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Tribal Views




Exploring the lives of East County's Tribal Community

FEDS DRAW CRITCISM FOR HEARINGS ON SACRED SITES: TRIBES ASK WHY NO RECORDINGS WERE MADE NOR NOTES TAKEN

 

Tribal representatives say Interior Dept.  is not sincere about resolving concerns over sacred site desecrations by renewable energy projects on public lands

By Miriam Raftery

August 21, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Why did the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) host the first in a series of five “listening sessions” with Native American leaders ostensibly to address tribal concerns over impacts of renewable energy projects on public lands—yet didn’t bother to take notes or record the sessions?

Why are no listening sessions scheduled in California or anywhere near our state, where some of the most controversial renewable energy projects are being built atop the graveyards of Native Americans’ ancestors?   

ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY: TRIBAL GAMING A POWERFUL ECONOMIC ENGINE FOR CALIFORNIA, GENERATING $7.5 BILLION FOR STATE'S ECONOMY

August 11, 2012 (Sacramento, CA) – Tribal government gaming generates important benefits across California’s economy, according to a new study conducted by Beacon Economics, a leading independent economic research firm. The study, commissioned by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), surveyed gaming and non-gaming tribes across the state, including a cross section of large and small casinos in urban and rural markets with a range of amenities including hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and entertainment venues. The study finds that Indian gaming operations provide significant benefits throughout California’s economy.

BLM RESPONDS TO ECM INQUIRY ON NATIVE AMERICAN REMAINS AT WIND SITES

By Miriam Raftery

July 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – After forensic dog teams identified dozens of potential ancient human remain sites at energy projects on Bureau of Land Management property in Ocotillo and McCain Valley, as ECM reported this week, ECM asked the BLM what steps it intends to take to assure that any Native American remains are protected.

Two officials from the BLM have responded to our inquiry.

DOG TEAMS SEARCH FOR NATIVE AMERICAN REMAINS IN MCCAIN VALLEY , OCOTILLO AND JACUMBA

 

Canines identify dozens of sites in path of wind and power line projects

 

Wind developers “cooperate” with tribes on searches-- but SDG&E refuses to allow dogs on its ECO-Substation site

 

 

Story by Miriam Raftery

Photos by Tom and Nadin Abbott, Miriam Raftery, and Jim Pelley

July 18, 2012 (McCain Valley) – Weaving across cactus-studded terrain in McCain Valley, Piper, a border collie trained to find ancient human remains, pauses to sniff the ground.  Ears erect, he sits, alerting handler Lynne Engelbert, who records the GPS coordinates. (Click video to view.) Minutes later, Piper’s find is independently confirmed by a second search dog.

HOUSE BILL WOULD MAKE IT COSTLY FOR PLAINTIFFS WHO SUE TO BLOCK ENERGY PROJECTS ON TRIBAL LANDS

 

 

Bill would also ban public from accessing environmental impacts of tribal projects

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2012 (Washington D.C.) –The Native American Energy Act, HR 3973, has been approved by the House Natural Resources Committee. The bill, which seeks to remove “bureaucratic obstacles” to energy production on tribal lands, would also severely impede residents, environmentalists or even neighboring tribes who file lawsuits to stop tribal energy projects.

SANTA YSABEL RESORT & CASINO SEEKS DEBT RESTRUCTURING

July 4, 2012 (Santa Ysabel) -- An official of the Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino announced that the facility will continue to operate as usual while it seeks to restructure its debt under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law.

The tribeʼs attorneys filed the petition yesterday in federal bankruptcy court Southern District of California.

EIGHT TRIBAL NATIONS MOURN LOSSES AT OCOTILLO WIND SITE

 

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
June 24, 2012 -- A sliver of moon and a spangle of stars shone down on the Ocotillo desert last night, where representatives from eight tribal nations joined in ceremonies to honor their ancestors.  Hundreds of people from across the southwestern U.S. came to mourn the desecration of Native American sacred lands, cremation sites and the natural environment that is now occurring on public land. 
 
As twilight melted into darkness across the shifting sands and jagged ridgelines, the night’s silence was broken only by the whistling of the wind and the cadence of ancient Native American songs unchanged for the past 10,000 years. But that way of life—and the peaceful presence of this place--may soon be gone forever.  

SUPREME COURT RULING COULD IMPACT JAMUL INDIANS' CASINO PLANS

June 19, 2012 (Jamul)—The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 8 to 1 that a lawsuit seeking to shut down a Michigan casino can go forward.

The suit, filed by casino opponent David Patchak, argues that the federal government acted illegally in placing land in trust for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish (Gun Lake) band of Pottawotami Indians, because the tribe was not recognized until after the Indian Reorganization Act passed in 1934.

