Tribal Offices, Tribal Land, Avenida Central, La Grange, Ca.

This month’s USDA Food Distribution was held by the California Valley Miwok Tribe on Monday, October 24th, 2022. It was a pretty good day for the distribution with clear skies and sunny and mild temperatures. The selection of foods were abundant with cereals both hot and cold, canned fruits and vegetables, carton and canned milk, noodles, potatoes, juices, breads, crackers, cheeses, pork, poultry, beef items and fish along with various other items.

Sadly though the tribe though once again finds itself involved in current and soon to be filed litigation’s now regarding the BIA’s attempt at subverting the well established processes of staying administrative action’s pending the outcome of current litigation. It seems that AS/IA Bryan Newland has brought back and promoted many previously thrown aside bureaucrats, giving them a prominent position without oversight so that they once again can wage an endless war of attrition and subjugation against the tribe, her citizen’s and the sovereignty that is supposed to protect her against this very type of governmental interference. These bureaucrats long looking for ways to practice paternalism and takeover the tribe, “including and excluding who they wish, far outside their authority” were previously hi-jacked in their agenda by the influence of Senator Diane Feinstein and her cronies in a quest for a bay area casino enterprise. Now with her current powers of influence diminishing, wish to retake the initiative in a quest to once again fulfill their own agenda and in the process support their own third group in the theft of the tribe, disenrollment of everyone currently enrolled and yet again the building of another casino for this group that BIA officials with exercise some influence over.

As in relation to the authority enjoyed by AS/IA Bryan Newland an older story written over a decade ago is as prevalent today as it was when written.

Mr. Newland, a man who does not stand for something, stands for nothing. Stand up for those you are supposed to represent and let your voice be heard.

It is called the Mr. Smith / California Valley Miwok Metaphor

While watching a classic movie yesterday, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington“, circa 1939, starring Jimmy Stewart, we members of the California Valley Miwok Tribe, realized that our Tribe’s personal story is not so unlike his. Our Tribe received federal recognition from the U.S. Government in 1915, but as of today, much of our inherent sovereign rights have been ignored or outright disregarded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Even though the BIA acted as if they would help the Tribe in whatever direction it wished to go. Silvia Burley was in college pursuing her degree when the acting Chairman of the Tribe voluntarily resigned from the position, citing a desire to pursue other interests. The General Council appointed Silvia Burley to act as interim Chairperson. An Election of Officers was held on May 8, 1999, in which Ms. Burley was unanimously elected Chairperson.

Officials within the BIA were enthused to work with the newly-elected Tribal Council, perceiving them to be naive, gullible and probably easily controlled. Those persons working within the BIA, no doubt, were salavating over all of the ways that they could mislead and redirect this Tribe away from achieving the goals which the Tribal Members asked of their Tribal Council to accomplish – but much like the Mr. Smith story – the Chairperson and Tribal Council became quick studies. Even though the Tribe did not quite fully understand sovereignty or all that it entails and to this day, have not been allowed their rights to it under federal law, they knew it was something worth fighting for, even if it was no more than an idea that must be protected.

We do not feel that agents of mortgage companies thought as children, “When I grow up, I want to throw people out of their homes” or that BIA officials thought, “When I grow up, I want to destroy my people, their culture and take from them their sovereignty” or that politicians thought “When I grow up, I want to represent the rich and powerful at the expense of the common man’s futures”, but all these situations are now upon not only the Tribe, but upon all of the American people.

As the BIA began forcing their will upon the Tribe, the Tribe was advised to seek economic opportunities to prevent financial alienation which could be exacted against them by corrupt beaurocrats, as a means to bring the Tribe to its knees and force it to capitulate to the BIA’s incredulous demands, which is exactly what has now happened. Much like the “Mr. Smith..” story, large and well established corporations started seeking favor with the Tribe, promising much and delivering nothing. It soon became apparent that they too looked at this little-known Tribe as a opportunity to be exploited for personal gain. Their true motivations revealed, they disappeared from the scene as quickly as they had appeared.

During all of this, the Tribe has for these many years tried countless times to even secure but one meeting with any of their state or federally elected officials – whom have largely ignored the Tribe and their requests to personally present their case to these persons – but much like the “Mr. Smith..” story, these individuals were elected to office with the help of special interests and corporations; an exclusive club in which the Tribe has no membership.

Now is the time, like the “Mr. Smith..” story, that someone, somewhere with the power or influence to right all the years of wrongdoing against this Tribe, needs to find the courage to harken back to their own upbringing, when their parents taught them the importance of ethics and morality; things that in the field of government/politics and business, in a modern society, are often convoluted, lost or forgotten altogether. Sometimes we as people should do the right thing – not because it is easier, not for personal gain and not even for notoriety or personal glory, but simply because it is the right thing to do.

In Conclusion,

This is why our country is currently in such dire straights financially, legally and politically, because those in charge of our institutions choose to ignore their moral and ethical obligations to those whom they are supposed to represent.

Doing the right thing is never the easiest, but is always the simplest thing to do. It only gets complicated when people personally try to confuse a very simple situation to be able to do the wrong thing and then try to get away with it.

At this time we would like to thank those who make programs like this possible and who work with the tribe recently reaching out,
The United States Department of Agriculture, The Federal Emergency Management Agency, California Office of Emergency Services,
The California Department of Justice, The Red Lake Nation of Minnesota, The Tule River Tribe, The Tule River Food Distribution Department
And a special thanks to Ronald Buckman and again congratulation’s on your recent wedding we the tribe wish you and your bride all the best.