Hoopa Tribe Starts Banishment Process of Non-Tribal Member Sex Offenders

By ALLIE HOSTLER, Two Rivers Tribune

The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council voted unanimously to begin the process of banishing all non Hoopa tribal member sex offenders from Hoopa.

The Tribe’s Title 5, which allows exclusion of both tribal and non-tribal members from the reservation, has gained attention in recent months because two tribal members are presently undergoing the exclusion process via the Tribe’s court system.

It’s also raising concerns for local law enforcement.

“The problem is, all we can do is move them to the other side of the reservation boundary,” Lieutenant Ed Guyer with the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department said. “The District Attoney’s office won’t prosecute violations of tribal law.”
Councilmembers Hayley Hutt and Ryan Jackson said that’s something that needs to be worked on.

The Tribe’s lead attorney, Mary Jane Risling, said there was discussion about placing potential penalties for violating and exclusion order on the upcoming special election ballot. Hypothetical penalties were mention, but have yet to be fine-tuned and presented for placement on the ballot.

“We don’t have a coordinated approach to law enforcement,” Risling said when commenting on the District Attorney’s inability to prosecute tribal law and Humboldt County’s efforts to conduct sex offender sweeps.

Guyer said it’s hard to know who all of the sex offenders are.

There are several on the Megan’s Law list, a public state registry, accessible online, that lists sex offenders by zip code, county, name and map. But, not all sex offenders are in compliance with their registry, nor are all offenders required to register on the state-run list.

Another motion was passed that will require all sex offenders to register with Hoopa Valley Tribal Police. The motion is redundant of an existing tribal law, Title 47, which requires the Tribal Police Department to maintain a registry of their own separate from the Megan’s Law List.

“Currently, everybody on the Megan’s Law list is in violation of tribal law because nobody is registered with us,” Guyer said.

Added to the motion is a clause that requires Tribal Police do outreach to inform the public that they are beginning the registry process and that it is required by tribal law.

Councilmember, Hayley Hutt made both of the motions and said, “We have to make a stand on this at some point.”

The motion to begin exclusion proceedings of non Hoopa tribal members could affect up to six registered sex offenders on the Megan’s Law List living in Hoopa.

Hutt said there are more registered sex offenders in Hoopa than there are in the entire city of Arcata. And, Willow Creek has only four listed offenders.

A recent search of Megan’s Law shows that zip code 95546 (Hoopa) has 17 registered offenders. At least three of whom are residents of the Weitchpec and Pecwan areas, which share the same zip code. Six of whom are not Hoopa tribal members. The remaining eight registered offenders are Hoopa tribal members.

In other business at the Council meeting, several motions were passed to enroll 11 new members, accept three  blood degree corrections and deny enrollment of three applicants because they did not meet the criteria for enrollment.

TANF got the green light to attend a training in Pala, California this coming July as well as move forward with a website design proposal for their department.

An April, 2013 closure of the Hoopa Child Development program was discussed at length. The childcare center was closed for four days due to brown water flowing out of the pipes.

“We use a lot of water,” Director, Janice Olmo said.

They worried the water was not safe to use and the facility was forced to close until the water could be tested and the problem resolved.

It is still unclear what caused the discoloration of the water, but test results revealed the water was safe for consumption, and the discoloration was from rusty pipes. Later the water ran clear again.

The pipes in the childcare center are not old, so the Council directed the Public Utilities District to investigate the problem to avoid future issues.

The Council tabled a motion that would have allowed up to 100 tribal members to travel to Sacramento this summer to protest at the California Water Resources Control Board meeting and ask that the Clean Water Act be enforced on the Klamath River.

The item will be heard again when a source of funds is identified for the $4,600 estimated budget.

The Tribal Council approved travel for their members and staff to attend a 15-minute meeting in Washington D.C. with the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Kevin Washburn in an effort to inform the highest level of government about the Hoopa Tribe’s position on the Klamath Settlements.

A motion to approve the 2013 Fish for Elders Project was tabled until the next regular council meeting.

A motion was made to amend the Fishing Ordinance—Title 16—through the Emergency Legislative Procedures Act process. The amendment will require nets be placed at least 50 feet apart unless a specific court order specifies a different distance. The same applies to the spacing of eel baskets under the emergency amendment.

Also, a motion was passed to extend the deadline for tribal department budgets as well as prohibit cost of living and merit increases.

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May 29th, 2013

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