The Supreme Court stated that the decision was not based on the merits of the case. Should Patchak’s argument prevail, however, the ramifications could impact some 50 other recently recognized tribes across the nation--including the Jamul Indians.

ALL-NIGHT WAKE: PUBLIC IMPLORED TO JOIN TRIBES AT OCOTILLO WIND SITE


East County Magazine to form carpools from San Diego to desert vigil June 23-24

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2012 (Ocotillo) –  As bulldozers raze their ancestors’ graves, Native American tribes across the southwest are asking for the public’s help to stop the desecration. 

If you believe this heartbreak funded by taxpayer dollars is wrong, please join with tribes of all nations to take a spiritual stand together against despoilment of these once protected desert lands for private corporate gain.

Determined to halt the Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express wind energy project, tribes of all nations will gather for a traditional dusk-to-dawn ceremony to mourn disruption of their ancestors' burial sites. From 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 to dawn on Sunday, June 24, members of the public are encouraged to join with Native American neighbors in the Ocotillo desert for these spiritual ceremonies.

VIEJAS ROLLS OUT “SAY YES TO BOWLING!” FREE SUMMER PROGRAM FOR KIDS & TEENS

 

 
By Sierra Robinson

June 8, 2012 (Alpine) – Looking for something fun, free and cool for the kids to do this summer? Your child or teen can receive a free bowling game each week-day this summer, along with bowling shoes, in Viejas Bowl’s new “Say Yes to Bowling” program.  The fun starts in June and continues on through August.

 

TRIBAL MEMBERS HOLD VIGIL AT OCOTILLO WIND SITE

Public asked to join with tribes on June 23



“The snake was moved but kept coming back, just like our people.  We will continue to keep coming back.” – Preston Arrowweed, Quechan elder. He believes unusual animal visitations at site are signs from Indian spirits, asking his people to help.

By Miriam Raftery

Jim Pelley, Denee ‘Estevane’ Woolley, and Susan Massey also contributed to this report

June 7, 2012 (Ocotillo)—Neither blistering heat nor blowing dust dissuaded Native Americans from at least four tribes from taking part in a five-day occupation in Ocotillo last week. 

They came to be with the spirits of their ancestors.  They also aim to show that desert devastation occurring with construction of the Ocotillo Express wind facility is wrong and must be stopped. 

COUNTY ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS AGAINST TRIBE COULD VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW

 
May 29, 2012 (Santa Ysabel) – The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), the federal agency charged with oversight of gaming on Indian lands, has warned the County of San Diego that its recent debt collection effort against the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel could violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). 

 

GROSSMONT, CUYAMACA COMMENCEMENTS BRING A CLOSE TO CHALLENGING ACADEMIC YEAR

 
May 26, 2012 (El Cajon) -- More than 2,300 students will be receiving their degrees or certificates from East County’s two community colleges at month’s end, capping a year marked by the state’s ongoing budget crisis. 
Cuyamaca College will honor 695 students receiving associate degrees and certificates of achievement Wednesday, May 30, at the 34th annual commencement at the college’s student center quad. On Thursday, May 31, Grossmont College will laud 1,664 students receiving their degrees and certificates at the college’s 51st commencement at the main quad. The ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
 

FORMER CHARGER HANK BAUER TO HOST NEXT GENERATIONS GALA AND GOLF TOURNAMENT

 
May 25, 2012 (Lakeside)– Celebrating 10 years of service to the Tribal communities of Southern California, Inter Tribal Sports (ITS) ambassadors Bill Walton (NBA Hall of Fame) and Lorenzo Neal (NFL All-Pro) invite San Diegans to join former San Diego Charger Hank Bauer at the NeXt Generations Gala and Golf Tournament at Barona Creek Golf Course in Lakeside on June 29.

VIEJAS CASINO OPENS STUNNING NEW BUFFET

 

“As one of the first called to the table at Buffet at Viejas, I wish to say, ‘Thank you for a memorable feast. It was delightful.’”—Ariele Johannson
 
by Ariele Johannson
 
May 23, 2012 (Alpine)--The new Buffet at Viejas had its grand opening on Tuesday morning.  The fanfare included a tribal blessing from Kumeyaay elder Virginia Christman and traditional bird songs led by tribal member John Christman. Viejas Tribal Vice Chairman, Robert “Cita” Welch, addressed a crowd of tribal elders, leaders, local dignitaries, Chamber of Commerce representatives, public and the press during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. With the smell of sage in the air being prepared for the smudging, he called the new buffet at Viejas among the best in the San Diego area.  

