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Open Letter to Robert Smith

Open Letter to Robert Smith

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Published by OPechanga
Robert Smith, Chairman of PALA Band Of Luiseno Indians has used false evidence he won't show to strip the citizenship of 15% of his tribe
Robert Smith, Chairman of PALA Band Of Luiseno Indians has used false evidence he won't show to strip the citizenship of 15% of his tribe

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Published by: OPechanga on May 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/25/2012

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Dear Chairman Smith,You and the other members of the Enrollment Committee havedetermined that we are disenrolled as members of the Pala Band.Through this action you have denied our heritage, our ancestry,our land, and our blood, and have done so without just cause. Weare the descendents of Margarita Brittain, who was an originalallottee from the 1913 Pala Allotment roll, and are rightfulmembers of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. Our Great-GreatGrandmother was born and raised in Cupa, and rode the Trail ofTears to the San Antonio de Pala Assistencia. She was a fullblood Cupeno, a skilled basket weaver and wise in the ancientways. Now you dishonor her, her legacy and the people by sayingwe don’t belong. We have not broken any law, transgressed anyrule, or committed any crime, and yet we stand accused, tried,and convicted. Convicted of what offense we do not know, becauseyou have not had the courage to tell us. You point to someevidence, some erroneous documents you think support your lies,but you say you don’t have to show it because you are a sovereignIndian tribe.It is obvious that you have confused yourself with the Tribe. TheTribe is a sovereign nation, but you are an elected official, anemployee of the Tribe at large. It is your job to uphold theTribal Constitution, but it is obvious that you forgot to reviewit before you acted against us. Check our Tribal Constitution. Itguarantees due process, as does the Indian Civil Rights Act, andso you are required to present the evidence to those you accuse,to allow them to present a defense, and to conduct a fair hearingbefore their peers. We have been denied all of this. Your actionsare unconstitutional, and a violation of our Civil Rights, andyet you are intractable, resolute in your mission to destroy thepeople you are supposed to lead. Even worse you defy the Bureauof Indian Affairs final decision that Margarita Brittain was fullblood, and a subsequent decision on the appeal of the originaleight disenrollees.How would it harm the leader of a sovereign nation to uphold theConstitution and notify the accused of their alleged offense? Howdoes the denial of our right to a defense serve the Tribe? Howdoes your refusal to conduct a fair hearing before our peersprove that “right is right and wrong is wrong,” as you said in aKCBS television interview? We submit that you acted out of adesire to harm us and to get revenge for some imagined wrong yousuffered in the past. We submit that you intimidated or lied tothe other members of the tribe to cooperate with your capriciousand despicable decision. We submit that you disenrolled us toeliminate opposition to your failed leadership.Never has it been more evident that you have failed miserably asa leader. You have failed to bring the people together, andinstead have split us apart into the haves and have-nots. You

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