(James Henninger Aguirre and “Chief” Frank Vidales)

Henninger Flats

(Correcting History)

This is the honest truth about how certain “Fraudulent Individuals” and “Crooks” or “Imposters”, who will not remain nameless, deliberately and intentionally changed the history of my great, great, great grandfather William Kimber Henninger (Pioneer) and the history of my great, great, great grandmother Teresa (Serrano) Henninger (Indian).  These “Fraudulent Individuals” and “Crooks” or “Imposters” who are named Robert Ferman Dorame, Angie (Dorame) Behrns and Paul H. Rippens, conspired to change the history of William Kimber Henninger, the original owner of the “Henninger Flats” in the San Gabriel Mountains and his Native American Indian wife, Teresa (Serrano) Henninger.  Robert Ferman Dorame is the (Tribal Chairman Gabrielino “Tongva” Indians Of California) and his twisted sister Angie (Dorame) Behrns is the (President Gabrielino “Tongva” Springs Foundation).  Paul H. Rippens is the unprofessional illegitimate author of the book titled “Heninger Flats.”

     In 2009, I was told by family friend and relative Andrew Teutimez Salas, “Tribal Chairman” of the original and authentic San Gabriel Band Of Mission Indians (Gabrieleno) “Kizh Tribe” that there are some “Fraudulent Individuals” and “Crooks” or “Imposters” named Robert Ferman Dorame and his twisted sister Angie (Dorame) Behrns, who are claiming to be directly related to my family and changing the history of my family the “Henningers” from San Gabriel, California.  After investigating my family history for many months by collecting legal documents and vintage photographs, I found out that he was telling me the truth.  The “Henninger” family history comes from my mother's side of the family, Lucille Marie (Henninger) Aguirre.  The “Henninger” family has been born, baptized, married and buried in the city of San Gabriel, California since 1859.

     The book titled “Heninger Flats” which was written by Paul H. Rippens in 1999, with the help of Robert Ferman Dorame and his twisted sister Angie Dorame Behrns, deliberately and intentionally made false and misleading statements about our “Henninger” family history and the lineage of our Native American Indian Ancestor, Teresa (Serrano) Henninger.  The book titled “Heninger Flats” deliberately and intentionally misspells the name “HENNINGER” incorrectly as the name “HENINGER.”  Our family name has been handed down from William Kimber Henninger, the original owner of the “Henninger Flats” in the San Gabriel Mountains, since the birth of his second born daughter named Louisa Emelia Henninger in 1859.  Our family name has always been spelled accurately and correctly as “HENNINGER” on every legal document which includes birth certificates, baptism certificates, confirmation certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates.  Our family name is only spelled one way and we do not need or want some arrogant egotistical self-centered “Fraudulent Individuals” and “Crooks” or “Imposters” to tell us that we do not know how to spell our own name.  I have personally done some research on the “RIPPENS” name from Paul H. Rippens and have discovered that the name has been spelled several different ways.  It has been spelled Rippens, Rippins, Ripens, and I am sure many others.  Through documents and evidence from descendants of the “RIPENS” family it has been proven that the name is spelled “RIPENS.”  Therefore, I shall spell it that way in the hope that others will change their spellings.

     The book also deliberately and intentionally falsely claims that my Native American Indian Ancestor, Teresa (Serrano) Henninger, was a Gabrielino “Tongva” Indian.  Page 11 specifically states:  “About the same time, according to records of the San Gabriel Mission, Heninger married a California Indian women known only as Teresa.  She lived on the lands of Rancho San Pasqual and was a Gabrielino “Tongva” Indian.  Their first born, Natividad, was baptized at the San Gabriel Mission in December 1858.”  We have original and authentic legal documentation to prove without a “Reasonable Doubt” that our Native American Indian Ancestor, Teresa (Serrano) Henninger, was a “Kumeyaay” San Diego Mission Indian (Diegueno) from Baja, California.  On December 16, 1858, the baptism certificate from the San Gabriel Mission of their first born daughter, Natividad, specifically states that Teresa (Indian) was from Baja, California.  It is not a coincidence that Paul H. Ripens deliberately and intentionally chose to leave this important “Vital Statistic” out of his own book.  The reason that he deliberately and intentionally chose to leave this important “Vital Statistic” out of his own book is because if Teresa (Indian) was from Baja, California she could not possibly be a Gabrielino “Tongva” Indian.  On page 9 of his own book titled “The life of William K. Heninger” Paul H. Ripens copied the entire chapter, word for word, from Grant D. Brown, retired Assistant Head Department Forester of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.  All he did was change one sentence which stated that Teresa (Indian) was from Baja, California and changed it to say that Teresa (Indian) was a Gabrielino “Tongva” Indian.

     My “Henninger” family is registered and enrolled with original and authentic legal documents with the United States Federal Government, Bureau Of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) as “Kumeyaay” San Diego Mission Indian (Diegueno).  William Kimber Henninger and his Native American Indian wife, Teresa (Serrano) Henninger had four daughters together named Natividad, Louisa, Susana and Jesefa.  Anyone who is directly related to “Teresa” and any of her children is without a “Reasonable Doubt” a “Kumeyaay” San Diego Mission Indian (Diegueno).  Anyone who claims that “Teresa” is a Gabrielino “Tongva” Indian is a “Fraudulent Individual” and “Crook” or “Imposter” like Robert Ferman Dorame, Angie (Dorame) Behrns and Paul H. Ripens.  

     The entire “Henninger” family from San Gabriel, California, is willing to “Testify” in any legal “Court Of Law” and is willing to “Persecute” and “Prosecute” in any legal “Court Of Law” any “Fraudulent Individuals” and “Crooks” or “Imposters” who deliberately and intentionally try to change the history of the original and authentic “Henninger” family.  We will not be satisfied or “Rest In Peace” until these “Fraudulent Individuals” and “Crooks” or “Imposters” are “Persecuted” and “Prosecuted” in a legal “Court Of Law” and sentenced to serve hard time in a state or federal penitentiary.  

     This is the reason why my entire “Henninger” family which is over 300 strong, have worked closely with the Los Angeles County Fire Department “Forestry Division” to correct our history that should have never been changed in the first place.  With the help of “Chief” Frank Vidales and Deputy Forester Jose Martinez, we have donated a copy of our book titled:  “William K. Henninger, his Native American Indian Wife, Teresa, And Their Legacy” and some vintage family photographs to the “Henninger Flats” Museum.  We have also donated a bronze plaque that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles County Fire Department “Forestry Division” that now owns and operates “Henninger Flats” in the San Gabriel Mountains.  If anyone wants to visit the “Henninger Flats” Museum located in the San Gabriel Mountains, it is only a three-mile hike that starts at Eaton Canyon Nature Center located in Pasadena, California.  When you get to the front of the museum take a look at the beautiful bronze plaque and ask the “Forestry Division Staff Members” to show you the book and the photographs inside of the museum.  The “Forestry Division Staff Members” are very professional and courteous who will go out of their way to give you some oral history about “Henninger Flats” and also make your visit a pleasant one.  This is how my entire “Henninger” family has made a negative experience of intentional dishonor into a positive experience of intentional honor by correcting our family history with honesty and integrity.  

