Petition Closed

Give the San Pasqual Indians Due Process

This petition had 556 supporters


Please help the San Pasqual Indians.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs abused this tribe for more than 100 years.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs has denied 200 San Pasqual descendants their due process rights.

- The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians are one of the only known Federally Recognized Indian tribes in the United States that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has any say over enrollment.

- It took hearings before the California Legislature in 1955 to get the true San Pasqual Indians on to the land that was trust patented to their tribe by Executive Order in 1910. The true San Pasqual Indians were not allowed on their own land by non-San Pasqual squatters, who were on the San Pasqual land with the tacit permission of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

- The Bureau of Indian Affairs breached it’s fiduciary duty to the San Pasqual Indians, both by intentional acts, as well as grossly negligent acts, relating to both the land and enrollment. The Bureau enrolled non-San Pasqual people in the San Pasqual tribe over the objection of the true San Pasqual. The Bureau has breached in fiduciary duty to the true San Pasqual descendants for their failure to give due process notice to the descendants relating to their 2005 enrollment in their tribe.

To understand the importance of this petition, you have to understand a brief history of this tribe:

At the end of the Mission period, the San Pasqual were returned to their ancestral land. The San Pasqual village grew up around some of the best farming land in San Diego. In 1821, the Mexican governor confirmed their land to them and assured them they would never be disturbed. One of the reasons the San Pasqual are considered the most important Indian tribe in California history, is because of the assistance they gave to General Kearney during the Battle of San Pasqual. After Mexico ceded California to the United States, promises were made to these Indians to assure them they would never be disturbed and they would be safe on their land. However, with the California gold rush came the white 'pioneers' who looked upon the Indians as sub-human.

In the 1870's, a man by the name of Calvin Washburn set fire to the San Pasqual village and burned the San Pasqual out. A man by the name of Bevington obtained orders of ejectment in the San Diego Superior Court in 1878, and the San Pasqual were removed by the government from their land. They dispersed to the hills above their village, some went to the Escondido area, only a few miles away, and others around California. It took until 1910 for the United States government to set aside land for their reservation. (According to March 10, 1910 article the San Pasqual Indians were the ONLY California Indian tribe without land).
 
The San Pasqual Indians wanted their own land back. However, the government would not disturb the white 'pioneers.' The land ultimately set aside for the San Pasqual was in another township, had no water and did not have arid land for farming. Therefore, the proud San Pasqual Indians refused to move on to the worthless land. While the land was not valuable to the Indians, because they could not farm and sustain themselves, it was valuable to squatters. Therefore, in 1910, a descendant of one of the white pioneers, Frank Trask, was hired as a caretaker of the San Pasqual land to preserve it for the Indians. In an ironic twist of history, the descendants of Frank Trask became the very squatters he was hired to prevent coming on to the land.

Frank Trask had married a half-blood woman from the Mesa Grande tribe in Santa Isabel. They had 2 daughters, Florence and Helen. The 4 of them moved into the little house that was on the land. Frank Trask died in 1920. After his death for a period of time his family continued to live on the land. However, in time, they moved away. The Bureau, however, continued to count them on the San Pasqual Indian census rolls. (Throughout the 1920's with a notation, they were Mesa Grande Indians). There are 2 certified copies of documents from the National Archives that document the Bureau of Indian Affairs KNEW Frank Trask was NOT an Indian; and that none possessed San Pasqual blood.

In 1937, the County of San Diego conducted an extensive study about the Indians on the 18 San Diego Indian Reservations in the County. It was an extensive study that looked at health, education, crime, etc. It was documented that there were no San Pasqual Indians on the reservation. Counted, however, were 8 non-residents (The Trask daughters, and their families).

In 1955, hearings were held about the California Indians by the California Legislature. During the hearings, it was discovered that the non-San Pasqual people would NOT ALLOW the San Pasqual Indians on to their own trust patented land. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director, Sacramento, testified. It was clear that he knew the story of the San Pasqual Indians, and that the non-San Pasqual Indians had no rights to be on the reservation and keep the San Pasqual Indians off of their land.
 
When it was exposed what the white pioneer descendants were doing to the San Pasqual Indians regarding their land, with the tacit approval of the Bureau, did the Bureau take any action? An anthropologist by the name of Florence Shipek was hired by the San Pasqual Indians and she documents in her book, Pushed Into the Rocks, what the Bureau did to the San Pasqual Indians. They assisted the non-San Pasqual pioneer descendants to obtain land assignments and enrollment in the San Pasqual tribe.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs drafted a statute that laid out the requirements that must be met in order to be enrolled in the San Pasqual tribe. The Indians thought that by putting in a requirement of 1/8 blood of the San Pasqual band, they and their descendants would be protected from the Trasks and the Bureau. However, that was not to be the case. After the regulations were approved by the true San Pasqual Indians, the Bureau made a change to one of the provisions (25 CFR 48.5(f). The Bureau added this provision without the knowledge or approval of the San Pasqual Indians. In fact, I have an internal memo in which the Bureau advises a local BIA worker NOT to show the San Pasqual Indians the change to the statute. The Bureau then enrolled these non-San Pasqual people in the San Pasqual tribe. When the San Pasqual Indians filed an enrollment challenge, the Bureau denied their complaint.

In the late 1980's, there was a settlement relating to water rights for several of the San Diego Indians. The 80-A Docket. Money was paid in to trust that was to be distributed to the San Pasqual Indians. For the limited purpose of bringing the rolls current and distributing the trust money 25 CFR 76, was published. After distribution of the trust money, part 76 was withdrawn. However, prior to it's withdrawal, in 1995, the Bureau wrongfully enrolled several more of the non-San Pasqual descendants. The Bureau went so far as to now claim that these non-San Pasqual Indians had not only San Pasqual blood, but that their entire blood line was San Pasqual blood!

Since that time, these pioneer descendants have worked very hard to gerrymander the tribal government. In 2005, the San Pasqual enrollment committee discovered census records the BIA had hidden from the San Pasqual for years. The documents from 1955 show that my clients ancestor was a full blood, not a half blood. The enrollment committee voted to enroll them. This issue was taken to the General Council to the tribe who unanimously voted to enroll them. The non-San Pasqual people knew that if my clients were enrolled, it would deprive them of their power in the tribe, because now the INDIANS would have the majority vote. Therefore, the BIA worked in concert with the non-San Pasqual Indians, deprived my clients of their due process rights, which has been the case ever since. All of the actions of the Bureau have been a breach of fiduciary duty to the true San Pasqual Indians over all of these years.

Amy Dutschke, Pacific Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Sacramento.  Give the San Pasqual Descendants their due process rights. 

Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C. Give the San Pasqual Descendants their due process rights.



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