Profile of Tribal Corruption Reyn Leno


Grande Ronde Assimilated ,  Corrupt Tribal Council,  Mascots,  and  Reyn Leno


Corruption is the word of the day regarding the absurd stance The Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde has taken on condoning of the use of Native American mascots in schools across Oregon state.  The cruelty of corruption is heartbreaking and now Native Americans face another terrifying reality from those whom should be their number one advocates: Tribal leaders like Reyn Leno.  

Reyn Leno is the Chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde  and  also serves on the Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees and is chairman of the Spirit Mountain Casino Board of Directors. With increasing outcry to the end of offensive Native American Mascots, Oregon voted to end the use of offensive native mascots. Here enters Reyn Leno. I’m not sure exactly how he has connected pride in heritage to generic, appropriating images, but he has, and even brought up service in Viet Nam to justify it in his latest opinion piece “Reasonable resolution to tribal-mascot debate” , . He has claimed the money could be better spent, even though Addidas has offered to help with the financial burden, and made grand statements about brave ancestors and losing tribal land all to justify his ridiculous support of racism. I’m not sure how these statements are connected to offensive native imagery, but he did use them all as excuses for his support. Between the incoherent justifications in his reasonable response, 10 ethics violations and actively helping to commit paper genocide by disenrolling 76 tribal members, I have to state, his opinion isn’t worth much. I also have to ask, did Chairman receive some of the money from Redskins owner  Dan Snyder’ while he was ‘donating’ to native  causes?


Here are the facts we know about Reyn Leno and his corrupt leadership:


  1. He advocates for racist Native American mascots that are proven to have negative impacts on children  as stated by the American Psychology Association in their 2005 study.


  1. He has a total of 10 reported ethics violations.  From the official complaint,  “Defendant failed to uphold his oath of office in several ways. First, he  failed to declare conflicts of interest between his personal interest and the public  interest on multiple occasions. Second, he entered into an unlawful business  transaction with RV. Where he paid less than market rates for services rendered from  RV, a company which he, at the time, served as the Chairman on the board of directors, effectively committing theft of services. Third, Defendant used his position,  influence and power to conceal and cover-up his unethical behavior.


  1. He’s disenrolling tribal members under secrecy using Abramhoff’s Playbook and then putting a gag order on said tribal members, using ‘sovereignty’ to justify stripping members of their first amendment rights.
  2. Only a few outlets covered a September 1 tribal court decision that upheld the removal of 86 people from the rolls. Yet the tribe’s attorneys want the descendants of Chief Tumulth, who signed the 1855 Willamette Valley Treaty, and the Galanda Broadman law firm to be held in contempt for allegedly violating a gag order in the case. […] “Petitioners should be ordered to cease and desist from publishing the parties briefings and otherwise using the media in attempt to influence matters on appeal,” tribal attorneys said in the court filing.”  


Sovereignty is not a justification for violation of the right to free speech, which is exactly what has happened.


Recently this Chairman Reyn Leno  led the effort to disenroll 86 members of the tribe. The reasons uncertain, but suspicious. Especially considering the gag order they had put on the expelled tribal members. Why is it necessary to trample on the 1st amendment rights under the guise of sovereignty?  If the reasons just why not be open about it. I did call Mr. Leno’s office to ask him questions about the mascots, ethics violations, disenrolling, and new casino rumors, I did not receive a call back. After speaking to some tribal members that wish to remain anonymous for fear of being stripped of their tribal membership, I got the impression Mr. Leno champions mascots and the use of Abramhoff’s playbook, not the tribe. That phrase was used several times, Abramhoff’s playbook.  From the attorney Galanda’s blog  ““It’s just a Tribal membership dispute.”  (Plays #1 and 2 are exposed here and here.) Play #3—Cause a Tribal Membership Dispute. The bad guys know that if they style the Tribal leadership dispute as a membership dispute, nobody will touch it. They know that under banner of Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49 (1978), federal, state and local officials will simply say: “Sorry, the matter is internal to the Tribe. Tribes are sovereign and self-governing.”

The bad guys know that they can claim to disenroll any Tribal Councilperson or member who is not aligned with them, without suffering any legal recourse. They know that the federal and state courts will almost surely not get involved. They also know that they can denounce an Indian court as illegitimate and flout any Ex parte Young efforts to prospectively enjoin their “ethnic cleansing” efforts.  Tribal disenrollment is already at an “epidemic” level according to Professor David Wilkins; applying the Abramoff Playbook only accelerates the self-genocide.

Play #4—Rush to the Media. The bad guys hurry to create headlines that further cause folks in positions of power to stay out of it. The news stories they generate—through paid-for press releases via PRNewswire—will speak of “tribal disenrollment” and “tribal factions.”

