Miwok Chief Cesar Caballero Jailed in Name dispute for Contempt
Cris Alarcon, 3-31-2012
In a Trademark dispute case, self-proclaimed Shingle Springs Miwok Chief Cesar Caballero goes to jail again, this time for refusing to withdraw a fraudulent document submitted to the county as demanded by the Federal court. Caballero has already served 55 days in solitary confinement in a federal prison for his contempt of court orders.
Caballero and his supporters claim that they area indigenous Miwoks from the local area and that their ancestors voted on Jan. 13, 1935, under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. This makes them the true "Shingle Springs" Miwok Tribe they claim. The tribe that is federally recognized as Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians owns and reside on the Shingle Springs Rancheria (and built the Red Hawk Casino) is suing Caballero for using the name.
One local historian claims the currently recognized tribe allegedly kicked Caballero's tribe off their reservation and stole their name. Supporters say they simply want the name recognition and federal benefits that come with it, but not the casino or any funds generated from gaming. This claim comes after Mr. Caballero filed his own suit against the Tribe, claiming the right to revenues from Red Hawk Casino.
The claim to the "Name" is unsupported by Caballero as he was arrested for refusing to retract documents claiming the right to use the name.
A local historian, George Peabody, claims that the tribe legally recognized as the Shingle Springs Miwok's is originally the Sacramento Verona Band of Homeless Indians. He says that they are made up of descendants of Sandwich Islanders according to the 1916 Federal Census records of Sutter County, California. He stated that they were welcomed to the continental United States by Maidu Indians from Sutter County, but never married into them.
Historic documents in the court's possession paint a slightly different picture. The Shingle Springs Rancheria land was deeded to the United States on March 1, 1920, pursuant to the Homeless Indians Act of June 21, 1906 and April 30, 1908. The deed stated that the land was "for the use and occupancy of the Sacramento Verona-Band of Homeless Indians."
December 4, 1916 Correspondence between Mr. Terrell and the U.S. Department of Interior's Indian Service indicates concerted efforts by Mr. Terrell to accomplish his assigned mission of finding landless Indians around Sacramento a permanent home. That Terrell's mission was to create a type of reservation for the landless Indians is made clear by correspondence between him and the Chief Clerk for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in which Terrell was questioned about his inclusion of several people in his 1916 Census of the "Verona-Sacramento River Indians" who may be Hawaiians.
Terrell responded December 3, 1917 that the three or four Hawaiians are men that had marred "native California Indian women, mostly full bloods" and that these people would need to be included in the census of Indians who would live on the land since they were "very much attached to their women and children, therefore, will not likely desert them .... The proabilities [sic] are that sooner or later most, if not all the Indians of these Hawaiian Indians, will desire to go upon this home. [T]heir families will surely desire to identify themselves with these, or rather residential themselves with these two remnant bands."
In response to Mr. Terrell's work, the Indian Service directed him to purchase the land "for the use and occupancy of the Sacramento-Verona bands of Indians in El Dorado County, California”. The Indian Service also stated that the "Hawaiian Indians" who had "intermarried with the California Indians" were to be able to join the bands on a case-by-case basis.
The history of the acquisition of the Rancheria leads to the conclusion that the land was intended to be and was in fact acquired for a very specific purpose: habitation by what was left of Sacramento-area Indians. Subsequent history also shows that the Department of the Interior maintained the land as a trust acquisition for the Indians, who became known as the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.
For reasons that are unclear, perhaps the minimal accessibility of the land, the Shingle Springs Rancheria was not inhabited after the federal government acquired it for the local landless Indians.
The National Indian Gaming Commission wrote:
It should be noted that the name of the Shingle Springs Band evolved over time but that the Band has been and continues to be the tribe for which the Rancheria was established and which exercises governmental power over the land. The March 11, 1920, deed "for the use and occupancy of the Sacramento-Verona Band of Homeless Indians" indicates the original name of the Tribe '[Barnes submission, Exh. 11. The Department of the Interior continued to use this name when, in its August 7, 1970, letter to Genevieve Cayton, it requested that she prove that she was a direct descendant of the Sacramento-Verona Band. " Only those Indians who can prove their direct relationship to the groups of Indians for whom the rancheria was acquired will be permitted to occupy the land," BIA Area Director William E. Finale wrote [Thompson Associates, Attachment 71].
