By Miriam Raftery
April 17, 2014 (Jamul) – Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager heard arguments today in a lawsuit by family members alleging that a contractor for Jamul Indians removed and dumped human remains. The families seek an injunction to halt construction of a casino that the tribe is building at the Jamul Indian Village site.
Plaintiffs contend that a contractor for the tribe, C.W. Driver, dug up the families’ remains from the historical cemetery at the casino site and dumped the human remains, with Caltrans permission on the state’s construction site for a new freeway interchange in Otay.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZES PALA BAND OF MISSION INDIANS CHAIRMAN ROBERT SMITH AS COMMUNITY PARTNER OF THE YEAR
April 15, 2014 (Pala)--The Pala Band of Mission Indians announced today that Tribal Chairman Robert Smith will be recognized as Community Partner of the Year by the San Diego County School Boards Association at an awards ceremony on May 2.
April 14, 2014 (Lakeside)-- The Barona Cultural Center & Museum and Ancient Spirits Speak will host master basket weaver Eva Salazar for a Basic Juncus Basket Making class on Saturday May 3, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. This introductory class will teach the basic principles of a fine art which yielded products both beautiful and useful. Traditionally, coiled juncus baskets were used by the Kumeyaay/Diegueno people to cook acorn meal, process various flours, collect and roast seeds and to wear as hats.
Believed to be the first bingo hall located in a shopping center in California
April 5, 2014 (Alpine)--What is believed to be California’s first-ever bingo hall to be located in a shopping center opened to the public today at Viejas Outlets, following a sneak preview and ribbon cutting yesterday. To celebrate the opening of the new Viejas Bingo at Viejas Outlets, there will be more than $45,000 awarded in April and a chance to win one of two new FIAT 500s.
Source: Pala Rez Radio 91.3 KOPA
April 1, 2014 (Pala) – “Tuesday is here! And newly appointed Rez Radio Program Director Olaf Prilos is proud to announce our new format ... Rez Radio LOL. All comedy, all day long,” reads an announcement issued today by John Fox, station manager at Rez Radio 91.3 KOPA at the Pala Indian reservation..
The release continues, “In addition to every novelty song you've ever heard and some you probably haven't, Rez Radio LOL will feature standup and comedy bits. And sprinkled throughout the day, you'll hear not one, but two classic comedy radio series featuring Native American characters ... "The Adventures of the O.B. Ranger" written and performed by Gary Allyn and Neil Ross, and Arigon Starr's creation, "Super Indian" will air in sequence throughout the day.”
By Roy L Hales
Deadline for public comments on changes March 24
March 15, 2014 (Mojave Desert)--The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved “the construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning of an up to 750-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar energy generation facility and related infrastructure called the McCoy Solar Energy Project.This project follows on the heels of the California Energy Commission’s approval of a similar project by NextEra Blythe Solar Energy.
By Jessica Richmond
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.
By Miriam Raftery
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.
BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS ENDS EIR ON SHU’LUUK WIND, BUT APPROVES EWIIAAPAAYP TRIBE'S LEASE FOR TULE WIND
By Miriam Raftery
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.
By Miriam Raftery
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.
By Nadin Abbott
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.
By Miriam Raftery
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.
Photo: site of planned casino
By Nadin Abbott
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.
Link to video from Toy Drive “Big Reveal”: http://youtu.be/Wt6i9YqPrHM
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 27, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Viejas Casino & Resort officially opened their new 4-story parking structure on Friday, with a Native American Blessing and traditional Birdsongs.
After the ribbon was cut and the parking structure opened to the public, KUSI’s David Davis was among those who drove a brand new Porsche into the parking structure.
By Miriam Raftery
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.
By Leon Thompson
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.