Tribal Beat

Exploring the lives of East County's Tribal Community

SDSU NAMES SYCUAN AS INAUGURAL FOUNDING PARTNER OF NEW AZTEC STADIUM

Two key features of new facility will bear the Sycuan name.

By SDSU News Team

December 2, 2021 (San Diego) – The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Sycuan Casino Resort will be San Diego State University’s inaugural Founding Partner for the new Aztec Stadium at SDSU Mission Valley, the university has announced.


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WORKER KILLED AT PAUMA ZIP LINE IDENTIFIED

East County News Service

November 27, 2021 (Pauma Valley) – The San Diego County Medical Examiner has identified Joaquin Romero, 34, of Banning, California as the worker who died on November 1st after a fall a day earlier in Pauma Valley at the La Jolla Zip Zoom line operated by the La Jolla Indian tribe. 


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NATIVE AMERICANS INCLUDING KUMEYAAY, SAN DIEGO ACTIVISTS AND SUPPORTERS FROM FOUR STATES STAND WITH HUALAPAI NATION IN OPPOSING PROPOSED LITHIUM MINE

By Henri Migala

November 18, 2021 (Wikieup, Ariz.) -- Few, if any, narratives in America are older, or more repeated, than the story of Native peoples struggling to protect their lands, resources, lifeways and even their culture, from exploitation, abuse and destruction. That very story is yet again unfolding with the Hualapai Nation in northern Arizona, where people are in a struggle to protect their ancestral lands from lithium mining. It’s a struggle that pits the long-term energy interests and demands of the United States against the cultural values of the Hualapai people, the health of the land and its inhabitants, and has nothing less at stake than the very survival of the entire Hualapai nation.


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JAMUL CASINO DONATES $10,000 TOWARDS DEPORTED VETERANS’ CAUSE AND HONORS COMMUNITY MEMBERS


By Elijah McKee

 

Photos by Elijah McKee and courtesy of Jamul Casino

 

Hear an audio version of this report which aired on the East County Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ, including excerpts of speakers, by clicking the audio link.

 

November 10, 2021 (Jamul) - “We always say ‘Everyone comes home.’ The reality is, hundreds came home, and then we deported them,” said Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors, as he addressed the crowd at Jamul Casino’s annual Veterans Day Celebration. 

 

Jamul Casino and the Jamul Indian Village tribe of the Kumeyaay Nation hosted the lunch event at its Rooftop venue to honor veterans in their community — both employees and tribal members — as well as to donate to a veterans’ organization. 

 

This year, the organization selected was Unified United States Deported Veterans (UUSDV), a chapter of Veterans for Peace. The $10,000 donation from Jamul Casino was awarded by Mary Cheeks, President and General Manager, and handed to Jan Ruhman, a project coordinator with UUSDV for the border region. 

Audio: 


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BILL TO PROTECT PALA INDIANS’ SACRED SITE PASSES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

East County News Service

November 2, 2021 (Pala) -- Bipartisan legislation to facilitate the Pala Band of Mission Indians’ work to protect a sacred San Diego County site passed in the House of Representatives today.  H.R. 1975 – The Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2021 – was authored by Congressman Darrel Issa (CA-50)  and cosponsored by Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51). 

The legislation will authorize the Secretary of the Interior to transfer approximately 720 acres of land – which includes a sacred site known locally as Gregory Mountain or Chokla– that was acquired by the Pala into trust for the benefit of the tribe and its members.

The action ends a two-decade battle by the tribe to prevent the Gregory Canyon Landfill.  In 2016, the land was purchased by the Pala Band of Mission Indians to prevent construction of a landfill on the mountain, a site of tremendous cultural significance to Pala tribal members. 


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PALA CASINO SPA RESORT TO HOST “MEET, EAT, AND GREET” CULINARY CAREER FAIR NOV. 2

East County News Service

October 26, 2021 (Pala) -- Pala Casino Spa Resort will host its next “Meet, Eat, and Greet” Culinary Career Fair  on November 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to promote employment opportunities with the Food & Beverage team. The culinary career fair will feature a unique mixer-style atmosphere with music, food, and more.

The event will include the opportunity to get to know the Food & Beverage management team and on-the-spot interviews.

Job opportunities include:


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FORMER MANZANITA TRIBAL POLICE CHIEF ADMITS TO STEALING OVER $300,000 FROM LOCAL TRIBE BY SELLING FAKE BADGES

“This brazen scheme not only deprived the Manzanita Band of funding, but also caused numerous untrained ‘officers’ to believe they were authorized to carry concealed weapons on and off the reservation and enforce laws with little to no training.” – FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner

East County News Service

October 25, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- Anthony Reyes Vazquez pleaded guilty in federal court today, admitting that he stole more than $300,000 from the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation while serving as chief of the Manzanita Tribal Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced.


