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Biography

In 1993, I was re-enrolled into the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians located in Coarsegold California. I did not actively participate in the Tribe until 2002 when I became aware of how much of a contribution I could make.

In 2002, I began by working voluntarily in the Enrollment Offices of the Tribe which were severely undermanned. During this period I was also appointed to serve on the Election Committee, a volunteer Committee that was responsible for creating, mailing and certifying the election of the Tribal Council. That year was my first taste of Tribal politics, and they hurt me as well as inspired me.

In 2003, I was appointed to the Enrollment Committee where I was selected to be the Chairperson. This was a two year appointment. During this first year of my appointment, the Tribe enrolled an additional 67 people. The Tribe had now reached 1,225 members.

The Tribe also opened the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in 2003. I went to work for the Casino and was one of the first Tribal Members hired.

In the 2004-2005 fiscal year, the Tribe was no longer enrolling more members. In fact, the Enrollment Committee was being given direction to begin an "audit" of the current members so that the "true members" could be determined and the rest of the people could be disenrolled.

My Committee agreed that this was an immoral act towards our fellow members and refused to take such action. We even wrote down the legal reasons why we could not attack our fellow members in this way. We were severely chastised by the Tribal Council who told us we could not make that decision ourselves. The Council decided to not meet with our Committee for the remainder of our term. When it ended, two of the three members were replaced with members who would conduct the audit without any questions being asked.

From 2005 to 2006 the Tribe conducted its audit. In August 2006 the Tribe conducted "kangaroo court" hearings for the members who had been determined to be ineligible for membership based upon the audit results. In October 2006, the Tribe began to disenroll these same members via certified mail.

What the Tribe was demonstrating was its Supreme Court granted authority to determine who would be a member and who would not. This authority is absolute and cannot be challenged in any American court, even if a Tribe doesn't follow its own rules when kicking people out.

It is this legalized injustice that has driven me to become a leader in the movement to stop disenrollments and abuses of the authorities of Tribes here in California and around the country.

Interests

One of my favorite pasttimes is researching legal issues like the one facing Native Americans today. I can spend hours reading federal documents that have relevance to this issue. When I'm not engaged in research, I love to go to the movies and to have small round-table discussions with friends about topics ranging from global-warming to the Bush Administrations failure to deliver any leadership on every issue facing Americans today. My favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkein, Anne Rice and Dean Koontz.