They will allege some form of wrongdoing by their opponents, to the point of slander or libel. They understand that federal and state officials, cops and judges, as well as local community members and business leaders, will read the resulting headlines. In turn, those readers will fall back on preconceived ideas about what is happening within the Tribe, leading them to either pick the bad guys’ side or stay out of it completely.”

Mr. Leno perfected these tactics Each step of the way the tribal members up for disenrollment were treated with extreme contempt and corruption. Following the rules the tribe set forth only to have the rules changed and no time allotments to adjust to the new amendments.


Mr. Leno blocked votes, changed the rules and then, as promised by the new amendments refused any additional hearings. The rest of the amendments details have been kept secret. And after using them,  he proceeded to strip them of their cultural birthright.

“The pro-termination faction of Tribal Council is consolidating power,” said Prickett. “The latest move is clearly aimed at suppressing political dissent and preventing us from voting in our Tribal election.”

The family in question are direct descendants of Chief Tumulth who ceded land to the United States government in exchange for a safe and permanent home for his descendants. This land was used as a reason to prevent another tribe from building a casino. While ancestral land and environmental concerns were used it had everything to do with not wanting competition for the tribe’s casino. Mr. Leno happily exploited this family and their ancestors while it was favorable. He then used the very same ancestral ties to unethically twist tribal law, pervert it and disenroll this family.



This is nothing new. It’s happening in several tribes. And the playbook is being perfected by corrupt Tribal leaders. A mixture of greed, inner conflict, personal feuds and corrupt agendas are behind this wave of disenrollment. This strips members of homes, healthcare, college scholarships, jobs, elder housing and health, and identity.

Imagine, your family comes together covertly, decides they have more than enough members and it’s no longer advantageous to keep you around. They give you a set of rules to follow for any chance to remain in the family, then change the rules right before the deadline. Under secrecy and suspicious circumstances vote you out, strip you of your family name, your connection to all you know, all you love, your pride in who you are. And tell you that you can no longer live in the family house, participate in the family gatherings, and strip you of your ability to even talk about the injustice?  It’s cultural rape.‘ It’s paper genocide. It is the absolute worst nightmare coming true.

Taking all this into consideration, is it any surprise this self appointed speaker for Native Americans would champion racist native imagery?  Native American mascotting has been debated nationwide and opponents use the same rhetoric used to justify racism in any case of injustice. From political correctness, to “we’re honoring you’’, pride, and Reyn’s own “preserving the heritage” example. It makes one wonder, did Mr. Leno get a lump sum from the NFL’s own Snyder to support the cause?

In a summary of the APA resolution recommending the immediate retirement of  American Indian Mascots, the findings were conclusive and clear. From the the 2005  study, “ the American Psychological Association (APA) called for the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams and organizations. APA’s position is based on a growing body of social science literature that shows the harmful effects of racial stereotyping and inaccurate racial portrayals, including the particularly harmful effects of American Indian sports mascots on the social identity development and self-esteem of American Indian young people.

Research has shown that the continued use of American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities has a negative effect on not only American Indians students but all students by:”

“The use of American Indian mascots as symbols in schools and university athletic programs is particularly troubling because schools are places of learning. These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and too often, insulting images of American Indians. These negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students.”

– Former APA President Ronald F. Levant, EdD


“We make the case in the report that young Native people in too many cases grow up with these team names in their communities” and “The debate we’ve been seeing around these mascots is really missing the point,” report co-author Erik Stegman told USA TODAY Sports. “There are real impacts that we see in Native youth around the country. They have lower self esteem because of these mascots. And they have the worst education outcomes in the nation. It all points to the need to retire these mascots across the board, at K through 12 and post-secondary schools and in professional leagues.”

The report recommends:

– The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights should use its full authority to enforce civil rights protections for Native students and promote a safe and welcoming learning environment.

– State-level boards of education should identify schools in their states with Native mascots and examine their impact.

– Nonprofit legal assistance organizations and law school clinics should develop programs for Native students who want to file complaints.

– The federal government and foundations should fund new research on the impact of Indian mascots.

then they have to deal with them for the rest of their lives on the pro level,” Stegman said. “These names lead to a basic misunderstanding by non-Native people of tribal people across the country and until we actually get rid of all of these, as the American Psychological Association recommended almost a decade ago, we are never going to change that.”From USA Today article,

From Mr. Leno’s statement on mascots, “Our people are proud to be known as Indians, Braves, Warriors and Chiefs. The Oregon State Board of Education recently made the right decision to approve a rule that reinforces the Legislature’s bill allowing for federally recognized tribes and neighboring school districts to enter into agreements on culturally:acceptable and respectable mascot imagery. This is not respect.


It seems like Reyn Leno is the perfect Native token for racists….And his claim money could be better spent on education doesn’t hold water either. Adidas announced in November, “About 2,000 high schools still use monikers and mascots that “cause concern for many tribal communities,” according to the company, which sent executives to the conference and announced it will be a founding member of a coalition that reviews the issue of Native American imagery in sports.”

