March 13, 2014 (Santa Ysabel)—Iipay tribal member June Sortore has refused a request from tribal chairman Virgil Perez to take down a statue of a hand with the middle finger raised.
In a letter delivered to Sortore by tribal law enforcement, Chairman Perez called the hand-made statue ““indecent and offensive,” noting that it can be viewed by children on a school bus. Though the Iipay Tribal Chairman says the middle finger is an “obscene gesture,” Sortore says she erected the statute as a symbol of defiance against former Tribal Chairman Johnny Hernandez.
“I built the statue to show him we had not lost nor have we given up hope,” she says. She claims her form of expression is protected as free speech under the U.S. Constitution and further, that the symbol has historical significance.
March 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--The U.S. Justice Department has created a national task force to study impacts of violence on Native American children. Task force members have said they are shocked to find epidemic rates of suicide among young people on reservations.
March 3, 2014 (Pala) – Today, the Pala Band of Mission Indians hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to announce the grand opening of the new Deli & More at the Pala Mini-Mart, located at 11152 Hwy 76 in Pala.
Source: Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
March 1, 2014 (Alpine)-- Fire benefit fees will increase by 1.1 percent this year in Alpine as a result of a 3-2 vote by the Alpine Fire Protection District Board. The increase would be about 71 cents a year for the average single-family dwelling and $1.80 annually for the average business to a total of $65.59 per home and $164 per business, according to district staff. Board members made the decision after their annual benefit fee review at their Feb. 18 meeting, when they also approved buying a new fire pumper with the help of a $127,802 Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Grant.
February 24, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- It’s official: The Bureau of Indian Affairs has formally terminated the final Environmental Impact Statement for Shu’luuk Wind on the Campo Indian reservation in East County. The move comes after the Campo tribe’s General Council down the project and cancelled the tribe’s contract with Invenergy.
The BIA alo approved the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indian’s plan to lease Cuyapaipe Reservation lands for a portion of Iberdrola’s massive Tule Wind project. The Bureau of Land Management and County of San Diego previously approved portions of the project on federal and county lands.
February 21, 2014 (Lakeside)--The Barona Cultural Center & Museum will host an arrow-making class as part of the Ancient Spirits Speak series of classes on Saturday March 1, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
February 8, 2014 (Santa Ysabel) – One day after the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel’s tribal council met and voted to shut down its financially troubled casino in Santa Ysabel, employees arrived at work to find the facility closed last week. Patrons found a “closed for business” message on the casino’s website.
Now, a tribal business enterprise, Biostar Solar, offers a potentially brighter future.
February 6, 2014 (Jamul) Last night, the auditorium at the Jamul Middle School was filled beyond capacity. Residents came to learn the status of a controversy that started over 20 years ago over Jamul Indian Village’s plans to build a casino in this rural community.
Jamulians Against the Casino, a citizens’ group, led yesterday’s meeting and gave a presentation revealing that that three lawsuits have been filed seeking to halt the project.
February 6, 2014 (San Diego)--The Native American Flute Players will present an event at Mission Trails Regional Park at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 9.
The San Diego Native American Flute Players honor Native American music, and on the second Sunday of each month (except in June), they hold a "Flute Circle" in the Visitor Center's outdoor amphitheater from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
January 28, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Tribal members from the Quechan nation traveled by caravan to Ocotillo on January 17 and 18 to mourn the desecration of their ancestors’ burial grounds by the Ocotillo Express Wind Farm. Tribal members met at the Ocotillo Community Center and staged a run carrying a banner reading "We want respect for our ancestors' remains" to the wind site, where they held an all-night mourning ceremony for their ancestors.
Pattern Energy's industrial wind facility was built atop lands known as “Valley of the Dead” by Native American tribes for over 10,000 years. The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians also objected to the desecration of ancestral remains and persuaded the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) that the state should take action on their behalf, but those efforts were thwarted by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
January 11, 2014 (Jamul)-- Penn National Gaming announced yesterday that construction of a Hollywood-themed $360 million Casino at the Jamul Indian Village is ready to commence.
“We are very excited that our long-time dream will finally become a reality,” said Raymond Hunter, Chairman of the Jamul Indian Village. “We have worked tirelessly for well over a decade listening to the voices of the community, addressing concerns, and ultimately developing a project that blends seamlessly into the region, while creating approximately 2,500 much needed construction and permanent jobs in our region.”
Senator Joel Anderson Nominated Hill Creek Elementary School for Updated Technology
December 20, 2013 (Santee) – The Barona Band of Mission Indians is ending 2013 on a high note by awarding an education grant to a deserving local school. The program’s most recent $5,000 grant was presented by Councilwomen Beth Glasco and Bonnie LaChappa to Hill Creek Elementary in Santee, fulfilling important educational resources on both students’ and faculty’s holiday wish lists. Senator Joel Anderson nominated Hill Creek Elementary for the grant.