On August 7, 1970, BIA wrote to 54 people who, according to BIA records, were descendants of the Sacramento-Verona Band, notifying them of Ms. Cayton's claim to the Rancheria land [Thompson Associates, Attachment 93]. Subsequently a meeting of the descendants was called [Thompson Associates, Attachment 101]. At that meeting it was decided "by those present who were named on the 1916 Census, or their descendants" to establish a committee to address issues involving the Shingle Springs Rancheria [Thompson Associates, Attachment 101].
Minutes from the June 2, 1975, meeting show the membership beginning to call itself "members of the Shingle Springs Rancheria (Verona Tract)" [Thompson Associates, Attachment 243, thus identifying members through the use of their land base.
The 1976 Articles of Association make clear that the people who descended from the Sacramento-Verona Band later identified themselves as the Shingle Springs Band. The name of the document is "Articles of Association of the Shingle Springs Band El Dorado County, California." It identifies membership as persons listed on the 1916 Census of Indians "at and near Verona and those persons' descendants [Barnes submission, Exh. 3-C]. Subsequent activities undertaken by the Band, for example, correspondence with BIA regarding the Band's attempt to obtain improved access to the Rancheria, have the Band identifying itself as Shingle Springs Rancheria [Thompson Associates, Attachment 321].
In short, the Shingle Springs Band is the name used now by the Sacramento-Verona Band of Homeless Indians. The history of the acquisition of land for the Sacramento-Verona Band is, therefore, the history of the Shingle Springs Rancheria.
The Band known as the Shingle Springs Miwoks began using the name "Shingle Springs Band" about thirty years before they built the casino. Currently, the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognizes only one tribe related to Shingle Springs California and list it as, “Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria (Verona Tract), California."
Caballero supporters say Caballero had documents on-hand when he turned himself in which had an official Bureau of Indian Affairs seal on it, stating that their tribe (Caballero's Band of Miwoks) is federally recognized, but would not provide the documents. No such support can be found on the public BIA website.
At this time it looks like Cesar Caballero would rather face a nine month sentence in Federal prison then turn over papers to the court supporting his claim, but a statement released by the Tribe refutes that claim.
"Mr. Caballero is not sitting in jail today because he failed to 'submit evidence that his tribe is the true Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians.' He is sitting in jail because he has chosen to defy a federal court order directing him to take certain steps to unwind his fraudulent course, including the withdrawal of the fictitious document that started this litigation. Contrary to the [Mt Democrat] article’s suggestion, the Tribe did not put Mr. Caballero in jail, and it has no ability to 'take him out.' As the federal judge explained to Mr. Caballero at his last contempt hearing, he alone controls his own destiny; it is his contempt for the Court — in short, his defiance of the law and judicial process — that landed him in jail. He controls the keys to his cell."
The case will start its jury trial at the Sacramento Courthouse on September 24th of this year.
Chief jailed over tribal name dispute
Cole Mayer, March 30, 2012
On March 6, Cesar Caballero, 42, turned himself over to El Dorado County Sheriff's Deputies to comply with a judge's orders. "I'm not here to fight," Caballero said. "I'm here to honor the arrest warrant." Caballero was wanted on a contempt of court charge after not submitting evidence that his tribe is the true Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, as opposed to the tribe that currently runs Red Hawk Casino. ...
Identity Theft or Money Grab: Shingle Springs Miwoks | PR Pond ...
Jun 13, 2011
Tribe Operating Red Hawk Casino Files Suit | PLACERVILLE . INFO
I’m a member of the historical tribe
EDITOR: You posted in Friday's paper about the Shingle Springs Miwoks winning their court case about mail fraud. That was semi-true. The tribe suing did win the case but it was not the Historic Shingle Springs Miwoks who won.