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Old 02-01-2011, 05:25 PM   #2
AmigoKumeyaay
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BIA Ruling - 60 will be disenrolled

Ruling ousts 60 from San Pasqual band - SignOnSanDiego.com


Ruling ousts 60 from San Pasqual band

Families from one descendant lose Interior Department ruling over his adoptionBy J. Harry Jones

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.

VALLEY CENTER — About 60 members of the small San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, which operates the highly successful Valley View Casino, are not really members of the tribe, the United States Department of the Interior ruled Monday.

Those subject to the decision, which overturns one made in 2008, will be ousted from the tribe. They will no longer share in casino profits, will have to move off the reservation, and will not be able to take advantage of any other tribal benefits, the band’s spokesman, Allen Lawson, said Monday.

The decision is final according to a letter sent to the band from the Secretary of the Interior’s office.

At the heart of the issue is whether the descendants of Marcus Alto Sr. should be considered blood members of the tribe.

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk, the highest authority for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ruled that Alto was adopted when three days old in 1907 by members of the tribe and therefore his descendants are not truly blood members of the San Pasqual band. Alto died in 1988.

“When you’re not a member, it means you do not qualify for any of the benefits,” Lawson said.

“The Assistant Secretary’s thorough and well-reasoned decision vindicates the Tribe’s continuing opposition to the Bureau’s enrollment of Marcus alto’s descendants,” Lawson said. “Nothing is more important to the exercise of tribal sovereignty than a tribe’s right to define its own membership. After 20 years the Bureau has finally acted to correct its mistake.”

In 2008 it was estimated that all members of the Indian band —roughly 270 to 300 people — were receiving checks of about $4,000 each month from casino profits. Lawson would not comment yesterday about the size of the checks now.

Lawson said about eight of the Alto descendants live on the reservation presently although all do receive benefits.

The dispute has been going for more than 20 years. In 2008 the Bureau of Indian Affairs denied the band’s bid to eject the 60 members. That ruling was appealed to the Interior Department, which spent almost two years researching the question.

“I am persuaded that the enrollment of the Marcus Alto, Sr., descendants was based on information subsequently determined to be inaccurate and, as a result, their names must be deleted from the Band’s roll,” wrote Echo Hawk. ”... This decision is final for the Department.”
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