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LOCAL TRIBAL MEMBERS JOIN STAND AGAINST LITHIUM MINING IN ARIZONA AND SALTON SEA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: September 30 protest at Barona reservation in Lakeside

October 19, 2021 (Lakeside) –  Members of the Barona band of Mission Indians and other tribal nations have joined a fight aiming to stop the proposed Sandy Valley lithium mine in Arizona and proposed lithium mining at the Salton Sea in California that could adversely impact Native Americans.

Local activist Bobby Wallace led a local contingency of tribal members who traveled in late September to Arizona, where the Hualapai people are battling to stop the federal Bureau of Land Management from issuing permits for lithium mining that could threaten tribal water supplies.

Participants included tribal leaders and/or tribal council members from the Hualapai Nation and the Peach Springs tribe, as well as tribal youths and members of the Yavapai Apache People, Mohawk/Oneida tribe, Pueblo, Navajo, Zuni, and San Diego County tribal members from the Kumeyaay and Luiseno, as well as representatives of other activist groups.

Lithium is prized for use in cell phones, computers, batteries and other technology devices -- but at a high environmental price for those impacted by hard-rock and open-pit mining used to extract it.  Now tribal members are urging the federal government to prioritize metal and rare earth mineral recycling over issuance of new mining permits. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that metal mining accounts for 41 percent of toxic substances released and hard rock mines may have already contaminated 40% of watersheds in the West, the Arizona Republic reported on October 2.


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NEWEST RAMONA H.E.A.R.T. MURAL HONORS AREA’S KUMEYAAY HERITAGE

East County News Service

October 7, 2021 (Ramona) – A dedication ceremony was held last Saturday for Ramona’s newest mural, which pays tribute to the Kumeyaay Native Americans. The mural is located at the back of the Verizon Building at 1530 Main Street, Ramona. It is the 27th mural created by the non-profit Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project. 

Artist Simon Melnyk created the mural with a goal “celebrate Kumeyaay culture in its untouched state by venturing into their world before European contact.” He constructed the mural on 26 individual panels which he then put together to form the complete 1200 square foot mural.


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FEDERAL PANDEMIC PROGRAM GIVES DISCOUNTS ON INTERNET AND LAPTOPS FOR SENIORS: EXTRA BENEFITS FOR TRIBAL MEMBERS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

September 12, 2021 (Sacramento) --  Advocates for older Americans are working to spread the word about a federal program to cut people's internet bills.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program gives people who qualify a $50 credit on their monthly internet bill and a $100 voucher toward a laptop or other mobile device.

Joe Garbanzos, state president for AARP California, said for tribal communities the program goes further, providing a $75 subsidy per month.


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SYCUAN POWWOW SEPT. 10-12 SHOWCASES NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITIONS

East County News Service

September 10, 2021 (El Cajon) – The annual Sycuan Pow-Wow returns September 10-12. The event will take place at the pow-wow grounds next to the Sycuan Casino and will feature Native American dance competitions, Kumeyaay bird singing, peon games, and more.  


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SYCUAN PRESENTS “LADIES NIGHT OUT” SEPT. 17 WITH SHEENA EASTON AND TIFFANY

East County News Service

September 8, 2021 (El Cajon) – Two legendary pop stars, Sheena Easton and Tiffany, will perform September 17 at 8 p.m. at Sycuan Casino in El Cajon during a special “Ladies Night Out” evening.


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KUMEYAAY ACTIVISTS TO LEAD SEPT. 25-28 WALK TO PROTEST LITHIUM MINING ON HUALAPAI SACRED SPRINGS IN ARIZONA

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2021 (Lakeside) – Kumeyaay activists, including Barona tribal member Bobby Wallace, are organizing a walk in Arizona Sept. 25-28 to protest an Australian mining corporation’s plan to extract lithium that threatens the Hualapai Nation’s water and ancestral sites.


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BARONA POWWOW RETURNS SEPT. 4-5

By Miriam Raftery

September 4, 2021 (Lakeside) – Since 1932, the Barona Powwow has been an event for Native American tribal members to gather.  The pandemic cancelled last year’s event, but this weekend the powwow returns with the theme “Back to our roots.”

On September 4 and 5, events include gourd dancing from 2-5 p.m. supper from 5-7 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., a parade and social dancing. Activities take place at the Barona Sports Complex on the Barona Indian Reservation in Lakeside.


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FIREFIGHTERS SAVE MA TAR AWA RV PARK - AIR & GROUND RESOURCES FIGHTING BAMBI FIRE IN ALPINE

5:20 p.m.: Firefighters have stopped the forward rate of spread at 8 acres. Ground crews will continue to mop up and put out any spot fires.

8:45 p.m.: No news is good news.

