Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 20, 2012

CALIFORNIA: Jim Brown: Reject settlement agreement for Elem Pomo

Monique Sonoquie (Chumash/Apache),
Jim Brown III (Elem Pomo),
Gail Brown (Yokáya Pomo)
February 20, 2012


As a part of the Public Comment period On behalf of the Elem families residing on the Elem Reservation, I will formally submit testimony to the Department of Justice and formally notify the federal government agencies and U.S. Citizen’s that the true living Elem Reservation residents and community members formally reject and totally disagree with the current Department of Justice Settlement Agreement as prescribed, for the following reasons.

If the current settlement agreement is approved it will be a travesty of the Federal Justice System, violation of Indian Civil Rights Act and Indian Self-determination while undermining the protection of natural resources and tribal sovereignty and is a set-back of Environmental Justice, a denial of fair and equal compensation to the living surviving Elem members & families for their lifelong pain and suffering and loss of tribal lifeway’s (Gathering of healthy foods and fish). The 380 acres is only a small fraction of the tribe’s total aboriginal lands that were directly lost due to the Mining operations. Further, the $50,000 thousand dollars is a financial insult, and should be viewed as bribe money, so the tribe will not file another law suit for EPA’s 2006 106 violations, that damages has been estimated at ten million dollars. The Settlement Agreement will cover-up and deny the direct trusteeship of the BIA and the environmental responsibilities of our own so called premier agency the U.S. EPA. Ironically, these two federal agencies, The Bureau of Indian Affairs are formally the tribes Trustee and the EPA is the premier Environmental Agency, must take responsibility for their direct violations!

In 1971, the BIA/Central California Agency while providing the Elem tribe with a new housing, road & water project purchased the toxic mine tailings from the Bradley Mining Company! and in addition did not comply with section 106! The BIA/CCA agency has politically created division in the tribal leadership, for example since 2008 over an election dispute, and audit has shut down all services to the Elem tribal members and Community, We have a newly funded HUD (2005) community center that is totally shut down since 2010, along with no existing Tribal health or social services available to the Elem members residing on the Reservation lands and community.

Note: Most of the current officials who agreed to this illegal settlement agreement don’t even live on the Elem Reservation or even in live in the County and they appear only to want to divide up non-gaming funds. While Elem members who live on the Elem Reservation who disagree, have been formally barred from attending Elem General Council tribal meetings addressing this settlement and have been plus have been formally excluded from exercising their voting rights, excluded from sharing tribal non-gaming funds, which is a direct violation of our tribal and civil rights.  

In 2006, the U.S. EPA’s Superfund Cleanup Project at Elem, Sub-Contractor (CH2MHill) also, did not comply with section 106! 70 cubic yards of pre-historic and historic Cultural soils and cultural artifacts were destroyed. They want us to only except $50,000 to not file another law suit? In, addition the U.S. EPA Superfund manager illegally interfered with tribal sovereignty and government operations, when he created a conflict of interest by hiring the EleAdvocate, NAGPRA Coordinator and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer , in 2005 I was appointed Elem Tribal Historian. I have also served my tribe as an elected official and in 1999 as Tribal Chairman signed the California Gaming Compact. I was the Tribal Administrator (Elem Tribal Member) in 2006, who informed the office of Historic Preservation of the U.S. EPA violation, and then once I exposed the conflict of interest created between the US EPA Superfund Manager and the Elem Tribal Chairman, I was terminated by the tribal Chairman in 2007.  I will be formally submitting and requesting this immediate amendment to the settlement. In addition, I considering requesting formal compensation for my loss of employment that resulted from the EPA Superfund Manager’s conflict of interest!

On behalf of the Elem tribal members and residents of Elem Indian Colony, We formally request the following financial amendments to the Elem settlement agreement.

Jim Brown III, Elem-Modun Tribal Member

$3. Million to purchase Rattlesnake Island (To forever preserve the ancient homeland tribal village and sacred site for the tribe)
$1.5 Million Build Elem Museum/Cultural Center (Fund, operate Museum & Cultural center for tribe & public)
$1.5 Million Elem Health/Wellness Center (Fund Health & Wellness center for Tribal members)
$2. Million for Elem tribal members ($50,000.00 each) financial compensation for lifelong pain, Suffering and loss of life. ($500,000 Higher Education, Employment & Training fund).
$1. Million for Sacred Site protection and development of a tribal land trust organization and for the purchase & operations of Anderson Marsh State/Tribal Park for Public access.
$1. Million to payment to and for the Lake County citizen’s benefit (Food kitchen, Homeless Shelter, Farmers Markets, organic gardens, etc.)
Grand Total: $10,000.000. Million Settlement

Contact Info:
For more information please contact Jim Brown III, Elem-Tribal Member at P.O. Box 610 Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423, E-mail at

News article: Mining settlement gives land to Elem Colony, pays for cleanup

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