechanga tribal officials to act in our  best interest, as this is not the first time that Pechanga tribal officials have acted to strip or deny me use of my property and other basic rights.Over the past six (6) plus years, Pechanga officials have disenrolled over 400 previouslyrecognized tribal members. Additionally, hundreds more have been denied membershipin the tribe under an illegal moratorium enacted to limit the number of people who benefit from the tribe’s economic development ventures.Those who have been disenrolled and denied membership include many allottees, myself included, that would be adversely affected by the Act as it provides that the very officials
who have stripped or denied numerous allottees of rights set forth in tribal and federallaw shall be responsible for satisfying the very same allottees’ entitlement to water.Considering the Band’s actions to strip Paulina Hunter descendants of their citizenship, inviolation of tribal and federal laws, I do not want Pechanga tribal officials negotiating mywater rights or representing my interests in front of Congress in an attempt to ratify thewater rights settlement.
III. Temecula Indian and Temecula Indian Allottees should be Parties to theSettlement Negotiations and consulted regarding pending Acts of Congress
HR 5413 and the other Acts reference priority dates establishing water rights associatedwith the setting aside of a reservation for the use and benefit of the Temecula band or village of Indians, those water rights must be protected and preserved regardless of anyclaims made by Pechanga tribal officials.There are hundreds of Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian Allottees who will beaffected by the Settlement and HR 5413. The Settlement and the Act should benegotiated and drafted with the full consent and participation of the Temecula Indiansand Temecula Indian Allottees- to date that has not occurred.The participation of the Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian Allottees should be arequirement for approval, confirmation and ratification of the Settlement. Their inclusionand participation should also be required for approval of HR 5413.I respectfully request that the Subcommittee recommend that the sponsors of HR 5413meet with Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian Allottees in order to discussamendments to the Act that would address their interests and protect their water rights
IV. HR 5413, and other Acts, should be Amended to Reflect the Ownership Interestsand Water Rights Due Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian Allottees
The Executive Orders setting aside a reservation for Temecula Indians, as well as theallotments made to Temecula Indians in accordance with the Act of January 12, 1891 (26Stats 712) are utilized as key factors in determining the water rights at issue. However,instead of Temecula Indians and Temecula Indian Allottees benefitting, Pechanga tribalofficials have falsely laid claim to representing the interests of the Temecula Indians,Temecula Indian allottees, and their heirs.Temecula Indians, Temecula Indian Allottees, and their heirs should be allowed todetermine those who will represent their interests in the settlement negotiations and thefuture development of the Act. I respectfully request that the Subcommittee require thattheir representatives participate in future settlement negotiations and amendments to theAct as a pre-requisite for moving forward.
V. The Settlement Agreement should be known as the Temecula and PechangaSettlement Agreement; Acts to Confirm and ratify the Settlement should alsoInclude Temecula in the name

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