By Jonathan Goetz

August 11, 2021 -- The #BambiFire in Alpine, north of I-8 on Viejas tribal lands and within the Cleveland National Forest has burned approximately 7-11 acres.

The Incident Commander was overheard calling for help to save Ma Tar Awa RV Park, according to SD County Fire Scanner. NBC San Diego showed dramatic live video from a helicopter of the fire stopped just yards from structures in the park.

The last word was moderate rate of spread, but it is unclear if some resources were cancelled en route, which may mean firefighters think they have a good handle on the situation.


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FEDERAL JUDGE DISMISSES SUIT CHALLENGING APPROVAL OF CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

“We have really nothing to give our youth, nothing to pass down. All we have are false promises. These windmills are supposed to bring us some glimmer of hope, but all they’ve brought us are despair.” –Tribal elder Denis Largo

August 7, 2021 (Campo) – U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Backcountry Against Dumps, a local citizens’ group, against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior. The lawsuit sought to challenge the agencies’ approval of Terra Gen’s Campo Wind project on the Campo Indian reservation.


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ROAD FIRE CLOSES WB I-8, PROMPTS EVACUATIONS IN PORTIONS OF DESCANSO & VIEJAS RESERVATION

Update: 7 p.m.: Caltrans San Diego reports all lanes re-opened to traffic 
 
#RoadFire removed from CHP Incidents page
 
No official public updates found on acres burned or % contained since 3:30 p.m.
 
Update: 3:30 p.m.: Initial Attack was successful according to retired fire captain Scott Culkin. Out of town air resources released.
 
Thank you: United States Forest Service (U.S.F.S.), Calfire/S.D. County, Alpine, Viejas, and others. Firefighters will be present throughout the night to contain the fire and put out any hotspots.
 
"Forward spread has stopped," according to Cleveland National Forest, lead agency on the #RoadFire, yet also reporting only 5% contained, as of 3:30 p.m.
 
Update 1:50 p.m.: Per Cleveland National Forest on Twitter, the #RoadFire is now 70 acres and holding, with a moderate rate of spread. The Humane Society urges pet owners to take pets with you if you evacuate, since you may not be able to return to provide food and water during the fire and intense heat.
 
By Jonathan Goetz
 
Photos: #RoadFire by James Cecil (Pic 1: Mountain, Pic 2: SDG&E Helicopter)
 
July 10, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – All lanes westbound on Interstate 8 west of State Route 79 are closed due to a brush fire, reports Caltrans San Diego.

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HARRAH’S RESORT SOCAL AT RINCON CELEBRATES PRIDE WEEKEND JULY 17-18

East County News Service

 

July 3, 2021 (San Diego) -- As a longtime supporting sponsor of San Diego PRIDand in celebration of pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communitiesHarrah’s Resort SoCal today announced a bevy of beautiful PRIDE experiences, offerings and specials to celebrate PRIDE in style.  From the hotel towers lit up in rainbow colors in support of San Diego Pride weekend July 17 and 18 to Resort decor including a rainbow ribbon chandelier and a proud alpaca, colorful photo ops and celebration abound.


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PALA CASINO SPA RESORT COMMENDS LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING MESA FIRE, PROVIDED ACCOMMODATIONS AND SUPPORT TO FIRE AGENCIES

Source: Pala Casino Spa Resort

June 28, 2021 (Pala) -- Pala Casino Spa Resort commends the local agencies battling the Mesa Fire that broke out along State Route 76 near Pala Casino this week. Pala Casino has worked closely with Riverside County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Scoville and CAL FIRE Captain Wes Handy to provide support for the agencies.


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JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE ANNOUNCES TRIBAL COUNCIL ELECTION RESULTS

Source:  Jamul Indian Village

June 25, 2021 (Jamul) - The Jamul Indian Village announced the results of their 2021 Tribal Council elections that were recently concluded.

Chairwoman Erica M. Pinto was re-elected to another four-year term, as were Councilmembers Teresa Cousins and James Cuero III.


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FEDERAL INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOL INITIATIVE ANNOUNCED BY INTERIOR SECRETARY HAALAND

Outlines Path Forward on Troubled Legacy of Federal Boarding School Policies in Remarks to National Congress of American Indians

East County News Service

June 22, 2021 (Washington D.C.) -- In remarks to the National Congress of American Indians 2021 Mid Year Conference today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.

Today’s announcement is accompanied by a secretarial memo in which Secretary Haaland directs the Department to prepare a report detailing available historical records, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites, relating to the federal boarding school program in preparation for a future site work. This work will occur under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.


