September 6, 2013 (El Cajon) – The 24th Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow will be held September 13 – 15 at the Sycuan Reservation, 5459 Sycuan Road, El Cajon. The Pow-Wow will begin on Friday evening with Gourd Dancing at 7 p.m., followed by the Grand Entry at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday the Gourd Dancing will begin at 1 p.m with a Grand Entry at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
August 21, 2013 (Pala) -- The Pala Band of Mission Indians will hold its sixth annual “Honoring Traditions” Powwow August 23-25 at the Pala Rey Youth Camp, 10779 Highway 76, Pala. The Grand Entry will take place 8 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. This event is free and open to the public.
Activities include powwow dance contests, bird singing, an exhibition of “shinny” - a traditional Native American ball game, a homemade bow and arrow contest and a peon tournament. All ages are welcome to participate and the prizes range from $50 to $1,000. Eight invited performers will also compete in a drum contest for a grand prize of $12,000.
August 20, 2013 (Lakeside) – The 43rd Annual Barona Powwow will be held August 30 through September 1 at Barona Baseball Field, on the Barona Indian Reservation in Lakeside. The Powwow begins on Friday at 6 p.m. with Gourd Dancing followed by the Grand Entry at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday will feature Gourd Dancing at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and the Grand Entry at 7 p.m. each day.
By Paul Kruze
July 23, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- After nearly a decade of wrangling between the State of California and Caltrans, Old Town State Park is set to be expanded and revitalized with approval of the new California state budget, which includes $436,000 in bond money allocated to demolish the old Caltrans building on Taylor Street. Most significantly, the abandoned 115,735 square foot Caltrans building sits on top of an ancient Kumeyaay village which allegedly dates back to 500 AD, and which was once a thriving Mexican settlement.
On July 27, the United Indian Tribal Youth Council (U.N.I.T.Y.) is hosting an electronics recycling event in Alpine. You can bring your old computers, laptops, TVs, monitors or anything else electronic to recycle free of charge. That includes everything that plugs in or that is battery operated.
The event takes place at the Viejas Recreation Center, 1B Viejas Grade Road in Alpine on Saturday, July 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
July 12, 2013 (Lakeside) -- The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce has named Bonnie LaChappa as the 2013 Lakeside Citizen of the Year with their Harry J. Spence Award. Bonnie, a lifelong Lakeside resident and an elected member of the Barona Band of Mission Indians Tribal Council, is well known for her tireless volunteerism in the East County community.
“Giving back and sharing have always been a big part of our Barona Tribal culture,” said Clifford LaChappa, Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “We are very proud of everything Councilwoman LaChappa has done in the community to earn this meaningful award.”
BILL TO INCREASE PROTECTION OF NATIVE AMERICAN SACRED SITES PASSES ASSEMBLY, BUT KEY LOOPHOLE COULD LIMIT ITS EFFECT
By Miriam Raftery
June 30, 2013 (Sacramento) – A measure to require that developers consult with Native American tribes before initiating projects that affect tribal sacred sites and cultural resources has unanimously passed the state Assembly by a 56-0 vote. The bill now heads to the State Senate.
The approval of AB 52, authored by Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), came despite opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, which called the measure a “job killer.”
The bill strengthens consultation standards with tribes under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including impacts to tribal sites among the environmental impacts that must be weighed. But the bill also contains a provision that could allow tribal concerns to be ignored if any one of a list of other benefits is found to outweigh tribal concerns.
WORLD PREMIER: DOCUMENTARY FILM ON CONFLICTS BETWEEN MULTI-NATIONAL ENERGY COMPANIES AND NATIIVE AMERICAN TRIBES DEBUTS IN SAN DIEGO JUNE 22
“You can’t have ‘green’ without social justice.” – filmmaker Robert Lundahl
June 20, 2013 (San Diego)--EMMY® Award winning filmmaker Robert Lundahl takes a hard look at U.S. energy policy and its effects on desert ecosystems, Native American tribes and communities across the West. The film has special relevance locally, where major energy projects in San Diego and Imperial Counties have sparked legal actions as tribal members seek to protect their heritage and sacred sites from destruction.
The filmmaker and Native American elders from California, Nevada & Arizona will be present at the premier of “Who Are My People?” The San Diego premier is a special presentation by Activist San Diego on Saturday evening, June 22, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at. Joyce Beers Uptown Community Center, 3900 Vermont Street, San Diego, 92103.