(James Aguirre)  


Helen Hunt Jackson: NATIVE Rights Activist

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885), activist for Native American rights and author of Southern California’s most enduring historical romance novel Ramona, was born and reared in Amherst , Massachusetts , a schoolmate and friend of the woman who would become Amherst’s most celebrated resident, poet Emily Dickinson. (Born Helen Maria Fiske, Jackson would be twice married: first to U.S. Army Capt. Edward B. Hunt who died in a military accident, then to William S. Jackson, a wealthy banker and railroad executive.)

“As soon as I began, it seemed impossible to write fast enough…I wrote faster than I would write a letter…two thousand to three thousand words in a morning, and I cannot help it.”

— Helen Hunt Jackson describing her writing of “Ramona”

Jackson grew up in a literary environment, and was herself a noted poet and writer of children’s stories, novels, and essays (under the pseudonym H.H.H.), before turning her considerable intellect and energy to investigating and publicizing the mistreatment of Native Americans, especially the Mission Indians of Southern California.

Her interest in the subject began in Boston in 1879 at a lecture by Chief Standing Bear who described the forced removal of the Ponca Indians from their Nebraska reservation. Jackson was incensed by what she heard and began to circulate petitions, raised money, and wrote letters to the New York Times on the Poncas’ behalf. As one observer noted, she became a “holy terror.” (Friends and critics have variously described her as “passionate,” “volatile,” “defiant” and “uncompromising.” Historian Antoinette May said she “lived a life that few women of her day had the courage to live.”) Jackson also began work on a book condemning the government’s Indian policy and its record of broken treaties. When A Century of Dishonor was published in 1881, Jackson sent a copy to every member of Congress with the following admonition printed in red on the cover: “Look upon your hands: they are stained with the blood of your relations.” To her disappointment, the book had little impact.

In need of a rest, Jackson traveled to Southern California to study the area’s missions, a subject that had piqued her interest during an earlier visit. While in Los Angeles , she met Don Antonio Coronel, former mayor of Los Angeles (1853-4), city councilman (1854-66) and State Treasurer (1866-70). Coronel was a well-known authority on early Californio life in Southern California , and also a former inspector of missions for the Mexican government. He described to Jackson the plight of Mission Indians after 1833, when secularization policies led to the sale of mission lands and the dispersal of their residents.

“Many of the original Mexican grants included clauses protecting the Indians on the lands they occupied,” writes Valerie Mathes, author of Helen Hunt Jackson : Official Agent to the California Mission Indians. “When Americans assumed control,” Mathes continues, “they ignored Indian claims to lands, which led to their mass dispossessions. In 1852, there were an estimated 15,000 Mission Indians in Southern California , but because of the adverse impact of dispossessions by Americans, they numbered less than 4,000 by the time of Helen’s visit.”

Don Coronel’s stories galvanized Jackson into action. Soon her efforts on behalf of dispossessed Indians in Southern California came to the attention of the U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Hiram Price, who recommended her appointment as an Interior Department agent. Her assignment was “to visit the Mission Indians in California , and ascertain the location and condition of various bands…and what, if any land, should be purchased for their use.”

With the assistance of Indian agent and entrepreneur Abbot Kinney, Jackson criss-crossed Southern California , documenting the appalling conditions they saw. At one point, she hired a law firm to protect the rights of a family of Saboba Indians facing dispossession of their land at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains . Her 56-page report, completed in 1883, called for a massive government relief effort, ranging from the purchase of new lands for reservations to the establishment of more Indian schools. A bill largely embodying Jackson’s recommendations passed the U.S. Senate but died in the House.

Undaunted by Congress’ rejection, Jackson decided to write a novel that would depict the Indian experience “in a way to move people’s hearts.” She was particularly drawn to the fate of her Indian friends in the Temecula area of Riverside County . The inspiration for her book, Jackson admitted, was Uncle Tom’s Cabin written years earlier by her friend, Harriet Beecher Stowe. “If I can do one hundredth part for the Indian that Mrs. Stowe did for the Negro, I will be thankful,” she told a friend. The result was Ramona, which Jackson began writing in a New York City hotel room in December 1883. Originally titled, “In The Name of the Law,” the book was completed in slightly over three months and published in November 1884. “Every incident in Ramona…is true,” Jackson said later. “A Cahuilla Indian was shot two years ago exactly as Alessandro is “and his wife’s name was Ramona and I never knew this last fact until Ramona was half written!” Later, a local writer, George Wharton James, would lecture and write books linking Ramona to an actual murder. He even recorded the murderer’s voice on an early Edison cylinder phonograph!

Encouraged by the book’s popularity, Jackson planned to write a children’s story on the Indian issue, but died of cancer on August 12, 1885, less than a year after Ramona was published. Her last letter was written to President Grover Cleveland, urging him to read her early work, “A Century of Dishonor.” Jackson told a friend: “My Century of Dishonor and Ramona are the only things I have done of which I am glad…They will live, and…bear fruit.”

Ramona has indeed borne fruit over the years, but in ways unimagined by the author. Writing in “Los Angeles: A to Z,” Leonard and Dale Pitt note: “Although Jackson’s novel, about a part-Indian orphan raised in Spanish society and her Indian husband, achieved almost instant success, it failed to arouse public concern for the treatment of local Native Americans. Instead, readers accepted the sentimentalized Spanish aristocracy that was portrayed, and the Ramona myth was born. Jackson died a year after her novel was published, never knowing the impact her book made on the Southern California heritage. The novel Ramona has inspired films [the first directed by D.W. Griffith], songs [the 1920s hit “Ramona”], and a long-running pageant in Hemet , California. And the name Ramona can be seen on street signs and commercial establishments throughout Southern California.”

Nicolás José (1748-

A San Gabriel Indian, Nicolas Jose was a man of great power and control as well as a good leader. He was among other natives who worked with the Spanish and then turned against them. On September 27, 1774, twenty-six year old Nicolás José was baptized by Father Pablo Joseph de Mugartegui at the San Gabriel Mission. Nicolas was only the third adult male Gabrielino to be baptized at the mission. There are no historical records revealing if Nicolas had exercised any religious or political authority in his home of Sibapet (Hackel 2003).

However, soon after baptism, Nicolas exercised his leadership and power in many ways. He became one of the first Indians to serve as a Gabrielino marriage witness and the only Gabrielino to serve as a godparent for the child of a Baja California Indian.

One remarkable achievement was in 1778-1779; Nicolas was the mission’s first alcalde. However, a turn of events took place when according to Father Serra, Nicolas provided “women to as many soldiers as asked for them” (Hackel 2005: 263). Nicolas was punished, and at this point in time, he stopped working with the Spanish and would soon work against them. According to Hackel, Nicolas’s punishment may have been the reason for him as well as other Indians to plot a rebellion which would take place in 1785 (2005: 263).

