Tribal Beat

Exploring the lives of East County's Tribal Community

BARONA RESORT AND CASINO TO REOPEN STARTING WEDNESDAY,MAY 27

By Miriam Raftery

May 26, 2020 (Lakeside) – Barona Resort & Casino is the latest tribal casino to  begin a phased reopening,  starting tomorrow. The casino and hotel, including some restaurants, will be open with reduced capacity and new sanitation requirements.


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CASINO PAUMA TO REMAIN TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR SAFETY OF ITS GUESTS, COMMUNITY AND EMPLOYEES

East County News Service

May 22, 2020 (Pauma Valley) – Bucking the trend of several local casinos that reopened this week or have announced upcoming reopening dates, Casino Pauma on Wednesday announced that it will remain closed indefinitely, choosing to following the advice of Governor Gavin Newsom and health officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.


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VIEJAS CASINO REOPENING BALANCES ECONOMIC NEED AND PUBLIC SAFETY

By Helen Horvath

Photo, left:  Worker sanitize chips, cards and table with UV lighting; screenshot from Viejas video

On May 18, 2020, the Viejas tribe took the bold leadership step of reopening Viejas Casino & Resort in collaboration with other tribal nations in San Diego in advance of the Stage 3 opening recommended by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom.

 ECM visited the casino on opening day, speaking with employees, guests and a union official about their experiences and the many changes in place due to COVID-19.


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JAMUL CASINO TO BEGIN PHASED RE-OPENING ON MAY 18, 2020

Opening with enhanced cleaning protocols and technology after COVID-19 closure, casino also offers take-out dinners with phase-in of restaurants planned

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 15, 2020 (Jamul) -- After a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamul Casino today announced a phased-in reopening.  On May 18, a soft reopening at 10 a.m. is planned for its Sweetwater Rewards Club VIP guests (amber level and above), followed by a public reopening on May 20. Hours will be limited from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. until May 21, when 24-hour gaming operations are slated to resume.


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TWO MORE LOCAL CASINOS ANNOUNCE REOPENING PLANS, BUT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER OPPOSES ACTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo: Sycuan Casino

Updated May 14 with additional information from County Public Health Officer Wilima Wooten

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Following Viejas’ announced plans to reopen its casino on May 18, Sycuan and Valley View casinos have unveiled plans to reopen on May 19 and 21. All are on Native American reservations, and each has detailed plans for modifications aimed at protecting safety of the public and guests including face masks, sanitation procedures and social distancing.

However in a press conference today,  San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten voiced concerns and indicated that the county does not agree with the casinos’ reopening plans.  “If. they do open and ignore our request not to open, then we would definitely have to ensure that they put stringent practices in place to help protect the public health. But opening up casinos will cause a risk to our public health. That is very clear; it creates gatherings of individuals,” she stated.

Later she indicated the county has reached out to the federal government to potentially block the casinos from reopening, NPR reports. 

Tribal reservations are considered sovereign nations that make their own laws, however state and federal officials do have some powers to intervene if public health is at risk. It remains to be seen whether authorities will allow the casino openings to proceed, or take steps to require modifications or prevent openings.


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A WINNING BET? VIEJAS CASINO PREPARES TO REOPEN WITH CHANGES TO PROTECT GUESTS

By Miriam Raftery

May 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With casinos, hotels and other tribal enterprises shut down since March due to COVID-19 as stay-home orders remain in effect statweide, San Diego’s Native American tribes have been hard-hit economically. In addition to losing gaming revenues, many tribal members also lost their jobs. For non-gaming tribes that depend largely on shared revenues from tribes with casinos, some tribal members still live below the poverty level, so the consequences of the shut-down have been severe.


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INDIAN HEALTH COUNCIL IN VALLEY CENTER AWARDED FEDERAL GRANT FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

 
East County News Service
 
April 21, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has expedited its process to yesterday release $110 million in emergency grants to strengthen access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Locally, the Indian Health Council in Valley Center is the recipient of a $420,300 grant. For details on their grant and others awarded, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/awards/2020/FG-20-006.   
 
“Within just a few weeks of Congress providing these grant funds, SAMHSA is distributing them to help Americans with substance use disorders and serious mental illness receive the treatment they need during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “SAMHSA has been working around the clock to ensure that Americans are getting access to the mental healthcare they need, whether for preexisting mental health conditions or for challenges arising during this emergency. President Trump has made mental health a priority throughout his time in office, and HHS will make support for quality mental healthcare a priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis.”

