Cesar Caballero was released from federal prison on the night of April 3, following the relinquishing of his business license and other documents.
The documents allowed Caballero to do business as the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, the name he and his group say has been usurped by the tribe that owns and operates Red Hawk Casino.
“He withdrew the title documents because the casino tribe threatened tribal elders” with a second lawsuit pertaining to the trademark case surrounding Caballero, said Kristen Mackey, secretary and volunteer for the tribe who was named in the lawsuit as a defendant. This upset Caballero, which led to him signing and releasing the documents.
Mackey said the casino tribe was tribe threatening people such as young mothers and those between the ages of 70 and 90, saying that the casino tribe would take away state and federal aid, such as medical care, something they had already taken from Caballero.
The documents that had been demanded by a federal judge included the tribe’s business license and employee ID number, both of which are needed to run a business and be recognized for taxes by the IRS.
“Those documents made it possible for the tribe to function as a business, to operate as a tribe,” Mackey said.
Caballero had been keeping the documents on advice from the tribe’s elders, but “ultimately gave up from pressure the Red Hawk tribe was placing” on the elders, Mackey said. “He was coerced into releasing them.”
“People don’t understand what happened to me,” Caballero said in a written statement. “I obtained, for my tribe, a business license and EIN by using my tribe’s official Bureau of Indian Affairs documents. I did this so we could conduct business. The casino group took over our name to have a casino. I am a Shingle Springs Miwok, exercising my right to say I am.”
Caballero also said that his tribe would be taking a different approach to the trademark matter by petitioning the BIA, the “agency that put us in this position. The BIA made a mistake in 1916,” when the BIA gave land to what Cabellero claims is a non-Indian group who, in 1980, “usurped” the Miwok name. The petition will also go to Congress and President Barack Obama, as well as state officials.
“I am challenging the casino group’s authority, I want them to prove their identification,” Caballero said in his statement. “Voters intended for Indians to be helped, and currently, non-Indians are the mistaken beneficiaries.”
Mackey, in a written statement of her own, issued a similar challenge to the casino tribe.
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