It is important to note that although Nicolas was baptized and participated in Catholic sacrament administration at the mission, he did not forget that he was a Gabrielino. He still participated in their dances, celebrations, and rituals. This dual life ended in 1785 when he organized the rebellion.

Micro-historians consider Nicolas a “normal exception” who left a visible trace in the historical records of Native Americans (Hackel 2005: 266). He was one of only a few Indians who led a rebellion in Colonial California against their own mission. The “normality” of the exception refers to the duality of life hat he led. He meshed his life at the mission as well as his Gabrielino identity together.

Nicolas Jose’s role in the rebellion led to his banishment from San Gabriel, and he had to suffer through six years at the presidio of San Francisco doing labor work. Although Nicolas was only trying to protect his own people, his connection to them and the culture they shared was cut off completely through his banishment and separation from his homeland.

Steven W. Hackel, “Sources of Rebellion: Indian Testimony and the Mission San Gabriel Uprising of 1785,” The American Society of Ethnohistory, 2003.

Steven W. Hackel, Children of Coyote, Missionaries of St. Francis, The University of North Carolina Press, 2005.--Francesca Vaccaro, June 2006The Kizh/Gabrieleño band of mission Indians are one of two tribes recognized by the State of California but not federally recognized by the United States.  They are currently actively pursuing the goal.

First published in 1886, Ramona was Helen Hunt Jackson’s attempt to write the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of California mission Indians.  Set in early-nineteenth century California, the novel’s plot involved the illfated love between a half-Indian, half-Scottish Indian woman, Ramona, and a full-blooded Indian, Allesandro.  Helen Hunt Jackson researched in California and, learning of Victoria and Hugo’s marriage, incorporated them into her novel.  Victoria was never named in the novel, but it was her historical reality that allowed Ramona to be born in fiction.  On December 23, 1868, Victoria Reid the former senora, died like many other California Native Americans, ignored and destitute.

(FOX 11) There is a new round of outrage in California concerning sainthood for Junipero Serra. It was touched off earlier this month when Pope Francis announced that when he visits the United States in September, the Franciscan missionary will be canonized. In 1988, Pope John Paul II was criticized for the beatification of Serra.

Serra first visited the area that would become Los Angeles in 1769 while he was scouting sites for the missions that would be built in California. Later, Serra took charge of the first nine of the 21 missions built in California.

Many Native American accuse Serra of destroying the culture of nearly every tribe he encountered. He is often characterized as a genocidal slave master who punished any tribe that tried to preserve its culture instead of converting to Christianity.

Today's guests are Tim Poyorena-Miguel, a member of the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians Kizh Nation and Steven Hackel, from the History Department at the University of California Riverside.

Also included in today's program are excerpts from a column about Serra written recently by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez for the online edition of The Tidings. The column is available in its entirety


America's next saint, St. Junípero Serra

  Dr. Steven Hackel

  History department of University of

  California, Riverside

Chief Salas is the gggrandchild of Nicolas Jose who was a man of great power and had an important part in the rebellion at mission San Gabriel.

Tony Valdez





Along with orders by the Trump administration that can jeopardize the future of at least two dozen national monuments, a small reprieve has been given to those who are fighting to preserve nature: the Native American Heritage Commission has officially recognized the San Gabriel Mountains as sacred land.

The mountains, which were designated as a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2014 and one of the monuments currently under review, are intertwined with the origin story and history of the Kizh tribe. Also known as Gabrieleños after the San Gabriel Mission was built by the Spanish, part of their expansive territory that is being honored includes the San Gabriel Mountains, and burial sites can be expected in the area, according to the application submitted to the NAHC.

“This is very welcomed news,” said Gary Stickel, who is tribal archeologist to the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians/Kizh Nation. “We’re going to use that to help [protect the land].”

Stickel has a PhD from UCLA and taught there before retiring. The status was granted in March, but the NAHC didn’t notify the tribe until about three weeks ago.

The biggest sacred find in the mountains was the presence of To-tah́ yo-o-ēt, or Big Rock, a boulder with pictographs painted on the sides and a ridged hole on top in what is believed to be the shape of a cogstone or sunstone in honor of the sun deity, Tamit. The pictographs include zig-zag lines that represent the mountains and rows of dashes that could represent the pine trees that the ancient Kizh believed were their living ancestors, as well as handprints. The boulder is believed to have been used for ceremonies.

Although the mountains are now officially recognized as sacred on top of being a national monument, it doesn’t really grant any additional protections, Stickel said.

On April 26, President Donald Trump signed an executive order in which Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will review monuments that are over 100,000 acres, including after expansion, or designations or expansions that are determined by Zinke to have been made without “adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders,” according to the executive order.

The executive order also states that designations should “appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.”

Six of the monuments under review are in California, including the San Gabriel Mountains, and they’re in danger of losing the protections the status has granted them.

“It’s giving us some argument, but still, us as a state-recognized tribe, we have very few rights on our side to protect our resources,” said Christina Swindall-Martinez, secretary for the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians/Kizh Nation. “Sometimes, no matter how much we fight, developers and governments win.”


Toypurina: the Joan of Arc of California

"Be brave and fight."--Toypurina

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting with the chief and other members of the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians, Kizh Nation, which is the tribe who first inhabited the areas of Los Angeles and North Orange County.  When I tell people I met the local tribe, the most common reaction is, "There's a local tribe?"  This is not a historical accident.  The story of the Kizh people has been one of tragedy after tragedy, and their history has been largely suppressed or distorted.  When I met the members of Kizh nation, they told me their tribal history, and I picked up a relatively new book they published called Toypurina: the Joan of Arc of California.  The book tells the little-known history of a Kizh woman named Toypurina who, in 1785, led her people in a revolt against their Spanish oppressors.  She is a folk hero to the Kizh people and, according to the book, "She is the only Native American woman to have initiated, organized, and led a revolt against foreign oppression in all American history.  She is outstanding and unique in Native American history and therefore, in American history as well."

Here's a brief summary of Toypurina's story, taken from the book:

"In 1785, she was approached by a neophyte (baptized captive) Nicolas Jose at Mission San Gabriel.  He was reacting to the conduct of the Spanish not only to his own situation, but also to the atrocities (murders, whippings, rapes, forced religious converstions, and slave labor) that had been committed against the Gabrlielenos from the beginning the Spanish invasion until that point.  Toypurina, age 25, accepted the challenge and initiated, organized, and carried out a revolt utilizing an armed force of Indian warriors.  On the night of October 25th, 1785, Toypurina led her force and attacked the mission.  But because a corporal of the guard had been informed of the revolt ahead of time, the Spanish mounted an ambush.  When Toypurina arrived, she and some of her warriors were arrested.  She was then subjected to a sham trial at the mission where no less than the governor of Alta California, Pedro Fages, sat in judgement.  As punishments, she was exiled, baptized into Christianity, forced to divorce her Native husband and remarry a Spanish soldier and then eventually was buried at Mission San Juan Bautista."

