California Indian Day,
Indian Civil Right's Rally
September 23, 2005
By: Earl Denver
John Gomez Jr. starting the Rally
with Caleen Sisk-Franco, who
offered the opening Prayer and Mark Franco.
On Friday, September 23, 2005 on the north steps of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, California, a rally was held to bring to light on going problems within Indian Country.
A group of disenrolled California Indians and Indians from thru out the United States gathered to inform the public and each other about civil rights violations of American Indians. There were several tables setup by representatives from different groups who offered information on several subjects that are having an impact on American Indians, such as, Tribal Disenrollment, Families affected by disenrollment, Termination, the Protection of Indian burial sites and the effects Indian Rights violations had and are still having on the American Indian. Plus a video was shown from Syracuse University titled “The Fourteenth Family,” the demolition of Danielle Schenadoah’s home (disenrolled Tribal member) on the Oneida Reservation located in the State of New York.
The rally was organized by Carla and Mark Maslin, and John Gomez Jr; The Tribal Counsel of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians located in Temecula, California illegally disenrolled Carla Maslin and John Gomez Jr. The rally got under way at 10:30 a.m. and lasted all day, ending about 4:30 p.m.
A prayer and blessing was given by Celeen Sisk-Franco, Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Indians of Northern California, at the start of the event. On September 30, 2004 the Winnemem Winto Indian Tribe had their recognition as American Indians restored by an act of Congress. Celeen offered up the prayer and blessing in her native language and was translated by her husband Mark Franco.
Those who spoke during the rally gave very powerful and compelling testimony on a great number of problematical issues that American Indians are facing in America.
The speakers were,
* Attorney Mike Stuhff from Las Vegas, NV, who spoke on the history of the “Indian Civil Rights Act.”
* Bob Foreman, Pit-River Indian from the Redding Rancheria, Bob’s topic was the “History of the California Termination Act.”
* Celeen Sisk-Franco, spiritual leader of the Winnemen Wintu Indians. Her subject was “The Unrecognized Indians.”
*John Gomez Jr, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. John spoke about the “Civil Rights violations in Indian Country.”
* Attorney Jon Velie from Oklahoma who gave an update on “Pending Indian Civil Rights litigation.”
* Marc Lucero, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. “Implementation of Moratoriums to deny Tribal Heritage.”
* John Bill, Sauk-Suiattle Tribe of the State of Washington. “Why members are targeted for disenrollment.”
* Earl Denver, Plaintiff listed on the Lawsuit, Felter –vs- Norton, Terminated Mixed-Blood Uinta’s of the Ute Indian Tribe of Utah. “The Ute PartitionAct of 1954,” “Indian Reorganization Act of 1934” and “The Johnson/O’Malley Act.”
* John Gomez Jr. Disenrolled Pechanga. “The State of California’s role in Civil Rights.”
* Gene Sloan, Cahto Indian, former Chairman and now disenrolled! “The nation wide problem of disenrollment.”
* Ari-el Treppa, Guidiville Rancheria, Mental Health Provider. “The impact of Indian Civil Rights violation on young children and young adult’s.”
Here's a brief summery of my speech; I started out by telling the croud a little of my background. I then told them about the “Ute Partition Act”and of the affects it’s had on the Terminated Mixed-Blood Uinta’s of Utah forthe last fifty-one years. I then informed them about the filing of the lawsuitknown as Felter –vs- Norton in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. and why it was filed there. I didn’t go into great detail, only giving a generaloverview into the complaint. Next I gave a personal interpretation on the rootcause of the entire problems Indians are facing today, which I believe is caused by the “Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.” I ended by talking about the“Johnson / O’malley Act,” which most Indians are not aware of. This Act allowedIndian children to enter the public school system and how school districtscould collect state funds for each American Indian child who was enrolled inpublic schools. After making my presentation there were many who complementedme and told me that they have been trying to tell their own people the samething for years and that they were glad I stood up and was not afraid to speakopenly in public about our struggle and of the discrimination American Indiansare facing.
The Rally was an all day event and the weather couldn’t have been more cooperative. The number of people who attended the rally was estimated to be around 200, but with the event being held outdoors and on thesteps of the State Capitol the number of people who heard the speeches was hardto estimate because of the large number of people in and around the Capitolground’s. Many did stop and listen to the speeches and a very large number didwatch the Video “The Fourteenth Family.”
There were individuals at the rally video taping each speaker. The Rally organizers said they would send a copy of my speech to ourAttorney, Dennis Chappabitty. Hopefully copies can be made and be available inthe future for those who would like to have one. I’ll put a notice on my webblog if or when they are available. Just click on the link titled Earl’s Counsel Fire.