June 15, 2013 (San Diego) – The world premiere of the documentary film “Who are My People?”, presented by the Activist San Diego, will be June 22, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Joyce Beers Uptown Community Center, 3900 Vermont Street, San Diego. The film created by Robert Lundahl is about the environmental struggles, indigenous lands and native peoples. Lundahl and several tribal elders and leaders will attend the premier.
By Nadin Abbott and Tom Abbott
Photos by Tom Abbott
June 7, 2013—(Jamul) A full house of 600 Jamul residents came to a meeting on June 5 to hear a presentation by Penn International Representatives, the latest company engaged by the Jamul Indian Village hoping to build a gaming facility for the Jamul Indian Village, part of the Kumeyaay Nation.
The project has generated widespread community opposition, pitting Native American sovereign rights and economic prosperity against concerns of neighbors over traffic, fire, and rural community character. All but one of the residents who testified opposed the project, despite efforts by the tribe to sharply scale back its original proposal.
By Miriam Raftery
June 6, 2013 (Campo) – On Sunday, June 9, the Campo Band of Mission Indians’ general council ( tribal members age 18 and over) will be asked to vote on whether to approve or reject Invenergy’s Shu’luuk Wind Energy project proposed to be built on the reservation, according to a meeting notice and agenda obtained by ECM.
ECM has also obtained a letter sent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Robert Eben, Superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Riverside. The EPA letter raises serious concerns over the project’s Draft Enviornmental Impact Statement (DEIR), concluding that there is “Insufficient information” on impacts of three project versions and that health impacts of noise and low-frequency sound on nearby residents have been ignored.
June 4, 2013 (Alpine) – Viejas Casino & Resort has been awarded the prestigious Four Diamond status from the American Automobile Association (AAA), officially designating the property as one of the nation’s premier resort destinations.
Fewer than 5% of the nearly 31,000 properties approved by AAA achieve the highly-coveted Four Diamond distinction.
“We are extremely proud to be acknowledged as one of the finest resort destinations in the country,” said Viejas Casino & Resort General Manager Chris Kelley. “This honor is a testament to the dedication, hard work and professionalism of our Team Members and reflects our absolute dedication to the highest standards of guest service, accommodations and amenities.”
Pollution of earth and water is driving indigenous peoples from their homelands
By Miriam Raftery
April 27, 2013 (San Diego)--Around the world, including here in the U.S., native people are losing lands they have occupied for countless generations. The earth and water that sustained life in their communities is being destroyed –once-mighty rivers and wetlands reduced to barren, parched or even contaminated land. The story is the same from tribes along the Colorado River to those deep in the Amazon, from the deserts of Southern California to the jungles of Mexico, from the coal fields of Appalachia to the copper mining pits of Arizona to indigenous people’s lands in Canada threatened by the Keystone Pipeline.
The culprit? Growing demand for energy and water.
Now, native people are speaking out. They hope to educate the public to conserve precious resources, sharing knowledge of the heart-breaking price being paid by people who have been given no choice—and whose very cultural identity centers around the lands and waters being lost.
NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION DECLARES OCOTILLO WIND A SACRED SITE; ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WEIGH LEGAL ACTION
“I really want to say `Dismantle it and give the land back to the tribes…I’d like to ask the Attorney General to…give this commission more teeth so we could say `Tear that wall down.” -- Commissioner Marshall McKay
View video highlights by Paul Kruze: http://youtu.be/nS93BfT6juI
(For full unedited videos, scroll to bottom of this story)
By Miriam Raftery
April 26, 2013 (San Diego) – At a hearing in San Diego on Monday, members of the state Native American Heritage Commission heard several hours of emotional testimony from Native Americans who contend that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ignored their concerns and its duty to protect a clearly documented sacred site and cemetery in the fast-tracked approval process for the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.
By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American sacred site. Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.
April 19, 2013 (Alpine) – Bird singers, resources, food, activities, crafts for kids, entertain and more are all part of the Southern Indian Health Clinic’s annual Spring Gathering set for April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alpine Clinic, 4058 Williows Road in Alpine.
By Miriam Raftery
April 12, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Native American Heritage (CNAH) Commission will hold a hearing in San Diego on Monday, April 22 at 11 a.m. The hearing will focus on results of an NAHC investigation into local tribes' allegations that the federal government failed to protect Native American cultural resources at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility site.
The hearing will be in the State of California Building, 1350 Front Street, San Diego 92101 (between A and Ash Streets).