Though the revolt was unsuccessful, it stands as inspiring testament to the spirit of the Gabrielenos, and their resistance to oppression.  The authors of the book compare her to Joan of Arc because "Both were religious leaders of their people, both organized revolts against invading foreign powers, both led rebel forcers in the field, both were betrayed, both were subjected to sham trials, and both sufferend tragic ends."

The authors also compare Toypurina to other, more well-known female American heroes like Betsy Ross, Abigail Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Coretta Scott King because "the common threads of all Ameicans are our love of freedom and our 'American Dream' to provide the best, both spiritual and material, for our families and for our children's future...Toypurina rose to the occasion.  She wanted to right the wrongs done to her people and to her land."

The book serves as not only a biography of Toypurina's life, but also as a kind of tribal history written, not from the perspective of outsiders, but by the tribe itself.  The authors (which includes the chief) write at the outset: "With this work, we, the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians, are writing a new kind of history for us--our own history.  It is a humanistic history rather than a cold, dispassionate typical study."

Because Toypurina has been so grossly misrepresented even by scholars, much of the work of the book Toypurina is deconstructing false histories (which abound for Native Americans) and trying to reconstruct the real history, based both on scholarly study and tribal oral history.  It is a unique book in this way.  It is deeply self-conscious of the problems inherent in trying to reconstruct the past, and this is something more historians ought to wrestle with, especially when dealing with histories that have existed only on the margins of "official" history.  It is a lovely, thought-provoking, and inspiring book that serves as a model of a how a group of people can, through research and storytelling, assert their identity and self-worth.

As the authors rightly note in the introduction: "Sometimes, in order to right the wrongs of the past, it is necessary to write the wrongs of the past."

from the internet blog of jesse la tour




Kuruuvanga Springs is a natural springs near University High school in west Los Angeles. It was originally given to the Gabrieleño Indians.  The key to the Springs property was given to Chief Ernie Salas of the Kizh Gabrieleno Indians but after he received the key he was kicked out by a group that said that they were the rightful tribe.  Chief Ernie was used to qualify to the IRS for the 501c3 non profit status that requires you to be native American.  Since the impostor group is not native they needed Cheif Ernie but after the property was given to the Chief it was just as quickly taken away by the fraudulent group.  Today the Springs is still being run by impostors, Angie Dorame, non native American claiming to be native. (Her genealogy can be found on the IMPOSTOR tab)  As many times as the IRS was alerted to this fraud, still nothing was done to correct it.

You can still see many fraudulent wrongs the Kizh Gabrielenos face by googling on the internet Gabrieleño Indians and see the many misleading terms such as Tongva.  The word Tongva does not exist and if you take the time to research the term you will find that it came about only as far back as 1993 and hardly old enough to be authentic.

The term Tongva was never voted on but much rather forced on the tribe by another impostor Cindi Alvitre (woman next to Chief Ernie in photo).  Many of these impostors around the 1990s who at the time claimed they wanted to help the tribe with Federal Recognition manipulated and conqured once again the true Native decendants of the Los Angeles basin, just as their Spanish European grandfathers did in the 1770s for their own lust.  This particular picture is a good example of how Chief Ernie P. Salas was used to receive the key to the Springs then expelled by the impostors who are still there.

Today the Kizh Gabrieleno tribe is still being run by Chief Ernie and his son, Chairman Andy Salas and are on the  verge of taking their rightful place in history as the true Federally recognized tribe of the Los Angeles basin.

©Andy Salas


Andy Salas ©

Andy Salas ©


President Barack Obama signed the Native American Apology Resolution into law on Saturday, December 19, 2009.    The Apology Resolution was included as Section 8113 in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 3326, Public Law No. 111-118.   The Apology Resolution had originally been  sponsored  in the Senate by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) as S.J. Res. 14.    A companion measure, H.J. Res. 46, was also been introduced in the House by Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK) earlier this year.    Senator Brownback successfully added the Apology Resolution to the Defense Appropriations Act as an amendment on the Senate floor on October 1, 2009. Senator Brownback said that he introduced the measure  “ to officially apologize for the past ill-conceived policies by the US Government toward the Native Peoples of this land and re-affirm our commitment toward healing our nation ’ s wounds and working toward establishing better relationships rooted in reconciliation. ” The Apology Resolution states that the United States,  “ apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States. ” The Apology Resolution also  “ urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land. ” The Apology Resolution comes with a disclaimer that nothing in the Resolution authorizes or supports any legal claims against the United States and that the Resolution does not settle any claims against the United States. The Apology Resolution does not include the lengthy Preamble that was part of S.J Res. 14 introduced earlier this year by Senator Brownback.    The Preamble recites the history of U.S.  –  tribal relations including the assistance provided to the settlers by Native Americans, the killing of Indian women and children, the Trail of Tears, the Long Walk, the Sand Creek Massacre, and Wounded Knee, the theft of tribal lands and resources, the breaking of treaties, and the removal of Indian children to boarding schools.

President Obama signs apology resolution



Sainthood for Serra

By Tony Valdez

Andy Salas ©


Gabrielenos who owned land in California


Prospero Dominguez, Manuel Antonio Perez , were Gabrieleno’s who recieved or owned land.

Prospero built a home by a creek and a hollow of sycamores just north of the mission near the old grist mill in present-day San Marino, according to Mexican land grant records. He raised livestock, tilled the land and planted a garden, some fruit trees and a vineyard on 23 acres that would later be deeded to him by the Mexican government--one of eight small grants given to the Indians of San Gabriel in the 1840s.

Victoria (Bartolomea) Reid, Gabrieleno, San Gabriel (ca 1808- 1868)

Victoria Bartolomea was a prestigious and powerful member of the Gabrieleno town “Comicrabit "on the outskirts of the pueblo of Los Angeles. Growing up in the San Gabriel Mission, Dona Eulalia Perez took Victoria under her wing and taught her the manners and traditions of a “fine Spanish Lady” (Hugo Reid Adobe). She married an Indian man, Pablo Maria and had four children with him. Hugo was immediately attracted to her and quickly went to the mission upon Pablo’s death in 1837. Being the daughter of the leader of the tribe, also known as the tomyaar, not only did she have power within the tribe but upon her marriage to the Scottish traveler Hugo Reid she gained indirect power within the European realm as well (McCawley 1996: 21).

Hugo Reid wrote a series of letters to the Los Angeles Star Newspaper about the Gabrielenos and boldly stated that the mission Indians were not well. He documented their customs and highlighted their sufferings. It is assumed that his information about their way of life came directly from Victoria Reid and her family.

Unfortunately there is not much written about Victoria as a powerful Indian woman. Although her legacy works against not one, but two social barriers in history (being an Indian and a woman) one must imagine the influence she had at the time. Women in her tribe must have revered her and Hugo and his accomplices probably used her for much of their information.