December 12, 2013 (Alpine) – When the curtain went up on stage at the DreamCatcher Lounge last night at Viejas Casino and Resort, it revealed 12,017 toys to benefit local children this holiday season.
Representatives of Viejas Tribal Council also presented a $15,000 check to East County Salvation Army Captain Terry Masango on behalf of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, along with the largest donation of toys ever received by the local Salvation Army chapter.
December 11, 2013 (Lakeside) -- Barona Resort & Casino has unveiled a charming gingerbread village called “Barona’s North Pole” which was cooked up by members of Barona’s award-winning culinary team. The village was the creation of Chef de Cuisine Erin DePompeo and Chef de Partie Ashley Rodney with help from Chef Jose Barajas.
Measuring 50 feet long, the gingerbread village welcomes guests to Barona’s bustling food court and entrance to the Season’s Fresh Buffet. The team spent more than 900 hours creating the winter wonderland on weekends and before and after their shifts.
December 10, 2013 (Boulevard) – Clover Flat Elementary School in Boulevard, CA was awarded $5,000 from the Barona Education Grant Program this morning. Representatives from the Barona Band of Mission Indians and Assemblyman Brian Jones will be presented the grant to Clover Flat School, which is comprised of students from the Boulevard and Jacumba communities. The grant was written by Alpine resident, Donna Burton. Mrs. Burton is a second grade teacher and assistant principal at Clover Flat Elementary School in the Mountain Empire Unified School District.
December 7, 2013 (Alpine) – On December 11th at 6 p.m., the curtain will rise at the Viejas Dreamcatchers Lounge to reveal results of this year’s Viejas Holiday Toy Drive. The goal is to bring in donations of 10,000 toys to brighten the holidays for East County families in need.
The Viejas band of the Kumeyaay Indians joins in the 39th annual East County Toy Drive to support Stoney’s Kids and Salvation Army of East County.
November 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) – Earlier this year, we covered Robert Lundahl’s powerful documentary about threats to ancient, large-scale Native American geoglyphs—sacred sites that stand in the way of massive energy projects.
Now an online petition implores President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to stop the destruction of these sacred sites near Blythe, California along the Colorado River. A related spoke wheel geoglyph in Ocotillo was also at risk and now stands surrounded by wind turbines. But now an ancient Kokopillo is at risk of being destroyed completely.
November is the 2013 American Indian heritage month and Union Bank and KPBS have honored two very special Native American women with Local Heroes awards: Jane Dumas, an elder with the Jamul band of Kumeyaay Indians, and San Diego State University's Rose Margaret Orrantia.
To hear our exclusive interview with Sycuan Chairman Daniel Tucker, click here.
By Miriam Raftery
November 14, 2013 (El Cajon ) – History books in California schools teach a view of our past that focuses on Spanish missionaries , conquistadors and other Europeans while omitting the Kumeyaay Native American people who had lived here for thousands of generations before the first settlers came. A new documentary produced by the Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay nation aims to change that.
Our People, Our Culture, Our History premiered this week and will be distributed to local schools. The film reveals a side of San Diego history that most area residents have never been taught—the exploitation and near extermination of the Kumeyaay people. This powerful film also documents a triumph of the human spirit, detailing the Sycuan band’s struggle to survive and thrive as a new generation rediscovers a heritage nearly lost.
Production Details Kumeyaay History and Sycuan’s Evolution in the Region
November 6, 2013 (El Cajon)-- On Friday morning, Sycuan will debut a historical documentary that chronicles its 12,000-year existence in the present-day San Diego/Northern Baja region. It’s taken 16 months to produce and features local Native American anthropologists, historians and curators who help weave and trace the Kumeyaay ancestry. It also contains biographical accounts that make it an even more compelling and thought provoking piece.
“It really shows our history from a perspective that most people have never heard of, it goes beyond anything in textbooks and accounts ever written or told about the Kumeyaay and Sycuan,” said Daniel Tucker, Chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
November 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – A first-time visitor to Viejas Casino & Resort hit a whopping $58,221.78 jackpot after playing for just six minutes on a penny slot machine.
The lucky winner, from Whittier, California, was visiting a friend from El Cajon, who is a frequent guest at Viejas Casino & Resort. After enjoying the Buffet at Viejas on October 26, the El Cajon friend hit the casino floor for some table games play, and the visitor decided to try her luck on the Cash Multi-Spin penny slot machine. And after just six minutes of play, she hit the jackpot, according to Viejas.