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JAMUL CASINO® KICKS OFF SUMMER WITH ANNUAL ALL-STAR BLOCK PARTY

Sports legend Bo Jackson, Emmy Award-winning TV chef “Sam the Cooking Guy,” and local broadcasters join All-Star Block Party 
 
East County News Service
 
June 5, 2021 (Jamul) – On Saturday, June 12, Jamul Casino will ring in summer by hosting its annual All-Star Block Party featuring numerous promotions, live entertainment, free play and food for all guests in the casino, and celebrity guests.  Located at 14145 Campo Road in Jamul, CA, the all-day event will feature:

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STOLEN VALLEY CENTER ARTIFACTS RECOVERED

Sheriff's Deputies arrest suspect, recover cultural artifacts stolen from casino.
 
East County News Service
 
May 16, 2021 (Valley Center) -- A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing priceless cultural artifacts from a historical exhibit at Harrah's Resort Southern California in Valley Center.

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PALA CASINO RV RESORT AWARDED GOOD SAM 10/10*/10 RATING FOR SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW

East County News Service

May 14, 2021 (Pala) - Pala Casino RV Resort has been awarded a flawless 10/10*/10 Good Sam rating for the sixth consecutive year. Pala Casino RV Resort was one of only 153 Good Sam Parks throughout the United States to earn a perfect score in the 2021 rankings. Pala Casino RV Resort was awarded top marks in every category, including facilities, restrooms, showers, and overall visual appearance. Pala has received this coveted recognition every year since opening.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE 4-1 TO REPEAL “RACIST” LAW AND MAKE IT EASIER FOR TRIBES TO BUY BACK ANCESTRAL LANDS

“It is time to get rid of this racist law against Indians in San Diego.” – Bo Mazzetti, Chair, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians (photo, left)
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 6, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors voted 4-1 yesterday to repeal a 1994 board resolution which required blanket opposition to all tribal requests to add land to their reservations under the federal fee-to-trust process.

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PALA CASINO SPA RESORT ADDS BEE GEES GOLD TO SUMMER CONCERT SERIES

East County News Service

April 30, 2021 (Pala) -- Pala Casino Spa Resort today announced that the Bee Gees Gold will join the annual Summer Concert Series lineup. Bee Gees Gold will perform in the outdoor Starlight Theater on Saturday, May 15 at 8:00 p.m. General admission tickets are on sale now for $10.  


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JAMUL CASINO PROMOTES THERESA GRADY TO CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Experienced Casino Finance Leader Advances to Executive Position
 
East County News Service
 
April 13, 2021 (Jamul) -- Jamul Casino® has announced that Theresa Grady (photo, left) has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  Her advancement comes after nearly four years with the Casino as its former Director of Finance, where she was highly involved in building the Casino’s Finance, Audit, Vendor Payments, Payroll, and Count Operations teams, and in helping spearhead the completion of the Casino’s recent refinance in January 2021. 
 
With several other high-profile promotions in recent years, Ms. Grady’s elevation to CFO demonstrates Jamul Casino’s commitment to the professional growth of its team members, according to a press release.

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ON A ROLL: ENJOY OUTDOOR SKATING AT VIEJAS OUTLETS IN ALPINE

East County News Service

April 11, 2021 (Alpine) – If you’re looking for some fun outdoor exercise, Southern California’s largest outdoor roller rink is open for the 2021 skating season.

The rink is located at the Viejas Outlet Center, 5003 Willows Road in Alpine.

Admission for roller skating is $10, including rental skates.  You can also get a season pass for $99, which provides unlimited roller skating all season long through September 6.


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TRIBE'S CONNECTION WITH GROSSMONT COLLEGE BENEFITS STUDENTS

Source:  Grossmont College

March 23, 2021 (El Cajon) - Grossmont College students who are awarded a scholarship from an East County tribe get much more than the $500 to help them pay for books and supplies. They also get a connection with the tribe’s casino that can help them land a job.


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CONGRESSMAN ISSA INTRODUCES BILL TO TRANSFER SACRED LANDS TO PALA BAND OF MISSION INDIANS RESERVATION

Source: Pala Band of Mission Indians

 

March 23, 2021 (Pala) --  On March 17, 2021, Congressman Darrell Issa introduced the Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act (H.R. 1975), a bill that will transfer approximately 721 acres of land adjacent to the Pala Reservation into federal trust status. This land was purchased by the Pala Band of Mission Indians in 2016 in order to prevent the construction of a landfill on sacred Chokla (Gregory Mountain), a site of tremendous cultural significance to Pala’s people.

 

“The Pala Band is grateful to Congressman Issa for his partnership and willingness to introduce this bill. Transferring the Gregory Mountain cultural property into trust ensures that it will be forever protected as a part of the Pala Reservation. The Pala Band also wishes to acknowledge Congressman Juan Vargas, who has worked with the tribe since 2016 to facilitate this land transfer, according to a press release issued by the tribe.


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