So why would any tribal leaders advocate for these offensive mascots?  Well Reyn Leno released an official statement, but it really says nothing other than, I don’t care, it serves my purpose, racism be damned, cultural appropriation be damned, the psychological health of our children be damned. “In light of the manifold struggles that America’s first inhabitants have faced, attaching any Indian name to a multimillion-dollar sports franchise seems the most incongruous of honors,” Saunt wrote.

It’s not an honor. First of all, most are a generic depiction of what never was, appropriated from the plains tribes or Mohawks, give the impression that the image that Hollywood perpetuated is accurate,  and further degrade true culture. Tomahawk chops,  not honorable. Redskins….. that term is beyond offensive. I’ve had people tell me it’s a term referring to our brave warriors. No. It refers to the bounty on the scalps of Natives. Even women and children.  

This is not political. That is just a way of justifying racism. Being politically correct has nothing to do with it.  Would it be offensive if a team was named the Washington Wetbacks? Alabama Porch monkeys and the fans can show up in black face? Yes. I think we can all agree that would be offensive. So why is it a  politically correct liberal agenda when Native Americans say “ I am not ok with this offensive imagery”?  It’s dehumanizing.  After centuries of being called savages ( it’s even in the Declaration of Independence “ He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”).  And just because there are a few that have said it doesn’t bother them, or because Snyder swooped in with money, doesn’t make it ok, nor does it mean they speak for Native Americans as a whole. They don’t even speak for their tribe as a whole. As is the case with Grande Ronde Chairman Reyn Leno. I personally don’t think he is qualified to speak for any Native Americans. Especially when he will use his own members of his tribe and their connection to ancestral land to block casinos and then strip said members of their heritage, their birthright.

““If you see a black person and someone tells you all the slaves were black people, you see the shadow of slavery every time you see a black face. But we Indians, we mix up pretty well. There’s been lots of intermarriage, there were lots of rapes in the old days.

“You see an Indian who looks almost white and is driving a pickup truck and shopping at Wal-Mart, you don’t make the connection to someone who looked like Sitting Bull or Chief Joseph. So the Washington Redskins and that bucktoothed son of a bitch Cleveland Indian don’t connect in your minds with us today. Those are old Indians, and we’re supposed to be new Indians. We’re supposed to not care. What you don’t see is that those old Indians were our grandmothers and grandfathers.” Kent Nerburn’s Wolf and Twilight.

Mr. Leno is beyond reprehensible. From betrayal of all Native Americans with his ridiculous advocacy of racist imagery, to corrupt disenrollment, to ethics violations he has become the very example of evil. He is a traitor.  I personally wouldn’t mind seeing his banishment at best, at worst, traditional punishment for the worst of traitors. I cannot express the absolute disgust I feel for this man’s actions against his own tribe. With numbers so few, fractured across the land, the very real obstacles and issues facing so many tribes, to see him intentionally cause harm may be the greatest crime I’ve seen outside murder or rape, and I’m not so sure this doesn’t qualify as murder and rape in a sense.

“In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred-everything is for sale” Oren Lyons Onondaga

Sara Ivie-Trankler

February 6, 2016



Ethics Complaints

Mr. Leno’s statement on mascots

Quote From The Wolf at Twilight


Abramhoff’s Playbook

Further Reading



7 thoughts on “Profile of Tribal Corruption Reyn Leno

  1. I have fought since 2012 to get rid of mascots, especially the Molalla high school mascot since that is my district. I was in hearings where Leno and some of his awful Tribal Council testified to have the power to approve these racist cartoons. One of the Grand Ronde Tribal Council members actually told an Oregon Legislature Education Committee that bullying and prejudice are usual in schools and kids just have to get over it. I about choked at the ignorance of these corrupt power hungry Grand Ronde Tribal Council members.

    I am not a Native American but I tried to reason via email with that Tribal Council. I was blown off. I have to pay taxes in a school district that gets to keep a racist stereotype because Leno and his Tribal Council are afraid of blowback against their huge profit making casino if they stand up against cultural appropriation? When will the members of the Grand Ronde Tribe wake up and see how Leno and his cronies are throwing millions of dollars to lobby – it’s all on Follow the Money. The corruption and power mongering is ugly and should be rejected by the Tribal members.


  2. You’re on the outside, looking in. This article is garbage. And Andy Jenness being a source/reference is the biggest joke. Lol. This whole little story is a joke. Why did you write it? Are you even affiliated with the Grand Ronde Tribe?


  3. This whole article is GARBAGE bet you were paid by the “fab five”, Andy Jewess or the T family.. What’s your name? Why is it not at the top of the article you stand behind…


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