Not only was she affluent in society but she also was the owner of 128 acres of a pear orchard (granted to her after the secularization of the mission) as well as the Rancho Santa Anita present day Arcadia CA. When she married Hugo, he inherited the rancho but she kept the orchard in her name (McCawley 204). After Hugo’s death Victoria remained in their adobe home named Una Spina until it crumbled in an earthquake in 1855. She lived the rest of her life at the San Gabriel Mission and was buried there in 1868 after her death caused by smallpox (Hugo Reid Adobe).

Her legacy remains undaunted, her charm and intellect still resounds in the few histories written about her. She crossed boundaries when she married a white man; even Reid’s acquaintances did not accept her at first but she soon won them over with her charm and beauty.



So, what makes you think you’re a California Indian? A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood[1] [CDIB] issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA], a federal agency, a branch of the Department of the Interior [DOI]? Think again.

In the case of these certificates, an official government stamp, letterhead, and signature are no guarantee of accuracy. Another federal branch of the DOI – the Office of Federal Acknowledgment [OFA] – will not accept these certificates as solitary proof of Indian descent, and for good cause. Unless there is sufficient evidence to back up the claims made on these certificates, they are worthless paper.

My purpose in writing this paper is not to cause injury but to prevent it. It is far better to serve the needs of the whole than it is to serve the ego of the few who will no doubt find fault with having the truth revealed. But, rather than cater to the latter, I intend to educate individuals, tribes, prospective investors, and the general public on this matter. Let those who can embrace the truth do so.

Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news. But, being an ethical genealogist requires me to tell it like it is. I had to inform one of my clients she was not the Native American Indian she thought she was. Her reaction was somewhat sullen. But, then she quickly snapped out of it and said, “Give me a couple of weeks to get over it. Then tell me who I really am.” If only all my experiences could have been that simple. When I had to be the bearer of bad news to hundreds of people who believed throughout their lifetimes they belonged to a certain Indian tribe, the emotional costs were far greater. 

An Historic TimeLine

As a certified genealogist having worked with many Indian tribes – federally acknowledged and unacknowledged – my experience compelled me to share what I have learned about CDIB’s. But as I edited this paper, it seemed necessary to add a timeline of events. This list is, by no means, a comprehensive list of all events related to the California Indians but it includes the basic elements which contributed to the revelation of inaccuracies in the 1928 CIJA database: 

·                                 1851 – Treaties made with California Indians, Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaties (never ratified)

·                                 1928 – The year Congress passed the California Indian Judgment Act to pay for the undelivered lands (as promised in the treaty) to California Indian descendants

·                                 1933 – The year the Bureau of Indians Affairs completed their first Roll for California Indians

·                                 1948/55 – The period during which the second CIJA enrollment occurred

·                                 1969/72 – The period during which the third CIJA enrollment occurred

·                                 1978  The year Congress passed the federal acknowledgment process (known as 25 CFR 83)

The Golden Carrot – The Impetus

In 1978, Congress passed legislation known as the federal acknowledgment process for Indian tribes. [25 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] – Part 83] The purpose of this legislation was to “establish a departmental procedure and policy for acknowledging that certain American Indian groups exist as tribes.”[2] If a tribe could pass all seven criteria, it could then enjoy the status of being federally recognized and all that comes with being a sovereign nation.

Since the passage of the federal acknowledgment bill, over three hundred groups have notified the United States Department of the Interior of their intent to petition for federal acknowledgement as an Indian tribe. Of those, 74 letters of intent were from California groups.

Tribal reorganization became a flurry. The regulations demanded each group to prove seven criteria—one of which is proof of descent from a historic tribe.[3] The approach to meeting this criterion varied from group to group. Some groups buckled down, did the research, and collected the hard evidence for every single tribal member and claimed ancestor. And, without question, some foolishly relied on paperwork from the Bureau of Indians Affairs (BIA), as a final authority. Why was it foolish? Because this authority was based on an imperfect collection of data—the 1928 California Indian Jurisdictional Act [CIJA] database.

The 1928 California CIJA Database – The Faulty Foundation

About 50 years previous to the passage of 25 CFR 83, California Indians had a unique experience which ultimately led to the creation of a massive database which is controlled by the BIA. The legislation that created it was the California Indian Jurisdictional Act of May 18, 1928. This act was the beginning of the triple enrollment process wherein people, who thought they were descendants of California Indians in 1852, signed up to become litigants in the lawsuit against the government for the undelivered land that was promised to them through the unratified treaties of Guadalupe Hildalgo of 1851. This enrollment process involved contacting all possible California Indian descendants and having them fill out a five-page questionnaire, which was then submitted to review for approval by BIA staff. By 1933, the data from over 11,000 applications was extracted and compiled into several indices, which serves as a database, in the least modern sense.[4] Also, a “roll” or list was also developed, in 1933, which listed the names of all persons who applied and were accepted.[5]

In those days, genealogy was not practiced as the scientific discipline it is today. But, Agent Fred Baker, who was assigned to this massive undertaking of enrolling California Indian descendants, needed something more objective than self-identification. Rather than using paper proof, which was not readily available, identification was handled through an affidavit process. Once an application was completed, two persons were required to sign a sworn affidavit that confirmed the applicant was who he claimed to be. Sometimes, there was a committee of elderly Native American Indians assembled expressly for this purpose, or relatives and friends.[6] Frequently, the affiant was the local sheriff or someone from outside the Indian community from which the person claimed he/she was from. Yet, even with such precautions, other extant factors set up the process to fail.

Those applicants who could read and write filled out their own applications. But, many persons could not read or write as was evidenced by the presence of thumbprints instead of signatures. They needed help in filling out their applications. Though some applications were typed, Agent Baker’s unmistakable handwriting appears on many of those applications. It is nearly impossible to tell where specific information came from. And, it is not unusual to see repeats of specific information on the applications of siblings bearing Agent Baker’s handwriting.  

Some of the questions were very taxing. The applicants were asked to identify ancestors who were alive and living in 1852 and where they were living at that time, nearly 80 years after the fact. They were asked to state where their parents were born and where they married. They were asked to provide the names of their grandparents and their degree of Indian blood. People did not live as long as they do now. So, it is not surprising the applicant had no knowledge of their grandparents or provided misinformation about them.

At other times, the applicant did not even know his/her own date of birth. For many, just a birth year was given. For some, an exact birth date including a day, month, and year was entered that differs greatly from the true birth date when compared to a baptism or birth record. One has to ask – Was Agent Baker making assumptions or were the applicants encouraged to pick a date – any date – according to how old he/she looked?

One of the questions asked was “to what tribe or band of Indians of California do you belong?” For those Indians who were part of the California mission system, most often the name of a mission was entered rather than the name of a tribe. There are exceptions, of course, but this is true for the majority of applicants who were part of the California Mission system. One has to question if the answer was truly the applicant’s claim or the result of Agent Baker making an assumption because of where the applicant lived or his/her birthplace.

