On Tuesday Jonathan Polloni represented the Mashpee 9 before Federal District Court Judge Denise Casper. He made a salient point when he defended the complaint against the United States… essentially the Department of Interior home of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He pointed out that it wasn’t about who was elected to the Tribal Council during the chaotic 2009 election, but the fact that tribal law was broken to bring the Cromwell administration to power. And it’s been a wicked ride for 5 years.
Judge Casper presided over Whitey Bolger’s case. She is pretty no nonsense. She seemed intrigued with the way the BIA turned a blind eye to alleged elections fraud.
The fact is the Elders went to Washington on three different occasions to complain and ultimately beg for intervention. The bureaucrats there never pointed them in the right direction. It also seems to support the fact that in Indian Country, no one respects the BIA because they have never done a good job of protecting Native Americans from anything. It has in fact done an excellent job of abdicating its responsibility to protect indigenous people from harm especially from their own abusive governments….that’s rampant in Indian Country.
The fact that months before the 2013 election the BIA received a stream of documents showing violations and the refusals of the tribal government to hear claims and see proof of unqualified members loaded on to the rolls. Elections fraud is a serious violation when perpetrated anywhere in the United States, tribal nation or not. But in the case of the Mashpee, the government used its standard excuse that “the BIA does not interfere with the affairs of sovereign tribal nations. “ That brought an interesting question from Judge Casper.
” So does the BIA ever intervene in questionable tribal elections?” The government said, “Yes your honor, but it’s very complicated. “ Wrong answer.
Polloni also pointed out the fact that all internal legal avenues were exhausted, and at each step of the process, tribal law was violated. A very unique dilemma for the Mashpee. The MWT tribal sovereignty is incomplete because we do not have land in trust. Which means we have a tribal court without authority or enforcement powers and “the do nothing no matter what” BIA which means we have no redress. No where for us to go to get justice …accept Uncle Sam.
Of course the Cromwell administration and their band of lawyers have known this all along and have taken full advantage of our 5 years of limbo status. This has resulted in the treadmill land in trust process and the spiraling debt that will be $92 m shortly. The tribal members have absolutely nothing and can do nothing to stop the abuse. Somebody should be paying attention to that little discrepancy, eh ?
Judge Casper said she would take the motion to dismiss under advisement. Which means she may want to check some things out. But it was not what the government wanted to hear or the tribal lawyer who sat in the corner of the courtroom listening intensely. He was the same tribal lawyer who makes big bucks and condescended to Nellie Hicks Ramos in tribal court 2 years ago on this very issue, requesting an investigation and the production of the voter sign in sheets. They wanted the case dismissed too. But apparently the government didn’t make a good case for that. Judge Casper could still dismiss it. She could also order the investigation or go to trial. Hopefully she does something that will end our long nightmare.
Apparently the decision was bad enough to make the tribal lawyer and his pr buddy bolt from the court room to give Cedric Cromwell the bad news. He had no comment in any of the Wednesday news stories. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Also, when Jonathan Polloni tried to use the search mode of the BIA website Tuesday night …..It wouldn’t work. Wow.