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CAMPO TRIBE'S FORMER CHAIR LA CHAPPA AND 64 MEMBERS PETITION FOR SPECIAL MEETING OVER ALLEGEDLY “CORRUPT ACTIONS” OF LEADERSHIP UNDER CHAIRMAN CUERO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Monique La Chappa

March 26, 2020 (Campo) – After Campo tribal chair Harry Paul Cuero Jr. reportedly refused to recognize a motion or allow a vote on a petition to overturn approval of the new Campo Wind project, as ECM reported, a new petition (posted below this article) has reportedly been presented to Cuero which seeks to remove him and potentially other executive committee members from office.

The petition, which former Chair Monique La Chappa says has been signed by 64 tribal general counsel members, calls for a “vote to stop the corrupt actions of our Campo tribal leadership.” She indicates 64 signatures meets the threshhold which would mandate that  a meeting and vote be held.

But she and others fear the Chair may not respect the tribal constitution or federal laws, citing a pattern of disregarding such requirements in recent years in what La Chappa contends amounts to "a dictatorship," she told ECM an in exclusive interview.


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NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES NOT GETTING AID TO FIGHT COVID-19: FEDS OFFER EXPIRED RESPIRATORS TO TRIBAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2020 (San Diego) – Health clinics at Native American reservations as well as urban Indian healthcare centers are running dangerously low on medical supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 crisis and protect healthcare workers, Politico reports


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ALL EAST COUNTY CASINOS TO CLOSE MARCH 21-31 DUE TO COVID-19

Barona, Campo, Jamul, Sycuan, and Viejas Jointly Announce Casino Closures in Response to Coronavirus crisis

Source: Kumeyaay Nation

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County)  — Tribal government leaders of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Jamul Indian Village, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians today jointly announced that they are temporarily closing their casinos amid concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) beginning on Friday, March 20 at noon through the end of the month.

The Tribes are united in this decision to close for the health and well-being of the community, their guests and approximately 9,000 employees. Despite this closure, it is their hope that they can continue to provide emergency services for their respective communities.

 

In Campo, the gas station and convenience store will remain open for the convenience of residents.


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DANCING WITH THE STARS LIVE TOUR COMING TO SYCUAN ON MARCH 26

Tickets are now on sale

 

Source Sycuan

 

February 21, 2019 (El Cajon) -- America’s favorite dance show is going back on tour this winter with “Dancing with the Stars – Live Tour 2020.” The longest tour to date will be dancing through Sycuan Casino Resort on March 26 at 8 p.m. The all-new production will feature fan-favorite professional dancers wowing audiences with every type of dance style as seen on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars.


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CAMPO TRIBAL MEMBERS PLEAD FOR LEGAL HELP, ALLEGE RIGHTS VIOLATED IN WIND PROJECT APPROVAL: PETITION SEEKS REVOTE ON CONTROVERSIAL PROJECT

“Our reservation is in dire financial condition. We have really nothing to give our youth…All we have are false promises.” – Denis Largo, tribal elder who delivered a petition calling for a vote to overturn wind project approval

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Tribal elder Dennis Largo

February 14, 2020 (Campo)—Whistleblowers in the Campo band of Mission Indians claim that their tribal leadership pushed through approval of a massive wind project during an improperly noticed meeting. They have now collected enough signatures to overturn that approval with a revote.  But despite the Feb. 13th deadline to notify tribal members of a meeting to revote on the controversial project, several tribal members say they have not received any such notice.   

The proposed Campo Wind project would allow 60 turbines built by Terra-Gen on the reservation. Each would be 586 tall, the tallest wind turbines ever built on land, according to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which also opposes the project.


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REZ RADIO 91.3 TO AIR 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT FORUM IN VALLEY CENTER FEB. 7

East County News Service
 
February 6, 2020 (Pala) -- Rez Radio 91.3 will broadcast and live stream the 50th Congressional District candidates forum scheduled for Friday, February 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Valley Center High School’s Maxine Theater.  Candidates expected to attend include in alphabetical order, Ammar Campa-Najjar, Carl DeMaio, Darrell Issa, and Brian Jones.  Moderators for the forum will be VCBA’s William Del Pilar and VC Roadrunner editor David Ross.

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CUYAMACA COLLEGE POWWOW RETURNS FEB. 1 WITH BIRD SINGERS, GOURD DANCING AND MORE

Source: Cuyamaca College
 
January 23, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Native American history and culture will be celebrated when tribes from throughout the West congregate at Cuyamaca College’s 6th Annual Powwow on Saturday, Feb. 1. Up to 2,500 people from throughout the region are expected to attend the free event that is open to the public.
 
The powwow begins at 9:30 a.m. with a traditional blessing, followed by the Ashaa Takook Bird Singers at 10 a.m., gourd dancing at 11 a.m. and Grand Entry at noon. The celebration continues until 8 p.m. and vendors will be selling Native American arts and crafts, fry bread and Indian tacos. Admission is free.