Lastly, the affiant was not always a credible witness. Some were too young to have witnessed the facts as claimed by the applicant. And, persons who were outside of the Indian community were not likely to have personal knowledge of Indian parentage. In that case, it is more likely the affiant was swearing to the character of the applicant rather than having personal knowledge of the facts as stated. Even if an applicant was viewed as an Indian by such an outsider, this external identification was simply no substitute for the hard evidence which proves, or disproves, the claim. When enough doubt existed, even Agent Baker, who never met these people before, made comments to support the applicant’s claim, such as “has the appearance of a half-blood Indian.”

After finding the evidence that disproves or corrects such an application, I have been asked, “Do you mean to say my ancestor lied?” The answer is almost always, “No. They probably just didn’t know and did the best they could.” In the end, one never knows for sure, without independent verification, just how much help each applicant was given. Thus, this is why the application of evidentiary evaluation is essential in using these applications at all, especially for genealogy.

With all of these flaws, it is a wonder the truth was preserved at all. I have no doubt that Agent Baker did his best to collect this information. But, in the end, the data-collection system was too flawed to ensure reliability in every aspect. Unfortunately though, this was only the beginning of a very large problem.

The Amended Database – Perpetuating the Problem

A house is only as sturdy as its foundation. Adding to the extant database compounded the problem. The second (1948-1955) and third (1969-1972) “enrollment”[7] processes generated more thousands of applications most linking, in some way, to the original “roll” generated in 1933. Although some links were disputed, far too many went unquestioned leaving the original mistake uncorrected and compounded by additional claims.

Within the generation of second and third “enrollment” papers, the BIA categorized the applicants by claimed tribal affiliations. They used terms taken from anthropological reports, i.e., Costanoan instead of Ohlone, Rumsen, Esselen, Mutsun which are sub-groups of the larger Costanoan group. Meanwhile, the terms taken from the missions became more popularized, i.e. Clareño (Mission Santa Clara), Juaneño (Mission San Juan Capistrano), Carmeleños (Mission San Carlos de Carmelo Borromeo), etc. [These terms were found within the scripts and notes taken by linguist John Peabody Harrington, and anthropologists, C. Hart Merriam, Alfred Kroeber.]

Such broad categories were not satisfying to the younger generations. Some individuals researched their ancestry and their tribal histories in search of a more accurate description. Some people, who applied in the 1972 CIJA process, used the words Esselen and Rumsen to describe their tribal affiliation whereas their ancestors’ tribal affiliation, in 1930, was simply stated as “Mission Carmel.” Yet, in the paperwork generated by the BIA, their tribal affiliation was categorized as Costanoan. This tribal affiliation, by the BIA, just complicated the matter further.

Lastly, the BIA staff made comparisons to the answers to the blood-degree questions and often made reductions, which eventually replaced the original data collected from the 1928 CIJA applications.

The Certificates of Degree of Indian Blood

Tribal enrollment is a separate process from the enrollment in the 1928 CIJA process. Although some mistakenly think the 1928 CIJA application is proof of tribal enrollment, the federal government, and tribes alike, know differently. It was a lawsuit, not tribal enrollment. But, because tribal enrollment usually required some sort of evidence, some groups allowed the BIA to make a confirmation of Indian blood and tribal affiliation rather than relying on hard genealogical evidence. This reliance created a great demand for CDIB’s. The only basis for the data on these certificates was the same data collected from the 1928 CIJA and subsequent enrollments which has had disastrous effects.

First, the blood-quantum or blood-degree data is not reliable. Many people claimed to have more Indian blood than they could legitimately claim. Some did not know that some ancestors were actually Indian and claimed “none.” And, from comparison of the genealogical charts contained in the 1972 CIJA files and the original indices created in 1933, blood-quantum data was corrected. If the applications in a family member’s 1928 CIJA application indicated an ancestor was not Indian but another sibling indicated that the ancestor was Indian, the differences were re-calculated and corrected on the rolls – usually to the negative. But, if the data provided by the whole family was in agreement, the recorded blood-quantum stayed the same. It is only through independent verification and the application of the genealogical proof standards that one can be sure of the blood quantum at all. Yet, the certificate always contains blood-quantum information, whether or not it has been proven.

Secondly, the tribal name, as recorded in the 1928 CIJA database, may or may not be accurate. But, on nearly every certificate, the BIA will provide a tribal name based on the final decision that created the 1933 roll. Although a person may have been baptized at a specific mission, it did not mean they were part of the original Indian population for that mission. During the mission period, California experienced a population explosion of non-aboriginal people – Spaniards, English, French, Portuguese, Mexican (yes, some were Mexican Indian), and then some. As new pueblos were created with these new non-aboriginal populations, their children, and grandchildren, were baptized at the local missions. But, having been baptized there did not change their ethnicity.

There is no doubt that some CDIB’s may be accurate but there are far too many that are not. Unless they are backed by reliable genealogical evidence, none of the facts can be taken as legitimate or proven. So, by itself, a CDIB is a worthless piece of paper and a glaring symbol of the federal government’s failure to track its own mistakes or to verify the facts given to them.

During the second CIJA enrollment process, particularly in Southern California, it became evident some non-Indian persons were approved for the 1933 CIJA Roll. The DOI’s Commissioner D. Myer heard that many Mexicans enrolled as Indians, but they would not take their names off of the list without proof they were illegally enrolled.[8]

 We have been told that many Mexicans enrolled as Indians in 1928 but we cannot remove their names at this time without proof of the fact that they were illegally enrolled…”

Commissioner Myer further threatened to charge these illegal applicants with fraud but there was no federal action to rectify or investigate the complaints. Instead, the list was left to stand, unchallenged and unquestioned, until now – now that some tribes are trying to use this same data to prove their case for genealogy. And, the proof is far more easily retrievable than it was back in 1933.

By 1933, over 11,000 applications were submitted, reviewed, and either approved or disapproved. The BIA staff literally took the word of as many witnesses as gospel. This was their first mistake. But, as time progressed and the CIJA enrollment process twice revived, the BIA did little to verify the people who received their monies in 1950 and 1972 were really California Indians. All anyone had to do was to prove their relationship to someone on the 1933 approved roll. Thus, the original mistake was perpetuated and compounded.

If a tribe tries to use CDIB’s or any of the CIJA paperwork as proof of an Indian ethnicity, the OFA tells them this paperwork is worthless without reliable evidence to back up the claim. This arm of the federal government – OFA – knows this database is faulty, and yet, the BIA – another arm of the federal government – still treats it as the final authority and uses it to issue more certificates.

In a wholly different Native American Indian venue, these CDIB’s are causing other problems. The Native American Heritage Commission [NAHC] is a California State agency created to preserve and protect Native American human remains and associated grave goods. The NAHC also issues an application that does not ask for proof unless there is a need to clarify tribal affiliation for repatriation. These CDIB’s still remain a thorn in the process because sometimes that is all there is between a real Indian and an outright fraud.

The NAHC has welcomed independent reports with supportive evidence but it’s a huge undertaking to have that kind of research done for every case they handle. They don’t have the funding or the staff. In the same way, the BIA didn’t have the means to conduct an independent verification of all of those applications back in 1933. But those reasons do not expunge the ramifications of using faulty evidence. They only compound the problems that tribes are encountering today.