A hearing previously set for February was cancelled without explanation. The CNAH had issued a draft report in support of claims by the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and Quechan Indian Nation that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources, including human remains and sacred sites, at the Ocotillo project. The draft staff report detailed a disturbing pattern by the BLM, Pattern Energy and a project archaeology consultant of ignoring tribal concerns and failing in its duty to protect cultural resources.
PENN NATIONAL GAMING SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE FOR $360 MILLION HOLLYWOOD-BRANDED CASINO & RESORT
April 7, 2013 (Jamul) --Penn National Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN) announced Friday that one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries and the Jamul Indian Village (“the Tribe”) have entered into definitive agreements to jointly develop a Hollywood-branded casino and resort on the Tribe’s trust land in San Diego’s East County.
The proposed $360 million development would include a three-story gaming and entertainment facility of approximately 200,000 square feet featuring at least 1,700 slot machines, 50 live table games including poker, multiple restaurants, bars and lounges and a partially enclosed parking structure with over 1,900 spaces.
Editor's note: This is a victory born in the Idle No More Movement for Native rights, which has spread from Canada to the U.S. ECM recently covered Idle No More speakers in San Diego, including local Kumeyaay members.
By Sarah Hales-Ried (reprinted with permission of San Diego Loves Green)
March 28, 2013 (Ottaway, Canada)--After over two months and 1600 kilometres (approx. 994 miles) of walking, the journey of Nishiyuu - a Cree word meaning “the people” - reached Cam-nada's Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Monday, March 25. That same day, Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, formally welcomed eight First Nation communities into Canada's First Nations Land Management regime.
Story and photos by Miriam Raftery, video by Paul Kruze
March 22, 2013 (Alpine) – “This truly is a game changer for East County,” said Joe Terzi, Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Tourism Authority, at a VIP grand opening last night of the $36 million, five-story hotel at Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine. He hailed the new resort as a “great new addition to the San Diego region” that will help East County benefit from tourism that drives San Diego’s economy.
Dignitaries and community leaders from across our region turned out for last night’s occasion. A second opening for the public, including a free world premier performance of the Cirque-style show “Rise”, will be held on Saturday night, March 23 along with fireworks to celebrate East County’s landmark new addition.
View our exclusive video, see our photo gallery and read details of this landmark occasion below.
March 18, 2013 (El Cajon) – Sycuan Casino in El Cajon has agreed to serve as presenting sponsor of the 12th annual San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies (SAFE) fundraiser and party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Ivy Rooftop Lounge atop the Andaz San Diego, 600 “F” St., in the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego.
SAFE is a volunteer, non-profit organization (501c3) that provides confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency. The fundraiser will feature food, networking, entertainment and a silent auction to benefit SAFE grant recipients. Cost to attend is $50 per person, $30 per person for students, or $70 per person at the door. For tickets and more information, visit www.aboutsafe.org.
READER’S EDITORIAL: SMOKING BLUNDERBUSS—ILLEGAL FAILURE TO CONSULT WITH TRIBAL PEOPLES DOOMS GIANT SOLAR AND WIND PLANTS ACROSS WEST
By Robert Lundahl
March 10, 2013 (Solana Beach) — Chris Clarke's recent article deconstructs a video clip from the film, "Who Are My People?" http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/filmmaker-blm-lax-on-native-consultation-over-solar-projects.html It is important for the public (us) to get our heads around the idea that the federal government is legally responsible to Native people.
In this case to uphold processes involving consultation when construction projects impact historic grounds, where there was a village, burials, where there is an area historically, or in the present day used by Native peoples, in spiritual or traditional practices.
By Miriam Raftery
March 8, 2013 (San Diego) – Troy Teague, former Executive Director of the La Posta Gaming Commission, pled guilty today to embezzling $57,000 from the la Posta Band of Mission Indians. The plea was made before Magistrate Judge Jan Adler, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced.
The La Posta Casino (photo, left) shut down in October 2012. A letter written by Tribal Council Chairwoman Gwendolyn Parada to employees stated that the casino, located off I-8, would close “due to its current financial situation,” 10 News reported. The smallest of San Diego County’s casinos, at its peak La Posta employed approximately 100 people.
Speakers see parallels between destruction by energy companies in our region to environmental degradation, erosion of protections for people around the world
By Miriam Raftery
January 31, 2013 (San Diego) – Idle No More, a movement for the rights of indigenous people and environmental protections that began in Canada, has spread around the world and has now taken root here in San Diego. Earlier this month, members of local Native American tribes met convened at a forum sponsored by Activist San Diego to share their concerns and invite all people to join the movement.
