Eshoo has been formally censured by Muwekma Tribal Council following extortionate demands

(January 21, 2023) — The Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council has formally — and by unanimous vote — passed a Censure Resolution — of Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) for her role in attempting to extort the Tribe of rights that it is entitled to under both State laws established by the voters of California twice in statewide referendums and the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

At a meeting in Rep. Eshoo’s Capitol Hill office on January 10, 2023, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Rep. Jimmy Panetta made extortionate demands — including the cession of vast swaths of the Tribe’s civil regulatory jurisdiction — before they would agree to merely correct a mistake that the Bureau of Indian Affairs made in 1978 when it first drafted it’s list of recognized Tribes, and at the time wrongly excluded Muwekma.

The congress members reiterated their extortionate demand in a  January 17 correspondence, repeating their opposition to acknowledging the Muwekma people’s existence without severe economic sanctions.  The Tribe responded in a January 20 correspondence to Eshoo.

“I have received your correspondence dated January 17, 2023, in which you confuse the issue of our existence and the reaffirmation of our federal status with Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s continued trope about Indian casinos.  Rather than continuing to conflate these two topics in the most racially presumptuous of ways, we ask again that you engage in the actual discourse at hand,” Chairwoman Nijmeh writes to Eshoo.

“Indeed, extorting the cession of a vast swath of the Tribe’s sovereignty in exchange for the Congress taking corrective action to merely fix a mistake of the federal government is horribly inappropriate,” she explains.

“The imposition of Rep. Lofgren’s personal views on gaming is an inappropriate usurpation of the laws and entitlements that were established by the voters of California in two referendums that passed overwhelmingly.  The issue of Indian gaming – despite our Tribal Council having no interest in gaming projects – is a policy matter that has been thoroughly settled by the voters of California and the Congress of the United States,” Nijmeh writes in her January 20th correspondence to Rep. Anna Eshoo.

“That you continue to allow Rep. Lofgren to inject her personal views about gaming into a discussion that has absolutely nothing to do with gaming, undermines the relationship between our two governments in egregiously inappropriate way – and wreaks of a colonial mindset that we’ve yet to eradicate through education,” she argues.

“Following our meeting at your office, I shared with the Tribal Council the recording of our discussion that you had insisted on producing.  I asked the Council to review it, as we see that discussion as an official communication between our two governments.  They found the tone, substance, and situation documented in the recording to be deeply problematic, and passed the enclosed Resolution of Censure regarding your behavior,” she explains.

“Among the many things that the Council found troubling was Rep. Eric Swalwell’s characterization of my petitioning of the Congress as “shooting arrows at Zoe.”  That language is demonstrative of unconscious bias and inappropriately attempted to cartoonize me with colonial ‘cowboys and Indians’ imagery while dismissively belittling very real and very substantial indigenous justice issues,” Nijmeh explains. 


“The Council was also troubled by Rep. Ro Khanna’s use of very unsettling language in an apparent attempt to deny my Tribe’s experience of colonialism while mansplaning his different experience with colonialism.  I found the remarks deeply ignorant of American history and the history of California. That language is demonstrative of unconscious bias – or perhaps a more calculated attempt to obfuscate the very pressing issues at hand,” Nijmeh writes. 


“That you and your colleagues would allow your office staff to engage in such flippant and misleading communications with the leader of a sovereign Nation, would allow them to misrepresent those communications to you, and would enable them to defame the Tribe to third parties is behavior far beneath the dignity of your Office and demands a public apology,” she wrote to Rep. Panetta. 


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