Another mistake tribes, and individuals, make is basing tribal membership or tribal affiliation using an unverified and erroneous genealogy. In some cases, the faulty 1928 CIJA database is to blame. But, in other cases, it’s a matter of not doing the genealogical homework. There is no substitute for real evidence or for applying sound evidentiary principles.

Oral history is indeed a treasured resource but it, too, can be abused if not put to an objective test. Generally, there is other evidence that will either validate oral history or refute it. Oral history is sometimes the result of hearsay and not an eye-witness testimony. Therefore, every effort must be made to ensure the oral history is not a hoax or the figment of someone’s desperate imagination.

Then, there’s see-say – seeing what was written on a 1928 CIJA application and believing it to be true with no evidence to support it. It is this latter phenomenon that lies at the root of much of the heartache I witnessed with the non-Indian families formerly associated with the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians.

The Heartbreak

While most of the compiled CIJA data may be accurate, too much of it is not. All it takes is one wrong link, and the ramifications are nearly endless. The 1928 CIJA database can be and has been misleading. Being misled feels like someone has lied to you. It may have been an honest mistake. But finding out one’s tribe was another tribe entirely or that one was not a California Indian at all, after a lifetime of believing, is not an easy reality to face.

My work with one California group resulted in the discovery over half the tribal membership did not descend from the tribe they claimed.[9] I continually updated the tribal chair, and tribal council, of my findings and cautioned them about possible repercussions should they submit the flawed genealogy for federal recognition. The chair’s words to me were, “If they told me they were [name of the tribe], then I believe them.” 

My response to her was, “Federal recognition does not afford you the luxury of denial.” Despite my warnings, that tribal chair insisted I process as many applications as possible – whether or not the proof indicated the tribal members were Indian from the claimed tribal affiliation. As suspected, the tribe failed to meet the genealogical criteria in a very large way.[10] The aftermath will be felt for years to come.

For those tribes that can pass the rigorous process of federal recognition, the benefits can be powerful – protection, services, benefits, and tribal sovereignty. But, for those who cannot because the evidence demonstrates otherwise, the struggle and reality is heart-breaking, particularly for individuals who find out they are not whom they thought they were. And, the disappointment is great especially if they have made the hard sacrifices that are usually made to pursue federal recognition as an Indian tribe.

When the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians (petitioner 84A) first applied for federal acknowledgment in 2005, their tribal rolls contained the names of several hundred non-Indians or Indians from another tribe or band.[11] The tribal leaders, as led by Chairman Anthony Rivera, then recalibrated their membership according to real evidence. The names of several hundred persons were taken off of the tribal rolls.

Yes, to be sure, there were those who had done their research and already knew the grim truth before I told it to them; but those were far and few between. I met with those families who were taken off the rolls, some more than once. I showed them the evidence and the genealogy. I encouraged them to continue researching, embrace their real heritage and to be excited about learning the truth about their ancestors. For some, that was enough.

For others, it was a very large, bitter pill to swallow. Many, of these persons, spent more than 20 or 30 years believing they were Juaneño; some, their entire lifetimes. They worked endless hours and sacrificed unselfishly in this belief, to pursue federal recognition. Since the submission of the first tribal petition, these people set their hopes on succeeding as being a part of something special only to find out they did not possess the birthright. This disappointment shattered their sense of identity. And, there is no amount of evidence that can mend the broken friendships forged through thousands of hours of volunteer service.

Why Create an Accurate Database?

One by one, each 1928 CIJA application can be scrutinized and compared to other evidence. One by one, each lineage can be verified one way or the other. It takes diligent research and application of reasonable and objective evidentiary principles. To research 11,000 applications is a daunting project, to say the least, but not an impossible one. But, should it be done? Yes, it should be done. And here’s why – To develop an accurate database would save a whole lot of heartache for a whole lot of people. For tribes who fail the federal acknowledgment process the first time, it would save precious time and resources. (Having just one chance left in the final determination stage does not leave much time to get at the real evidence.)

There are those people who “knew” they were Indian but never knew what tribe their ancestors were from. For some, laying eyes on the original 1928 CIJA application was the first clue (see-say). For others, it was the CDIB (based on the CIJA data). Upon learning the name of the tribe, the excitement of joining the modern tribe seemed to put all else to the wayside – namely, doing the homework to verify the facts presented by the CDIB. After all, if the government says they are Indian, who are they to argue? Somebody in their family got money for being a California Indian. So, why would the government make a mistake like that? This paperwork was a ticket to tribal membership, to an Indian-preferred job, to special education and training, or the right to have a say-so in what happens to Indian burial remains and grave goods. But some of these people had no history with the tribal community or they misunderstood the historical association.

For those who found they were not Indian, it was a double whammy. Not only were they not part of any tribe, they had to consider the possibility their relatives may have been party to deliberate fraud. Neither experience is pleasant to endure or witness.

For some who were Indian, their ties with the tribal community may have been unhitched so long ago that their descendancy alone is not enough to qualify as being part of the modern tribe. This is one part of the federal acknowledgment process that people find hard to accept. But, historic community is an essential criterion each tribe has to prove. And, if there are a great number of Johnny-Come-Lately’s, it can hurt their case tremendously. As well, federally recognized tribes are making decisions to deny new enrollment applications and to sever long-standing memberships based on the lack of historic community association.[12]  Such enrollment decisions are decried, in newspapers and tribal entities all over California, as unfair or a violation of civil rights. But, every sovereign tribe has the right to determine its membership. That is just the way it is. And, no CDIB can make a difference – accurate or not.

Then there are those Indians who knew their tribe and their ancestors. Tribal identity was never a lost fact because the tribal community never ceased to be. For federally unacknowledged tribes, the CDIB’s of non-Indians, or Indians from different tribes, is problematic. It interferes with tribal repatriation rights; in fact, it usurps their rights unless they go to the trouble and expense of doing the genealogical homework. And, even then, such a report is not assured to undo what one faulty CDIB has already done.[13] If the information in these CDIB’s were actually verified, numerous conflicts could have been prevented and many more can be.

Then there are the investor groups who want to help Indian tribes get their recognition. Too many investors dive in without knowing the facts. If the homework is not done, it is possible to sell the investor a bill of goods that will not deliver as expected. Then for those who trusted the investor, the decision to invest becomes a liability all the way around. Surviving this present economy is tough enough but the only way to hedge a sure bet is to pay to have the genealogical homework done first; then, and only then, make the decision to fully invest in a tribe. Or, at the very least, the investment should get the genealogy done first. The rest is so much easier after being sure all members are Indian and from the same tribe.

Aside from protecting tribal interests, there is the individual Indian who needs his/her rights protected as well. He/she has the right to participate in repatriation, higher education opportunities, or Native American Indian preferred employment. With an accurate genealogical database which verifies and corrects the 1928 CIJA database, these rights can be protected.