“We must stand up to unite, to respect the Mother Earth,” Dennis Alto, a Viejas tribal member, said. “We are not just addressing the red nations; we are addressing all people.”
The Idle No More movement arose in Canada as a protest against the Canadian Government passing bills which enabled the government to control lands reserved for native people and reduce environmental protections for lakes and rivers. Tar sands, pollution from mining and other sources are polluting the waters and the lands. Tribal members draw parallels to what is happening in the U.S., where mining, dams, and now large-scale wind and solar projects are ravaging the environment , destroying cultural resources and the way of life for many indigenous Americans.
CA NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION ISSUES REPORT BACKING VIEJAS AND QUECHAN CLAIMS OF OCOTOILLO WIND SITE HARM TO SACRED SITES
Commission urges CA Attorney General to file suit if mitigation requests not met
Update February 12, 2013: A hearing set for February 15 in San Diego has been postponed.
By Miriam Raftery
January 22, 2013 (Ocotillo ) – The California Native American Heritage Commission (CNAH) has issued a report in support of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and the Quechan Indian Nation claims that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources including human remains and sacred sites at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility. The draf staff report details a disturbing pattern by the BLM, Pattern Energy and a project archaeology consultant of ignoring tribal concerns and failing in its duty to protect cultural resources.
The tribes petitioned the NAHC to investigate and conduct a public hearing to consider tribal requests to declare the entire 12,500 acre site a ‘sanctified cemetery’. Tribes also seek to have the project halted to assess damage and want agencies to consult with tribes to agree on mitigation measures to prevent further harm to a broader region. The case has broad national significance, with hundreds of millions of acres of public lands slated for renewable energy projects.
The NAHC has cancelled a Public Hearing that had been scheduled at the State of California Building on Front Street in Downtown San Diego for February 15, offering no explanation for the indefinite postponement.
By Miriam Raftery
January 21, 2013 (San Diego) – On Friday, January 18, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Quechan tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation against the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management, as well as Pattern Energy and other defendants.
The suit contends that the federal government failed to protect Native American cultural resources, including sacred sites, when it allowed the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility to be built. Moreover, Quechan contends that the federal government's reclassification of protected lands to accommodate the wind project was arbitrary--and that a similar decision to industrialize almost any public lands regardless of damage to resources could be done if the government's action is allowed to stand.
By Miriam Raftery
U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Quechan tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation against the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management, among others. The suit contends that the federal government failed to protect Native American cultural resources, including sacred sites, when it allowed the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility to be built.
December 22, 2012 – (San Diego) -- Members of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians have voted in a new Tribal Council, returning five of seven incumbents, including Chairman Anthony R. Pico.
Voting took place Saturday, December 15 at the Viejas Tribal Hall. Members of the new Tribal Council are as follows (I = incumbent):
Chairman: Anthony R. Pico (I)
Vice Chairman: Robert “Cita” Welch (I)
Secretary: Anita Uqualla (I)
Treasurer: Sam Q. Brown (I)
Councilmember: Raymond “Bear” Cuero (I)
Councilmember: Adrian K. Brown
Councilmember: Ernest “Chuka” Pingleton
December 18, 2012 (San Diego)--For the 10th consecutive year, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, owners of the Sycuan Resort & Casino in El Cajon, sponsored the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s free annual family holiday party for people with MS, as well as their family members and caregivers. The National MS Society in San Diego said more than 600 people attended the 2012 event held on Sunday, Dec. 9 at the San Diego Community Concourse Golden Hall in Downtown San Diego. The holiday party featured a brunch, entertainment and gifts for children delivered by one of Santa’s helpers. Sycuan has sponsored the annual event since 2003.
December 13, 2012 (San Diego)– As an air of excitement and anticipation hung over the 37th Annual Stoney & Rob’s Holiday Party and Fundraiser, the curtain was raised on the stage of the DreamCatcher at Viejas Casino last week to reveal more than 7,000 toys that will go to needy families in the area. The exact number this year was 7,217—more than twice the 3,000 gifts raised last year by Team Members and guests at Viejas Casino and Outlets.
November 29, 2012 (El Cajon) – A Native Plant Garden Tour will take place in the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West, El Cajon on December 1 at 10:30 a.m. The Native Plant tour, guided by Garden Docent, Jan Tubiolo, explores the lifestyle of the Kumeyaay Indians in southern California and the tremendous role native plants played in every aspect of their lives.