November 6, 2013 (El Cajon) — Actor Saginaw Grant, a Sac and Fox Indian who has played numerous Native American roles in the movies and on television, said at a Student Veteran Organization event at Grossmont College on Monday, Nov. 4. that every combat veteran comes home with hidden wounds caused by the things they saw or did. However, he said, it’s important that they banish negative thoughts from their minds: “You can’t change those things by thinking about them.”
Grant, who had served in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict, said even after separating from the military service, veterans should continue to honor the proud military traditions that have been passed down for generations. Likewise, Grant, who appeared in the 2013 movie The Lone Ranger as the Comanche Chief Big Bear, said that his Indian people should carefully listen and then honor the lessons that have been transmitted for eons in their oral traditions.
October 24, 2013 (Alpine) -- Viejas Casino & Resort has launched its annual Holiday Toy Drive to support the local Salvation Army. With the help of Viejas Team Members and guests, the goal is to provide 10,000 toys to deserving families in San Diego and Imperial Counties. That’s up from a target of 5,000 toys last year.
October 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Residents in Jamul are voicing concerns over a repaving project along State Route 94 that is causing dangerous conditions and delays of up to a half hour. Multiple sources have advised ECM that no warning signs are posting to warn motorists that traffic has been reduced to one lane. The delays are projected to continue through January.
Kim Hamilton, editor of the Deerhorn Valley Antler, says the current situation may be just a precursor of traffic congestion that could occur if a proposed casino at the Jamul Indian Casino is built. Already, State Route 94 has a fatality rate per mile that is nearly six times the countywide average—before any casino is built.
Labor and business groups voice support for casino jobs; residents ask why community was excluded from meetings with Governor's staff, including a site visit
By Miriam Raftery
October 12, 2013 (Jamul) – A senior advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, Jacob Appelmith, has confirmed in a letter to Jamul Indian Village Tribal Chairman Raymond Hunter that the tribe has met requirements of the Tribal-State Gaming compact for a proposed casino on Highway 94 in Jamul. “As you are aware, the State supports the Tribe’s efforts to mitigate any and all of the significant off-Reservation impacts,” the letter continued.
Sports: The Competitive Spirit at Barona is Now Open to the Public
Photo: Vice Chairman Harold Hill, Curator Cheryl Hinton, and Brian VanWanseele, Barona Tribal member and President of the Board of Directors for Inter Tribal Sports
October 8, 2013 (Lakeside) – To celebrate the history of sports on the Barona Indian Reservation, the Barona Cultural Center & Museum recently opened a new exhibition entitled Sports: The Competitive Spirit at Barona. The exhibit, on display this October through 2014, features Native American sports heroes from around the country as well as from the Barona Indian Reservation. Admission is free.
September 30, 2013 (Lakeside) -- A world-famous gambler and poker player known for the largest and longest documented winning streak in gambling history has been charged in a card-marking scheme at Barona Casino, the District Attorney’s Office announced. He reportedly cheated the casino out of more than $8,000.
Anargyros Karabourniotis, 62, also known as ‘Archie Karas,’ was caught, by the Barona Gaming Commission, marking cards at the casino’s blackjack table in Lakeside back in July, the DA’s Office said. He was arrested at his Las Vegas home on Tuesday and will be extradited to San Diego to face charges of burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating.
“This defendant’s luck ran out thanks to extraordinary cooperation between several different law enforcement agencies who worked together to investigate and prosecute this case,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
September 19,2013 (Alpine)—Friday the 13th proved lucky at Viejas Casino & Resort, where three Guinness world records were set on September 13 th in celebration of the casino’s 22nd anniversary.
“It’s a challenge, a difficult,” Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator Philip Roberts said after Viejas employees and guests teamed up to open 639 bottles of wine simultaneously. This broke the old record set in Las Vegas of 474.
Those gathered went to set another world record for most people giving high fives in one place: 684. The former record (405) was held by the United Arab Emirates, Roberts announced as the crowd cheered.
Concerns remain among residents over traffic impacts from proposed casino at Jamul Indian Village
September 12, 2013 (Jamul) – The Jamul/Dulzura Community Planning Gorup has received a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for roadway improvements to Highway 94. These would include widening of the highway to provide access to the Jamul Indian Reservation, where a casino is proposed, as well as improvements to intersections of Highway 94 and Jamacha Boulevard, Jamacha Road, Steel Canyon Road, Lyons Valley Road, and Maxfield Road. deerhornvalley.net/CaltransNOP.pdf
“These improvements would be necessary to help handle the 10,000 extra casino-bound vehicles daily,” Deerhorn Valley Antler editor Kim Hamilton said in an e-mail.
Cal Trans will hold a meeting on Tuesday, September 17 from 5-8 p.m. at Cottonwood Golf Club, 3121 Willow Glen Drive in EL Cajon.