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Exploring the lives of East County's Tribal Community

REPAVING CAUSES LONG-TERM TRAFFIC DELAYS IN JAMUL, HIGHLIGHTS HIGHWAY HAZARDS POSED BY PROPOSED CASINO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Residents in Jamul are voicing concerns over a repaving project along State Route 94 that is causing dangerous conditions and delays of up to a half hour. Multiple sources have advised ECM that no warning signs are posting to warn motorists that traffic has been reduced to one lane. The delays are projected to continue through January. 

Kim Hamilton, editor of the Deerhorn Valley Antler, says the current situation may be just a precursor of traffic congestion that could occur if a proposed  casino at the Jamul Indian Casino is built. Already,  State Route 94 has a fatality rate per mile that is nearly six times the countywide average—before any casino is built.

JAMUL INDIAN CASINO PLANS MOVE FORWARD; NEIGHBORS COMPLAIN OF CLOSED DOOR MEETINGS

 

Labor and business groups voice support for casino jobs;  residents ask why community was excluded from meetings with Governor's staff, including a site visit

By Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2013 (Jamul) – A senior advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, Jacob Appelmith, has confirmed in a letter to Jamul Indian Village Tribal Chairman Raymond Hunter that the tribe has met requirements of the Tribal-State Gaming compact for a proposed casino on Highway 94 in Jamul.  “As you are aware, the State supports the Tribe’s efforts to mitigate any and all of the significant off-Reservation impacts,” the letter continued.

BARONA MUSEUM LAUNCHES NEW EXHIBITION TO SHOWCASE “HISTORY OF SPORTS” ON THE BARONA INDIAN RESERVATION

Sports: The Competitive Spirit at Barona is Now Open to the Public

Photo: Vice Chairman Harold Hill, Curator Cheryl Hinton, and Brian VanWanseele, Barona Tribal member and President of the Board of Directors for Inter Tribal Sports

 October 8, 2013 (Lakeside) – To celebrate the history of sports on the Barona Indian Reservation, the Barona Cultural Center & Museum recently opened a new exhibition entitled Sports: The Competitive Spirit at Barona. The exhibit, on display this October through 2014, features Native American sports heroes from around the country as well as from the Barona Indian Reservation. Admission is free.

NOTORIOUS GAMBLER CHARGED IN CARD MARKING SCHEME AT BARONA CASINO

 

September 30, 2013 (Lakeside) -- A world-famous gambler and poker player known for the largest and longest documented winning streak in gambling history has been charged in a card-marking scheme at Barona Casino, the District Attorney’s Office announced. He reportedly cheated the casino out of more than $8,000.

Anargyros Karabourniotis, 62, also known as ‘Archie Karas,’ was caught, by the Barona Gaming Commission, marking cards at the casino’s blackjack table in Lakeside back in July, the DA’s Office said. He was arrested at his Las Vegas home on Tuesday and will be extradited to San Diego to face charges of burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating.

“This defendant’s luck ran out thanks to extraordinary cooperation between several different law enforcement agencies who worked together to investigate and prosecute this case,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

TRIPLE WIN: VIEJAS BREAKS THREE WORLD RECORDS

September 19,2013 (Alpine)—Friday the 13th proved lucky at Viejas Casino & Resort, where three  Guinness world records were set on September 13 th in celebration of the casino’s 22nd anniversary.

“It’s a challenge, a difficult,” Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator Philip Roberts said after Viejas employees and guests teamed up to open 639 bottles of wine simultaneously.  This broke the old record set in Las Vegas of 474. 

Those gathered went to set another world record for most people giving high fives in one place:  684.  The former record (405) was held by the United Arab Emirates, Roberts announced as the crowd cheered.

JAMUL/DULZURA PLANNERS RECEIVE NOTICE FROM CAL-TRANS OF SR-94 SAFETY PROJECT; MEETING SEPT. 17

 

Concerns remain among residents over traffic impacts from proposed casino at Jamul Indian Village

September 12, 2013 (Jamul) – The Jamul/Dulzura Community Planning Gorup has received a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for roadway improvements to Highway 94.   These would include widening of the highway to provide access to the Jamul Indian Reservation, where a casino is proposed, as well as improvements to intersections of Highway 94 and Jamacha Boulevard, Jamacha Road, Steel Canyon Road, Lyons Valley Road, and Maxfield Road.  deerhornvalley.net/CaltransNOP.pdf

“These improvements would be necessary to help handle the 10,000 extra casino-bound vehicles daily,”  Deerhorn Valley Antler editor Kim Hamilton said in an e-mail.

Cal Trans will hold a meeting on Tuesday, September 17 from 5-8 p.m. at  Cottonwood Golf Club, 3121 Willow Glen Drive in EL Cajon.

VIEJAS DOUBLES DOWN, TRIES TO SET 2 WORLD RECORDS ON SEPT. 13

 

September 5, 2013 (Alpine) – To celebrate its 22nd anniversary, Viejas Casino and Resort is aiming to break two Guiness World Records  on September 13—playing blackjack with the world’s largest deck of cards and later, opening the most bottles of wine at one time.

24TH ANNUAL SYCUAN POW-WOW IS SEPT. 13 – 15

 

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.

6TH ANNUAL PALA POWWOW CELEBRATION AUG. 23 – 25

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.

43RD ANNUAL BARONA POWWOW IS AUG. 30 – SEPT. 1

 

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.

CALTRANS BUILDING TO BE DEMOLISHED AT SITE OF ANCIENT KUMEYAAY VILLAGE

 

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.

RECYCLE YOUR ELECTRONICS ITEMS FREE JULY 27 IN ALPINE TO BENEFIT U.N.I.T.Y.

 

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.

COUNCILWOMAN BONNIE LACHAPPA NAMED CITIZEN OF THE YEAR BY LAKESIDE CHAMBER

 

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. 

ACTIVIST FILM SERIES: WORLD PREMIERE “WHO ARE MY PEOPLE?” JUNE 22

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.

JAMUL RESIDENTS OPPOSE TRIBE'S PLAN FOR HOLLYWOOD-STYLE CASINO: “NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER”

 

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.

CAMPO TRIBE TO VOTE JUNE 9 ON SHU’LUUK WIND PROJECT

 

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.

VIEJAS CASINO & RESORT ACHIEVES PRESTIGIOUS FOUR DIAMOND STATUS

 

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.”

OUTCRY ARISES OVER NATIVE PEOPLES LOSING LANDS AND WAY OF LIFE

 

 

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.

SOUTHERN INDIAN HEALTH COUNCIL HOSTS SPRING GATHERING APRIL 27 IN ALPINE

 

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.

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION HEARING ON OCOTILLO ISSUES SET FOR APRIL 22 IN SAN DIEGO

 

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.

A QUEST FOR UNITY: JOURNEY OF NISHIYUU AND CANADA’S FIRST NATION’S LAND MANAGEMENT REGIME

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)

http://www.sandiegolovesgreen.com/articles/a-quest-for-unity-journey-of-nishiyuu-canadas-new-land-management-regime/

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.

VIEJAS CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF “WORLD CLASS RESORT” HOTEL

 

 

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.

 

SYCUAN CASINO IS HELPING ADVERTISING INDUSTRY WORKERS FACING LIFE CRISIS

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. 

FORMER LA POSTA GAMING COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLING FUNDS FROM TRIBE

 

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.

IDLE NO MORE MOVEMENT FOR NATIVE RIGHTS, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS REACHES SAN DIEGO

 

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.

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