Saturday, 18 May 2024

Tribal members plan Robinson Rancheria protest

NICE – A group of Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo tribal members plan to hold a protest at the tribe's casino on Saturday to draw attention to what they allege are the tribal council's violations of human and civil rights.


The protest, scheduled to being at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, will be held at the casino's entrance on Highway 20, between Nice and Upper Lake.


Community members of all ethnic backgrounds are invited to the event, which the organizers says is meant to highlight the need for civil and human rights protections for American Indians.


Last month, the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council voted to disenroll several dozen tribal members, as Lake County News has reported. At least 60 people had been up for disenrollment, although not all of those individuals lost their membership.


Tribal Chair Tracey Avila previously told Lake County News that the people whose names were removed from the tribe's membership rolls had been in question for some time, and that the council was conducting a housekeeping effort to finally have those names removed.


Among those organizing the protest on behalf of disenrolled families are EJ Crandell, whose election as tribal chair last summer was decertified by the tribe's election committee, and Mark and Carla Maslin.


Carla Maslin's entire 76-member family was disenrolled from the Redding Rancheria in 2004. Her family, along with other disenrolled tribal members from around the state, founded the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization – AIRRO for short – of which Maslin is board chair.


The protest organizers issued a statement this week saying that the tribal council has “created an atmosphere that oppresses their people from expressing opposing viewpoints, disregarded tribal traditions and laws to deny members their tribal identity and inherent rights.”


Those up for disenrollment already have reportedly lost regular payments tribal members are entitled to from its casino, as well as access services such as health care and education.


The Quitiquit family, with about three dozen members who were notified they are being disenrolled, reported that several members also recently were terminated from jobs with the tribe in recent weeks following the disenrollment action.


Avila said previously that the tribe only dismissed people from jobs for performance-related issues.


The tribal council's disenrollment decision has to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has jurisdiction over the matter because of clauses in the tribe's constitution.


Those who were notified of their disenrollment have appealed the decision to the bureau, which is reportedly still in the process of arriving at a decision.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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