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STUDENTS IN MOUNTAIN EMPIRE DISTRICT LEARN KUMEYAAY “HISTORY ON THE GO” IN PARTNERSHIP WITH IMPERIAL VALLEY DESERT MUSEUM

East County News Service

January 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The Mountain Empire Unified School District in San Diego’s rural East County has forged a partnership with the Imperial Valley Desert Museum to offer Kumeyaay history classes in all of the district’s schools.

Below is information provided by Bob Bordelon, American Indian Education/Title VII facilitator at Mountain Empire, in conjunction with the museum:

The greatest challenge in education today is most often that of inclusion – engaging students with lessons and content that are both exciting and relevant to their own experiences and backgrounds.  The benefits of this are obvious, encouraging better behavior and performance academically and socially, and providing a better path forward for self improvement. The consequences otherwise are just as dramatic, with noninclusive and non-representative lessons leaving students feeling isolated, overlooked, and unimportant with little to no voice within their community.  Nowhere is this more true than among indigenous students enrolled in our public schools. Far too often, these students experience a higher level of misbehavior, lower scholastic performance, lower graduation rates, and even a loss of identity. These are students with the same energy and potential as their peers, but from such a situation that their future is tragically far-too-often altogether different.  As a traditionally overlooked and underdeveloped group, it is vitally important to work together in the 21st century to provide these students every opportunity for self-growth, self-esteem, and self-determination.


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​$10,000 REWARD OFFERED FOR INFO ON ELIJAH “BEAR” DIAZ, EL CAJON MAN MISSING SINCE 2015

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 16, 2020 (El Cajon) – Authorities yesterday announced a $10,000 reward for information to help find Elijah “Bear” Diaz, a member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians who vanished under suspicious circumstances in August 2015. 
 
He was 20 years old at the time and ill from diabetes.  “He was about to get his foot amputated. He couldn’t walk. He was in a wheelchair a few days before,” his mother, Lelanie Joe Thompson told ECM in a interview last year, adding that her son weighed only 110 pounds and could not have left on his own. She said Diaz had only two weeks of insulin left when he disappeared.

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BULL AND BOURBON STEAKHOUSE AT SYCUAN WINS AAA FOUR-DIAMOND RATING

East County News Service

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – In its first year of operation, the Bull and Bourbon restaurant at the Sycuan Casino Resort has earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Rating, one of three casino steakhouses in the San Diego region with the designation.

The Bull and Bourbon steakhouse features steaks cooked on a wood-fired Santa Maria grill. The restaurant has its ownbeef dry-aging room, complimented by single-barrel and other high-end bourbons.


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SAN DIEGO'S HISTORIC PLACES: MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK OFFERS INSIGHTS INTO KUMEYAAY

By Donald H. Harrison

Originally published at San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  Ewa’a on patio of Mission Trails Regional Park visitors center

December 8, 2019 (San Diego) - There are some 40 miles of trails in Mission Trails Regional Park along the San Diego River and surrounding grasslands and mountains. Hikers can view Kumeyaay and Spanish archaeological sites, possibly encounter some endangered animals and some dangerous ones, and be introduced to plants with characteristics so interesting they almost have personalities.


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SAN DIEGO'S HISTORIC PLACES: MISSION TRAILS VISITORS CENTER PROVIDES EXHIBITS ON KUMEYAAY LIFE

By Donald H. Harrison

Originally published at San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  Kumeyaay elders by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson

December 8, 2019 (San Diego) - The Visitors and Interpretive Center of Mission Trails Regional Park is low-tech compared to razzmatazz commercial attractions like Disneyland or Sea World, but it effectively teaches about Native American life and about nature. Its exhibits appeal to a full range of age groups with a variety of learning styles.


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VIEJAS HOSTS ROARING 20S NIGHT TO REMEMBER ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 22, 2019 (Alpine) – To ring in 2020, Viejas Casino & Resort is hosting a Roaring ‘20s themed New Year’s Eve bash that promises to be the resort’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration yet.

 

You’re invited to don your flapper dress or Gatsby get-up, then choose a package tailored to fit your fortune.  Festivities will span the ballrooms, pool bar, park, and beyond.

 

The invite adds, “See you there, revelers – it will be the bee’s knees!

For more information, visit https://viejas.com/new-years-eve-bash-2020/.


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KUMEYAAY LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT ACCEPTED

Source:  SDSU News Team

Photo:  SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement formally acknowledges Native and Indigenous people and to take specific action in support of the Kumeyaay.

November 6, 2019 (San Diego) - The SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement has been formally approved and will be adopted as part of ceremonial introductions at key campus events, as written statements on university web pages, and to encourage initiatives that bolster academic, professional and other support for students, faculty and staff. 


