Who Is a Native American Indian?
By Jim Marino
I guess Marino is implying some sort of linkage. I.e., if anyone can claim to be an Indian and a tribe buys the claim, the tribe will make the person an Indian whether he is one or not. But the key link in this chain of "reasoning" doesn't exist. Tribes don't buy the claims of just anyone. They accept people only if they meet the tribe's strict criteria.
There are several recognized groups of California “Indians” who have only one, two or perhaps a handful of members. So any new members admitted are often family members of existing members.
Since these are two radically different arguments, which is it? Does Marino even realize that he's stupidly shifted arguments in the middle of his screed?
In case you haven't noticed, Marino is dissembling to manipulate his readers. He talks about wannabes claiming to be Indians and then leaps to wannabes actually being recognized as Indians. But he doesn't give us the slightest reason to take a leap of illogic with him.
So much for the accuracy of Marino's research.
I haven't read Without Reservation, but I can rebut some of Marino's arguments. The Mashantucket Pequot case wasn't an example of a tribe recognizing wannabes, since the tribe itself wasn't recognized. If Skip Hayward and his people were wannabes, they were recognized by an act of Congress signed by President Reagan. They proved themselves to our elected officials.
If you don't like what Congress and the president did, pay more attention the next time you vote. But don't waste our time questioning the democratic process. We elected those people to make decisions for us. If you didn't like their decisions, you should've elected someone else rather than whine about the results.
To reiterate, the Pequots were recognized through an act of Congress, a legitimate means of recognition. They played by the rules and were recognized by the rules. So what's the problem?
More to the point, their case is only one example. It doesn't tell anything about the other 560-plus tribes nationwide, including the 100-plus in California. It's basically irrelevant.
Require 1/2 blood quantum?
One, tribes have always adopted people of other races and made them Indians. John Ross the "Cherokee Moses" is an excellent example of that. Two, tribal membership is a political decision, not a racial one--as the Supreme Court has ruled. If a tribe chooses to enroll someone who's only 1/8th Indian by "blood," it's the tribe's right.
He hasn't even described how recognition could be a problem. The US government has recognized few new tribes recently, and almost none by an act of Congress. It has recognized most of California's tribes for a century or more.
His phony "argument" is as baseless as the argument against gay marriage. If a homosexual couple gets married, does it affect the previous 560 heterosexual marriages? No. If a tribe is wrongly recognized, does it affect the previous 560 tribal recognitions? No.
Marino's main worry seems to be that tribes are enrolling too many "wannabes." But disenrollment is about removing members who are wannabes. How does removing enrolled wannabes increase the number of enrolled wannabes?!
Even if a tribe disenrolls legitimate members, it doesn't help Marino's argument. Regardless of why members get disenrolled, the tribe becomes smaller, not bigger. This contradicts Marino's claim that tribes are trying to enlarge themselves to get more "welfare and grant monies provided to Indian groups." Duhhh.
The Pechanga case
The only legitimate conclusion is that most Pechanga Indians support the disenrollment action. If they didn't, they'd vote to reverse the decision, or elect someone to reverse it. That they haven't done this signifies their approval.
The move to disenroll people isn't "commonly recognized as an effort to fatten the profits" except by the disenrollees. The tribes doing the disenrolling uniformly say they're expelling people who aren't really Indians. Since these tribes don't open their internal decision-making to public scrutiny, no one can say which side is right.
And again, Marino is shifting arguments. Let's suppose a tribe has disenrolled people because it's greedy. What does this have to do with tribes recognizing wannabes as Indians? Or with wannabes claiming to be and somehow becoming Indians? Answer: Nothing. Marino is talking about three or more unrelated issues and pretending they're one big problem.
You see? This is sheer stupidity. If a tribe keeps wannabes out, it's greedy. If it lets wannabes in, it's greedy. These two arguments are contradictory, but Marino embraces them both. Which proves he has no argument except "gaming is bad" and "Indians are bad."
Marino's real target
Since Marino writes for Santa Ynez Valley Journal, his real target is undoubtedly the Chumash. Problem is that he can't come up with a real argument against them. Is their recognition invalid? No. Have they enrolled any wannabes? No. Have they failed to enroll anyone who's a legitimate Indian? No. Have they disenrolled anyone? No.
Oops. Marino believes that some tribe somewhere has done something wrong. Something to do with recognition...enrollment...wannabes...or something like that. Apparently that means the Chumash must be guilty by association. Because all gaming tribes are corrupt and evil by definition.
I wonder what Marino thinks the Chumash should do. Enroll the people who have 1/8th or less Chumash blood? Disenroll all the present members because they're wannabes? Disband the whole tribe because it's illegitimate? All of the above? Or what, exactly?
I think Marino is jealous because the Chumash are earning a lot of money and he isn't. Well, boo-hoo, you big crybaby. If your ancestors hadn't committed acts of genocide against them, the Indians would own most of the county. They'd be earning $6,840,000 (152 x $45,000) a month by working or leasing their extensive land holdings. Either way, they're getting what they deserve.
And what does helping non-Indians have to do with tribes enrolling wannabes or disenrolling legitimate members? Absolutely nothing. Marino is throwing up every anti-Indian argument he can think of and hoping that one sticks.
So we have three different "problems," none of them proved, with three different solutions. That's what I call stupid.
For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.
Below: Another racist with views similar to Marino's.