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Tribal Government: Fact or Myth?

Many in our country do not understand that Indian tribal sovereignty is inherent. Below we try to dispel some of the myths surrounding Tribal Government and what it means to be a sovereign nation.

 

FACT

A review of Federal Grants Notices from April — July 2004 showed that Tribes are ineligible to apply for anywhere from 30% to over 50% of federal grants for which states, municipalities, nonprofits, individuals, businesses or others may apply.

MYTH

Tribal Governments receive an inordinate amount of special grants from the Federal Government


FACT
Tribal governments bear similar responsibilities as both municipalities and as states, yet often fulfill their obligations without the equal access to revenues from tax-bases, economic investment or revenue sharing from the federal government that municipalities or states enjoy.
MYTH

Tribal governments are not really governmental entities like municipalities or states.


FACT
Tribal governments often serve populations with poverty rates of 25% or more. Health and dental care at many reservations is often not easily available. Urban Indian health services are also often operating with little resources to serve high risk and often impoverished populations for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other ailments. At Pechanga, since the advent of gaming, the rate of tribal poverty has been reduced. Our tribal members now have access to adequate health benefits.
MYTH

Tribal governments just give 'extra' services to tribal members that they can get at other institutions.


FACT
For well over a century Pechanga tribal sovereignty and the inherent right to self-government that existed before the creation of the United States has been affirmed by the federal government. In 1882, the Executive Order of the President of the United States, restored recognition or our sovereignty over our homelands. We elect our Tribal Chair, Council and other governmental positions in elections held every two years.
MYTH
The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians current form of government is a recent phenomenon.

FACT

Pechanga tribal government has worked successfully and with bi-partisan support of local, state and federal leaders on a variety of issues. For example, in April 2003, supporters including U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Representatives Mary Bono, Darrell Issa and Dale Kildee, State Senators James L. Brulte and Dennis Hollingsworth and Assembly Member Bill Leonard all took part in the successful effort of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians to regain more than 700 acres of their homeland now known as the Great Oak Ranch. Tribal leaders serve on many national or regional organizations or committees addressing a variety of issues to benefit both Native and non-native peoples

MYTH

Pechanga's tribal government has little in common with nonnative neighbors and rarely works within broader alliances.

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