Pechanga TANF Program
Mark Macarro serves as tribal chairman for the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, California. Currently in his 14th year as chairman, Mark Macarro is a respected leader in the local community.
The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians can trace its roots in California’s Temecula Valley back more than 10,000 years, and the band is one of seven that calls the area home. They have persisted through considerable adversity, from massacres to evictions to discriminatory legislation. Today, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians provides a wealth of valuable cultural and community services in the greater Temecula area.
These valuable services include the Pechanga TANF Program, a service that supports families from low-income backgrounds. This program is dedicated to promoting traditional two-parent families and helping those families become self-sufficient. To this end, it offers assistance with childcare and employment as well as providing some cash aid.
Qualifying families must live within the Pechanga Indian Reservation, have children, and meet financial guidelines. To learn more about these and other services available, visit: www.pechanga-nsn.gov.
Harvard Project’s Honoring Nations program
Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, is also a member of the board of governors for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Specifically, Mark Macarro serves as part of Harvard Project’s Honoring Nations program.
The Honoring Nations program, established in 1998, identifies, documents, and celebrates the stories of self-governance occurring within Native nations, focusing on the successes of tribal governments. This program helps various Native leaders learn from each other, but also highlights the drive for self-determination among Native nations to mainstream America, non-Native legislators, media organizations, and the general public.
The foundational principle behind the Honoring Nations program is the idea that Native nations’ independence in government is important for their social, political, economic, and cultural success. Honoring Nations has hosted five tribal government symposia and honored 124 tribal government programs, practices, and initiatives. The evaluation process to choose honorees is guided by the board of governors consisting of individuals from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
The tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, California, Mark Macarro is recognized as a leader among Native American people. An active member of many groups investigating the Native American community, Mark Macarro sits on the board of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.
Founded in 1987, the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development emerged from the work of Professors Stephen Cornell and Joseph P. Kalt at Harvard University. Part of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the endeavor uses research and science to promote improved tribal governance. Its research has discovered the importance of culture, leadership, and sovereignty in enabling these nations to operate at their best.
Education for all people represents a crucial aspect of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s mission. It recognizes self-governance as one of the most important ways for Indian countries to maintain their independence and combat existing economic and social problems. Through online and in-person lectures, as well as a variety of readily available educational material, the group educates tribal leaders about Native civics, professional standards, indigenous nation building, and other underserved topics in leadership. Moreover, its public educational programs enlighten nations across the world about Native nations by clearing up misinformation from historical and stereotypical perspectives.
Recently reelected for his tenth consecutive term as the chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Mark Macarro has worked to defend the rights of tribal members since 1992. In addition to representing his tribe in local and state government, Mark Macarro also works to support the tribe’s economic independence, which primarily relies on the Pechanga Resort & Casino.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Pechanga Spa launched a month-long campaign throughout October to provide free haircuts to people with hair eight inches or longer. The hair collected from these donations will go to patients undergoing cancer treatments, which frequently results in total hair loss. Amber Curatola, a Comanche tribe member and resort employee, took the initiative to give one of the first donations. Despite the personal cultural significance of long hair, Ms. Curatola volunteered after seeing the effects of cancer treatment firsthand. Her aunt, who has battled liver cancer for more than five years, lost her long hair as a result of treatments. Additionally, Curatola’s cousin, a 32-year-old mother of two, was recently diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and is preparing to undergo intensive treatment.
Although breast cancer rates have declined since 1989, it remains the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Approximately 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and although American Indian women do have lower breast cancer rates than white women, they are more likely to be diagnosed later in life, when the cancer has progressed and is more difficult to treat.
For more information about recommended cancer screening guidelines, visit www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/cancerscreeningguidelines.