How to Create the Database

Now building such a database is not particularly difficult to do, it is just vastly time consuming though it does require a rigorous application of genealogical proof standards. It is not just a matter of entering details from the 1928 CIJA applications into a database (which needs to be done separately) and making comparisons. It would also involve doing research in mission and census records and extracts, and existent (and fairly reliable) compilations. Only after a reasonable research and evidentiary evaluation effort is made, the lineage would then be entered into a genealogical database along with citations and pertinent geographical data.

Because the project is so vastly time consuming, one has to consider time spent doing volunteer work against earning a living. The need is great but the means are meager. But if funding were available, with the help of knowledgeable genealogists and capable researchers, this work could possibly be done within five years.

Is there a way to recoup such an investment? Publishing such a database is not particularly conducive to retrieving an investment this large. Too many entities will take such work and then re-sell it as “used” cutting off royalties due to the author. There is always the possibility of charging for a subscription service (to the database on the internet) or for formal written reports to individuals, various agencies, or investor groups. Needless to say, this part has not been worked out but I’m certainly open to possibilities.

Who would have access? Ah, good question. Considering the information that will be gathered is over 70 years old, the data is all a matter of public domain. The compilation of it should be as well. After all is said and done, it would be a public service created to benefit everyone, but especially California Native American Indians.

It is always best to get at the truth, or at least, to come as close as possible. This way, the foundation upon which identity is built will be laid on firm ground. And, that is a respectable legacy to have and to leave to one’s children.

[1] Also known as Statements of Degree of Indian Blood.

[2] 25 CFR part 83.2

[3] 25 CFR part 83.7(e)

[4] The database is not being referred to here as an electronic database but a paper database.

[5] Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, 1928 California Indian Judgment Index; NARA-microfilm I-31; National Archives – Pacific Sierra Region and Laguna Niguel.

[6] National Archives – Pacific Region Catalog, Finding Aid RG 75 BIA CA Vol. 3, page 55; “In many cases a committee of elderly native Americans acted as witnesses to the authenticity of claims and to the fact of claimants being recognized as persons of California Indian descent.”

[7] The use of quotes around the word – enrollment – is deliberate. The term is misleading in that, while it seems to represent tribal enrollment, it was only the means to sign up as a litigant in a lawsuit. Many people, even today, who participated in this “enrollment” process, erroneously believe they are enrolled with a tribe.

[8] Letter from DOI Commissioner D. S. Myer to Mr. Norman M. Little, dated 14 May 1951, p. 2; 4 pages, photocopy in possession of Juaneño Tribe of Mission Indians, petitioner 84A, 31411-A La Matanza Street, San Juan Capistrano, California 92675.

[9] Ethical concerns preclude me from identifying this tribe.

[10] Proposed Finding against the Juañeno Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation (Petitioner #84B), dated 23 November 2007.

[11] Proposed Finding against the Juañeno Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation (Petitioner #84A), dated 23 November 2007.

[12] Marc Cooper, “Tribal Flush: Pechanga People ‘Disenrolled’ en Masse,” LA Weekly News, 3 January 2008; http://www.laweekly.com/2008-01-03/news/tribal-flush-pechanga-people-disenrolled-en-masse/.

[13] Matt Coker, “Anthony Rivera’s Juaneño Indian Tribal Council Says Chief David Belardes Is No Juaneño,” OC Weekly, 19 February 2009; http://www.ocweekly.com/2009-02-19/news/anthony-rivera-david-belardes-juaneno/.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of

Indigenous Peoples

Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007    

The General Assembly,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and good faith in the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by States in accordance with the Charter,

Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,

Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,

Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,

Reaffirming that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,

Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests,

Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources,

Recognizing also the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States,

Welcoming the fact that indigenous peoples are organizing themselves for political, economic, social and cultural enhancement and in order to bring to an end all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever they occur,

Convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs,

Recognizing that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment,

Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress and development, understanding and friendly relations among nations and peoples of the world,

Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and communities to retain shared responsibility for the upbringing, training, education and well-being of their children, consistent with the rights of the child,

Considering that the rights affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples are, in some situations, matters of international concern, interest, responsibility and character,

Considering also that treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, and the relationship they represent, are the basis for a strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States,

Acknowledging that the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,2 as well as the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action,(3) affirm the fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,

Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny any peoples their right to self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law,

Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith,

Encouraging States to comply with and effectively implement all their obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments, in particular those related to human rights, in consultation and cooperation with the peoples concerned,

Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,

Believing that this Declaration is a further important step forward for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and in the development of relevant activities of the United Nations system in this field,

Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples,

Recognizing that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from region to region and from country to country and that the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical and cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration,

Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect:

Article 1

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(4) and international human rights law.

Article 2

Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

Article 3

Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4

Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 6

Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

Article 7

1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.

2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

Article 8

1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

Article 9

Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

Article 10

Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 11

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.

2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

Article 12

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.

2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 13

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

Article 14

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.

2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.

3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

Article 15

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.

2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Article 16

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

Article 17

1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law.

2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.

3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

Article 18

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.

Article 19

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Article 20

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.

2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.

Article 21

1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.

2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

Article 22

1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.

2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Article 23

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programs affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programs through their own institutions.

Article 24

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services.

2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right.

Article 25

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 26

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.

2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.

3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 27

States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 28

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.

2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

Article 29

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programs for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.

3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programs for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

Article 30

1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned.

2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities.

Article 31

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Article 32

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.

2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

Article 33

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.

2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

Article 34

Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards.

Article 35

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities.

Article 36

1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.

2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Article 37

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honor and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Article 38

States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.

Article 39

Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

Article 40

Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.

Article 41

The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Article 42

The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

Article 43

The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Article 44

All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female indigenous individuals.

Article 45

Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.

Article 46

1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.

2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society.

3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.

(2) See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

(3) A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), chap. III.

(4) Resolution 217 A (III).


Did you know that the Native American Indian People in the United States of America have to prove what fraction or degree of “Indian Blood Quantum”  that they have in order to be acknowledged and recognized by the United States Federal Government. They are deliberately and intentionally racially discriminated against because they are the only ethnic group or race of human beings in the United States of America that have to document and record their complete “Indian” ancestry and “Indian” lineage to the Bureau Of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) which is an agency of the United States Federal Government. They will actually receive a “Pedigree Slip” called a Certificate Degree Of Indian Blood (C.D.I.B.) with their fraction or degree of “Indian Blood Quantum” or “Blood Quantum” on a piece of paper: 3/4-1/2-1/4-1/8-1/16-1/32. This will ensure that if they do not have children with another “Indian” their ethnic group or race of human beings will continue to decrease and become more extinct while every other ethnic group or race of human beings will continue to increase and become more distinct. The Native American Indian People in the United States of America must eliminate and eradicate this form of paper genocide and ethnocide because we do not need to prove to anyone on a piece of paper, like an animal or a breed, that we carry the “Indigenous” blood of our ancestors.  JAMES AGUIRRE