The California Valley Miwok Tribe has been notified that its Tribal Property is scheduled for auction on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:00 am, to be held at 222 E. Weber Ave., Stockton California. The Tribe is federally recognized, and is listed in the federal register. CVMT is a “landless Tribe” in that it does not possess land held in trust by the federal government. The State of California expressly recognizes the Tribal Property as the Tribe’s principal place of business. The Tribe has no other real estate other than the Tribal Property. The Tribe has no other location from which it can continue to provide governmental services critical to the Tribe and its members. The Tribe is a sovereign nation that is fully entitled to govern its own resources, interests, and rights, including its own property. The Tribe has resided at 10601 N. Escondido Pl., Stockton since 2002, prior to moving to Stockton, the Tribe was located in Tracy (San Joaquin County) California.
The Bank auctioning the Tribal Property will cause harm to the Tribe. The action will paralyze the Tribe’s ability to continue governmental operations and administration of essential Tribal benefits to its members. Allowing the seizure of the Tribal Property is in direct contravention of the Tribe’s sovereignty and tramples on the Tribe’s ability to properly and meaningfully exercise its sovereign authority. The California Valley Miwok Tribe is a self-governing Indian Tribe possessing inherent sovereignty that predates the founding of the United States and the ratification of the United States Constitution. The Tribe possesses a distinct political society capable of managing its own affairs and through its sovereignty, is generally immune from state laws and administrative actions that would interfere with those rights of self-government and sovereign immunity. The Tribe is currently seeking resolution of its interest in ongoing litigation, and such ongoing litigation affects the Tribal Property at issue, any and all disposition of that Property will improperly interfere in that litigation.
At the heart of this foreclosure and pending eviction is the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC), which has been illegally withholding CVMT’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) monies since the 4th quarter of 2005. This action stems from a tribal member being taken advantage of and manipulated by outside influences to file a false claim of a leadership dispute. The outside influence then initiated a fictitious group falsely claiming to be members of CVMT. Not one member of this group is or ever was a member or in any way associated with the California Valley Miwok Tribe, in fact, there is not a single individual in this fictitious group that has federal recognition to prove that they are Native American Indian. The fictitious group is after the Tribes Revenue Sharing Trust Fund money, they have no standing to file suit or claims on behalf of the Tribe. In February 2011, in court deposition, the tribal member admitted that he lied about the tribal leader dispute, and that it was an outside influence who told him to say there was a leadership dispute. Even with this admission, the Gambling Control Commission continues to illegally withhold the Tribe’s RSTF money saying they do not know who the Tribal leader is. The Gambling Control Commissions’ deliberate and continued interference into the California Valley Miwok Tribe’s governmental affairs has caused the Tribe to default on its Property payments. CVMT is asking all federally recognized California Tribes who pay into the RSTF to demand that the Commission immediately release the RSTF monies that are owed to the California Valley Miwok Tribe. CGCC’s refusal to release CVMT’s RSTF monies is in clear violation of the 1999 State compact.
The Tribe has made numerous good faith attempts to negotiate an amicable resolution with the Bank towards resolving any outstanding debt on the Tribal Property. Instead of trampling on the rights of a sovereign Indian Nation, the Bank should be working with the Tribal government against the California Gambling Control Commission to pressure the Commission to follow the law and release the RSTF monies so that the Tribe can pay its bills. The California Valley Miwok Tribe is hereby asking for all media, the general public, concerned citizens, other federally recognized Tribes, local, state and federal officials and representatives to help the California Valley Miwok Tribe save the only Tribal Property that it has.
An impending eviction is causing the Tribe an inability to provide essential services such as public safety, education, health care, and basic infrastructure critical to its members. This is of no fault of the Tribe. The public is well aware that the United States has just come out of a 16 day government shutdown. We all have the images fresh in our minds of some of the 800,000 federal workers who were protesting the shutdown because they were worried about the uncertainty of how they were going to pay their bills, buy food, etc. In the brief time allowed for the federal workers to contact via email or otherwise, CVMT received many calls and emails from federal workers telling us they have been furloughed. Little did the people contacting us know that the California Valley Miwok Tribe has endured years of abuse and financial strangulation from the California Gambling Control Commission, and the government shutdown was no different than what the Tribe has been dealing with since CGCC unilaterally stopped releasing CVMT’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund money, in which the Tribe is an eligible tribe to receive. The California Gambling Control Commissions’ lack of respect for Tribal sovereignty needs to be addressed so that no other Tribes and their membership have to suffer the way we are suffering. The People of California deserve to know the truth.
The California Valley Miwok Tribe has suffered far too long. It’s sad to think of what our Indian ancestors had to survive through while California was becoming a State, but, in this day and age, to think that officials employed by the California Gambling Control Commission have no empathy towards the suffering of the tribal members of the California Valley Miwok Tribe bring us to tears each time we wake up to another miserable day of existence. As long as the CGCC Commissioners get their paycheck each month and pay their bills, they don’t worry about their property being foreclosed on, or about being evicted with winter around the corner. What our Tribe has to look forward to is empty holiday cheer, with no reason to celebrate. At least with the government shutdown being over, we are grateful to have commodity food to prepare meals. As we search through our faded and torn clothing, and think back on the embarrassment of closing out our bank accounts because the balance statement showed zero. We are asking people to imagine themselves in our situation, feel the anger, the pain and the distrust for the system that has failed us so miserably.
No one should have to live in constant fear of being thrown in the streets. Of wondering how you are going to pay the utility bills or purchase tribal office supplies to correspond with federal, state and local agencies. Or to sit in a cold office because you are afraid to turn the heat on because heating the office would cause the utility bills to be too big to pay. Or to have to make a decision not make an appointment with a doctor or dentist because you have no money to pay the medical bill or gas for the vehicle to take you to the appointment.
The California Valley Miwok Tribe is a tribe member of many organizations, listed is an example of such organizations: National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), California Tribal TANF Partnership (CTTP-TANF), California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG), Sierra Nevada Native American Graves and Repatriation Act Coalition (SNNC) NAGPRA, The American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California (AICC of CA), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
This is a very critical situation the Tribe is in. We are asking for all who read this article to save the California Valley Miwok Tribe, stop the eviction, and assist the Tribe in getting its Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) money released from the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) so the Tribe can save its property, pay its bills, and keep the tribal day-to-day operations / programs running to serve its tribal members, and to continue to carry out its responsibilities to the planning departments, transportation departments, social departments, FCC Tower Construction projects, general public inquiries, etc.
The United States has a trust responsibility and November is Native American Heritage Month. Please help us put an end to these unwarranted and shameful abuses against the California Valley Miwok Tribe.
If you can help us, please contact the California Valley Miwok Tribe via Tribal Office phone (209) 931-4567, Fax: (209) 931-4333, Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Tribal Council: email@example.com , Chairperson Silvia Burley at firstname.lastname@example.org.