HUNTER, BILBRAY AND ISSA VOTE TO WEAKEN PROTECTIONS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN & OTHER MINORITIES VICTIMIZED BY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 18, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) sharply criticized HR 4970, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a narrow 222-205 vote.  The House version of the Violence Against Women Act contained amendments that weaken protections for domestic violence victims on tribal lands, as well as for immigrant and gay women.

It's a shame that this so-called violence against women bill could actually cause violence to women," said Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who voted against the measure. "This bill is outright dangerous."

But San Diego’s three Republican Congressmen—Duncan Hunter, Brian Bilbray and Darrell Issa—all voted for the House measure. 

TRIBAL LEADERS WELCOME DALAI LAMA

 

May 18, 2012 (San Diego) -- This month’s cover story of Indian Voices features local tribal representatives welcoming spiritual leader and peace activist, the Dalai Lama, at San Diego State University. To view this story and the rest of the May issue, click here.      

SUIT FILED TO HALT OCOTILLO WIND AS COALITION HOLDS PROTESTS IN SAN DIEGO AND EL CENTRO

 

“This is nothing more than a public land grab for private profit. The BLM is literally giving this away to corporations…This may be out in the desert today, but tomorrow it could be in your backyard…Already over a dozen projects are proposed in San Diego and Imperial County.” – Robert Scheid, Viejas media relations

May 16, 2012 (La Jolla) – At a press conference yesterday outside the gleaming corporate towers occupied by Pattern Energy in La Jolla, a coalition of environmental groups, Native American tribes and outraged citizens urged President Barack Obama to stop fast-tracking of massive energy projects on public lands and halt construction at the Ocotillo Express wind facility immediately.

Heavy equipment has begun grading the site, ripping massive ocotillo cacti out by the roots, burying burrowing owl nesting sites and breaking hearts of the many people who love this  desert land.

ECM contacted the White House to request an interview with President Obama. No response has been received.

TRIBE ACCUSES COUNTY OF ILLEGALLY SEIZING NON-GAMING FUNDS; COUNTY DEFENDS ACTIONS

By Miriam Raftery
May 15, 2012 (Santa Ysabel) -- The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is accusing San Diego County officials of acting illegally in attempting seizure of the tribe’s governmental funds.

Tribal Chairman Virgil Perez said his Tribe’s agreement with the County allows the attachment of proceeds from the Tribe’s casino, but prohibits the County from seizing non-gaming funds.

Perez said he received notice that the County tried to seize every dollar the tribe had in over 20 accounts--including federal grant funds obligated for operation of the tribal government, housing, environmental protection, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for road improvements, Indian Child Welfare Act matters, as well as state funds for elder and veterans services, and the minors trust fund.

SANTA YSABEL TRIBE TAKES A STAND FOR A “FAIR DEAL”

 
May 7, 2012 (Santa Ysabel)-- The Iipay Nation of the Santa Ysabel Tribe is holding its ground against San Diego County demands for a $3 million arbitration settlement. The tribe states that the county projections were unrealistic and fundamentally flawed. The Santa Ysabel Tribe affirms the casino is willing to pay a fair settlement within its actual, not projected, situation.

 

RETIRED FIREFIGHTER HITS $744,000 JACKPOT AT VIEJAS CASINO

 
Scripps Ranch man’s last-minute detour nets life-changing win

April 28, 2012 (Alpine) – A retired firefighter from Scripps Ranch is $744,553 richer after taking a detour to Viejas Casino while on an errand in Alpine.  Lloyd S. came to Alpine on April 23 to get his motorhome painted. When he discovered the shop was closed, he decided to make a quick detour to Viejas Casino. After just four spins on the popular Wheel of Fortune progressive slot machine, Lloyd hit it big with a jackpot totaling $744,553.18!

 

6TH ANNUAL SPRING GATHERING APRIL 28

April 27, 2012 (Alpine) – The Southern Indian Health Council, Inc. will be holding its 6th annual Spring Gathering on April 28 at 4058 Willows Road, Alpine from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  The event is to raise public awareness for sexual assault, child abuse and supervised visitation.

BROKEN PROMISES: OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT WINS APPROVAL DESPITE OUTCRY FROM TRIBES, RESIDENTS AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

 

 

April 26, 2012 (Ocotillo) – A former firefighter who has parachuted into raging wildfires, Viejas Community Relations Director Charlie Brown (photo, left above) has no shortage of courage. But he choked back tears as he spoke about what Ocotillo and its ancient geoglyphs means to him and other tribes that have long considered the site sacred.

