Native American Rights Fund
The tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, California, Mark Macarro has offered significant contributions in making tribal gaming acceptable to the public. Mark Macarro serves as a board member of the Native Americans Rights Fund (NARF).
NARF is the biggest and oldest nonprofit law firm committed to upholding and safeguarding the rights of Indian tribes, individuals, and organizations throughout the country. One of its five priority areas is protecting tribal natural resources. Indian lands hold a diverse range of natural resources, including timber, gas, and oil.
The government, as stated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, presently holds in trust 56.2 million acres of land for individual Indians as well as tribes. NARF’s focuses its efforts in upholding tribal resource rights and safeguarding these resources from destruction and misuse by non-Indians. Among the major resources the organization protects include water rights, land rights, fishing and hunting rights, judicious development of mineral resources, and environmental rights.
Since 2002, Mark Macarro has served the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians as tribal chairman. Recognized as one of Capitol Weekly’s 2013 Top Political Movers and Shakers in California, he also holds the position of alternate area vice president for the Pacific Region of the National Congress of the American Indians. Mark Macarro earned a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, which contributes to efforts to preserve the Sedgwick Reserve in Santa Ynez Valley.
Consisting of 6,000 acres, the Sedgwick Reserve belongs to the UC Natural Reserve System, which dates back to 1965 and offers undisturbed environments for research and public service. The reserve boasts rolling hills and large areas of grassland, contrasted by a ridge of serpentine rock. In addition to its oak savannas and coastal sage scrub, the Sedgewick reserve features a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, golden eagles, tarantulas, pallid bats, and some 200 species of moths.
Serving as a venue for research and education, the Sedgewick Reserve draws astrophysicists interested in using the Byrne Observatory Telescope. It also hosts a variety of events from monthly hikes and workshops to public lectures and community events led by volunteer docents.
To learn more about the Sedgewick Reserve, visit www.news.ucsb.edu/sense-wonder.
National Congress of American Indians
Mark Macarro has served in leadership with the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians for 25 years, holding the position of tribal chairman since 2002. As part of his current duties, Mark Macarro represents the Pechanga Band in the National Congress of American Indians.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) recently announced its support of the Department of the Interior’s agreement with the Craig Tribal Association to include a 1.08-acre tract of Alaskan land as part of the federal Indian trust. NCAI president Brian Cladoosby lauded the move as a boon for tribes in Alaska and one that will serve to preserve these areas for the tribe member’s descendants for years to come.
The land in question is home to key governmental areas for the tribe, such as its town hall and courthouse. In his comments, Cladoosby noted that when tribes have authority over their lands, they are better able to police themselves and address public safety issues.
National Indian Gaming Association
A fixture in Native American politics, Mark Macarro has led as the tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Southern California for nearly 15 years. Apart from his responsibilities as chairman, Mark Macarro serves on the board of the National Indian Gaming Association.
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) was originally formed in 1985 and consists of 184 federally recognized tribes. Based in Washington, DC, it is the foremost advocate for Indian gaming interests in the United States and works hand-in-hand with Congress and other key stakeholders on issues and policy decisions that could potentially impact Indian gaming enterprises.
The primary goal of NIGA is to ensure that its member tribes have the opportunity to operate gaming enterprises through which tribes can achieve self-sufficiency. NIGA is also an important voice on all issues pertaining to the sovereignty of Indian nations and the protection of their tribal lands.