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SDSU SCHOOL OF THEATRE, TELEVISION, AND FILM PRESENTS A NATIVE PLAY BY BLACKFEET PLAYWRIGHT JASON GRASL: LYING WITH BADGERS

Directed by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) in SDSU’s Experimental Theatre; production is a collaboration with LA theatre company, Native Voices at the Autry

Source: SDSU

October 20, 2019 (San Diego) -- The SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film presents Lying with Badgers, a timeless story of hope, loss, identity, and wonder, from Friday, Nov. 1 to Sunday, Nov. 10 in SDSU’s Experimental Theatre.  


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BARONA CULTURAL CENTER & MUSEUM RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARD FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF TRIBAL ARCHIVES, LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

October 20, 2019 (Lakeside) – The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums (ATLAM) recently presented the 2019 International Guardians of Culture and Lifeways “Museum Institutional Excellence” Award to the Barona Cultural Center & Museum at its annual international conference in Temecula.

 

 

 

Story and photo courtesy of Barona

 


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KUMEYAAY ANCIENT ROCK ART BOOKS DONATED TO SCHOOLS

East County News Service

October 15, 2019 (San Diego, CA) -- For the past two years the Mountain Empire Unified School District’s Teachers and Native students received a gift of 500 full-color books including the photography and research of historical Kumeyaay rock art. Much of the rock art located along the U.S./Mexico border is within the school district’s boundaries. 


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SYCUAN CASINO RESORT OPENS TRIO OF TASTY NEW RESTAURANTS

East County News Service

September 25, 2019 (El Cajon) – Sycuan Casino Resort has opened three new restaurants:  the Bull and Bourbon steak house, the Elicit Lounge, and Retreat, a poolside venue complete with cabanas and swim-up bar.  View/download menus and learn more at Sycuan.com. 

Below are delicious details on the new Clique Hospitality offerings provided by Sycuan:


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SYCUAN POWWOW SEPT. 6-8 HONORS NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITIONS

 

The Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay nation will hold its 30th annual powwow from Friday evening, September 6 through Sunday, September 8 at the Sycuan powwow ground (5577 Dehesa Rd., El Cajon). 

 

The event features bird singing and Native American dance competitions, drumming, Native arts and crafts vendors, foods and more.


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SYCUAN BUYS FORMER VOLUNTEER FIRE STATION IN DEHESA

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Cal Fire:  Cal Fire doused a brush fire in Dehesa in July, operating out of a Cal Fire station. 
 
August 25, 2019 (Dehesa) – Going, going, gone.  A county auction sold off the former Dehesa fire station as surplus property on August 6th. The buyer is the Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay nation, which purchase the site for $650,000.  

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BARONA POWWOW AUG. 30-SEPT. 1 CELEBRATES NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITIONS

East County News Service

 

August 8, 2019 (Lakeside) - The 49thtth annual Barona Powwow takes place Friday, August 30th through Sunday, September 1st at the Barona Sports complex on the Barona Indian reservation.

 

The public is welcome to come watch Native dancers and drummers from across the nation compete at the powwow, where you can also find craft vendors and food such as tacos made with Native American fry bread. 


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PALA BAND OF MISSION INDIANS TO HOST 'HONORING TRADITIONS' GATHERING IN PLACE OF ANNUAL POW WOW AUGUST 31

Day-long event is free and open to the public

East County News Service

August 6, 2019 (Pala) -- The Pala Band of Mission Indians will hold its first annual “Honoring Traditions” Gathering on Saturday, August 31 at the Pala Rey Youth Camp on the Pala Indian Reservation.

While this new event replaces the Tribe’s longstanding Pow Wow Celebration, the Gathering will be dedicated to offering many of the same rich traditions of Pala–including bird songs, shinny games, bow and arrow making, peon lessons and demonstrations, a peon tournament and much more.


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SPANISH SOLDIERS, FRANCISCAN FRIAR AND NATIVE CALIFORNIANS REENACT PRESIDIO’S FOUNDING FOR CALIFORNIA'S 250TH BIRTHDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of California Missions Foundation

July 25, 2019 (San Diego) -- Soldados de Cuera, Native Californians and a Franciscan father depicting Saint Junípero Serra, came together on a hill high above San Diego  on July 16, at the original site of the first Mission and Presidio type garrison in Alta California – to commemorate what many call the Founding of California, exactly 250 years ago Tuesday. View video of the historic reenactment

The City of San Diego uses the date July 16, 1769 as its official birthdate, and  along with the rest of California, it celebrated its 250th birthday. Not only was Alta California’s first Mission and Presidio founded on this date, but also came the official recognition of the adjacent ocean port and the seeds of a united California under the Spanish, and later Mexican and U.S. flags.


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