Brown has heard stories from his grandfather, who lived to be 109, about Ocotillo--where mountains are named in tribal creation stories. He has taken his own son there to learn about his heritage. One giant geoglyph is registered on the National Registry of Historic Places. Tribes across the southwest convene here for sacred ceremonies.

But soon, Brown fears, the sound of turbines atop his ancestors’ graves will “be like beating on somebody’s soul…sacrificing something that’s been there for 10,000 years.”  http://youtu.be/FbPmplN2UDA.

VIEJAS CASINO OPENS NEW HIGH-STAKES BINGO ROOM

 

March 28, 2012 – Viejas Casino reached a major milestone, with the opening of a new high-stakes, high tech Bingo Room. Tribal elders, tribal leaders, local dignitaries, Chamber of Commerce representatives and the public all joined in the Grand Opening of the new Bingo Room. The ceremonies included a Tribal Blessing, traditional Native American Bird Songs and a ribbon cutting.

 

WIND STORM : TRIBES IMPLORE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO STOP OCOTILLO EXPRESS WIND PROJECT, SAVE CULTURAL RESOURCE SITES

 

“We believe that DOI [Department of the Interior] is poised to violate the law and our rights to religious freedom and our cultural identities guaranteed by DOI’s own policies, the United States Constitution, and international declarations. We need your help.” --Chairman Anthony Pico, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, in a letter to President Barack Obama

Part I in an ECM special report series on potential impacts of the Ocotilllo Wind Express project

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2012 (Ocotillo) – For months, Ocotillo residents and conservationists have been waging a David and Goliath battle seeking to stop Pattern Energy’s proposed Ocotillo Wind Express project. Now Kumeyaay, Cocopah,Quechan and other Native American tribes have banded together to oppose the massive project-- joining residents, desert conservation groups and outdoor enthusiasts who seek to protect resources from destruction—including hundreds of cultural and archaeological sites. 

On March 28, the Imperial Valley Planning Commission will rule on whether to approve the controversial project, which would generate power for San Diego County.  At the federal level, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior  is expected to issue a final decision  by May 1.  A petition seeking to stop the project has been launched by Ocotillo residents:  http://www.change.org/petitions/say-no- ... y-project#.  

THE BALL IS ROLLING ON A NEW CASINO PLAN FOR JAMUL INDIANS

Mia Myklebust

March 20, 2012 (Jamul)--The Jamul Indians have revived plans to build a casino on their 6.2-acre reservation—this time with a dramatically different approach.  The new plans reflect changes that seek to address backlash from neighboring community members who opposed failed proposals in the past.

TRIBAL LEADERS TO MEET WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY, CONSERVATION AND POLICY EXPERTS FRIDAY IN SAN DIEGO

San Diego Workshop Evaluates Controversial Large Solar and Wind Projects, Desert Conservation, “Rooftop” Solar and Distributed Energy Opportunities in Mexico and the U.S.

March 14, 2012 (San Diego) — Indigenous leaders from San Diego County and across the state are set to meet with renewable energy and conservation experts, and lawmakers in a workshop on Friday, March 16, to evaluate strategies for renewable energy implementation in Southern California and Northern Baja California, Mexico.

Controversial energy projects in the Southwest deserts have raised concerns about large-scale impacts to desert ecosystems, endangered and threatened species and Native American cultural resources. Several legal challenges by tribal and environmental groups are being heard in Federal Courts in the United States and Mexico. Projects have repeatedly been stopped and delayed.

KICK OFF SPRING WITH THE CHAMBER'S - MARCH MADNESS MIXER AND NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION MARCH 21

 
March 14, 2012 (Alpine) – The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce is kicking off spring with a March Madness Mixer and New Member Orientation on March 21.  The event is being held at Viejas Casino, Dreamcatcher Lounge, 5000 Willows Rd., Alpine from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Appetizers and cocktails will be served.

VIEJAS DONATES $2,500 FOR RECOVERY OF “CHANCE” THE DOG

 

March 1, 2012 (East San Diego County) -- The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has announced that they are donating $2,500 for the recovery of “Chance,” the dog that was found shot on the Viejas Reservation earlier this month.

VIEJAS BOWL WELCOMES NEW MANAGER, ANNOUNCES EMPHASIS ON FAMILY-FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT

 

February 28, 2012  (Alpine) -- Viejas Bowl, located at the Viejas Outlets in Alpine, California, is pleased to welcome their new manager – La Mesa native, Trevor Hagedorn. A former All-American on the powerhouse Wichita State bowling team, Trevor brings a wealth of bowling and bowling operations experience to the position.

 

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