Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Andrew Masiel, Sr.

Mark Trahant / TrahantReports

California is the land of superlatives. “The biggest” as in state economy. “The most” when it comes to population. And the largest number of Native Americans of any state in the country (because California has more of everything, right?).

But when it comes to electing Native Americans to state offices: Well, it’s slightly better than none.

There are a few tribal members at the city and county level: Los Angeles Council member Mitch O’Farell is a member of the Wyandotte Tribe; San Diego City Council member  (and former mayor) Todd Gloria who is Tlingit and Haida; and San Bernadino County Supervisor James Ramos who is the former chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

There may be a few other names (let me know, please) but my point is that the list is awfully short. Call it the California Paradox: The Census says there nearly 700,000 Native Americans in the state, probably an inflated number, but that also includes 109 federally-recognized tribes. So then there is that superlative thing: California also has 37 million people making it difficult for any small group of people to win office. Even in a state that is now majority-minority.

So the California Legislature has zero Native American representation.

Andrew Masiel, Sr., a former member of the Pechanga Tribal Council, and chair of the California Democrat’s Native American Caucus, is trying to change that. He is running for the Assembly in District 75 that includes the Pechanga Reservation and Temecula.  The California primary is June 7, but Masiel has already been endorsed by the San Diego Country Democrats and will likely face an incumbent, Republican Marie Waldron, in the general election.

“Andrew Masiel has devoted more than 25 years of his life to serving California tribal governments, accumulating extensive experience in tribal economic development and financing for tribal government projects,”  according to the California Native American Caucus page. 

Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports



Reposting or reprinting this column? Please credit: Mark Trahant / TrahantReports.com

5 thoughts on “#NativeVote16 – California here we come; Pechanga candidate for Legislature

  1. Andrew Masiel, Sr. has served as a public servant and leader with dignity, compassion and great wisdom that comes from his core values of integrity. I wholeheartedly support his election. California, and indeed our Nation needs leaders like him.

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  2. As one of HUNDREDS who have suffered because of actions of Andrew Masiel Sr. I must respond that this man does NOT deserve the vote of ANY CALIFORNIAN who should be repulsed at his actions against his own people.

    As i recently posted, at http://www.originalpechanga.com/2016/05/andrew-masiel-sr-enabler-of-pechangas.html here are just some his disqualifications:

    Practiced Apartheid and Segregation of Allottees of the Temecula Reservation
    Stripped citizenship from rightful Pechanga people against the tribal constitution
    Denied Voting Rights to tribal members leaving them disenfranchised
    Theft of Per Capita surpassing $500 million..and rising
    Destruction of Heritage of Manuela Miranda descendants, Petra Tosobol descendants and Paulina Hunter descendants
    Failure to follow the factual evidence that ties families to tribes

    Please follow the link above to learn more. DO NOT VOTE for this NATIVE AMERICAN.

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    1. Maria says:

      Should I vote for the Republican then? Is that the ‘better’ choice?

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  3. California Citizen says:

    So let me get this straight, I should vote for him because he’s Native American. Sorry, but I fail to see how that would help California. Does this man have any qualifications besides his race and tribal leadership card?

    Like

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