By Miriam Raftery
August 30, 2014 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—Two agave roasting pits found recently in Jacumba Hot Springs have been carbon-dated, indicating Kumeyaay Native American occupation in the Jacumba region dates back at least 9,000 years. Termed “an astounding recent archaeological find” by the Imperial Valley Desert Museum in Ocotillo, the agave roasting pits were unearthed during construction of SDG&E’s ECO substation project in San Diego’s East County.
Howard Cook, chair of Jacumba Hot Springs Sponsor Group (the town's advisory planning board) believes the find should have impacts on future develoment projects pending in the area.
“This is highly relevant to the proposed Jacumba Solar project located next door and sharing roads with the under construction Eco project,” he told East County Magazine. “Certainly this calls for a cultural monitor and perhaps some preliminary excavating of the proposed site by [an] historical society and Native American historical/cultural experts."
August 30, 2014 (Alpine) – Viejas Casino & Resort will attempt to launch the world’s longest chain of fireworks—more than 10,000 – to celebrates its 23rd anniversary on Friday, September 12th at 8 p.m. You’re invited to the festivities near the Viejas Hotel pool to witness the sky come alive with fireworks during this Guinness Book of World Records setting attempt.
BARONA BAND OF MISSION INDIANS TO CELEBRATE TRADITIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE AT 44TH ANNUAL POWWOW AUG. 29-31
August 27, 2014 (Lakeside) – The Barona Band of Mission Indians invites San Diego to experience Native American dancing, music and cuisine at the 44th annual Barona Powwow at the Barona Indian Reservation’s recently renovated Sports Park. The celebration starts on Friday, August 29 with gourd dancing at 6 p.m. and grand entry at 7 p.m. and continues throughout the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, August 30-31, from 1 to 11 p.m.
August 19, 2014 (El Cajon)—The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation will host its 25th annual pow-wow on September 5-7 at the Sycuan reservation in El Cajon.
By Miriam Raftery
August 10, 2014 (Jamul)--The Jamul Action Committee/Jamulians Against the Casino has filed yet another lawsuit seeking to halt a casino at Jamul Indian Village. The three-story, $360 million Hollywood Casino Jamul has broken ground and is slated to open in late 2015.
By Grey Feathers
Barona Cultural Center, Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside
July 26, 2014 (Barona) - To document, describe and explain the complex relationships between cultures and the uses of plants is the practice of ethnobotany. This includes the use of plants as food, clothing, currency, ritual, medicine, dye, construction, cosmetics and more.The Barona Cultural Center and Museum and the Barona Indian Charter School have partnered together to practice ethnobotany.
July 7, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Coming off a record start for summer schedule, Senior Poker Tour moves to Pala Casino July 30-August 3, 2014.
Senior Poker Tour had a record setting event earlier this month with its SPT Venetian Deepstack Seniors Championship. The prize pool for a non WSOP event for players 50+ reached a quarter of a million dollars and crowned a new champion, Mitch Hecht of Toronto Canada. He took home $50,000 for his efforts besting 431 players over two days of play.
Read our prior story about the debut of Sycuan's documentary
Hear our exclusive interview with Sycuan Chairman Daniel Tucker during the debut: click here.
June 30, 2014 (El Cajon) – Sycuan’s “Our People. Our Culture. Our History” film has been honored with a 2014 EMMY® Award, Pacific Southwest region, for outstanding achievement in television. The acclaimed documentary has also received a prestigious Gold CINDY® Award in the Regional Broadcast category and a Special Achievement Award for Direction and Production Design.
The 48-minute program tells the story of Sycuan and the Kumeyaay Nation through the words of its people - Tribal elders, Council leaders, family members and the next generation. Augmented by incisive observations from Native American historians and a range of subject matter experts, this documentary follows the incredible 12,500 year journey of a People who has survived against overwhelming odds to become a sovereign, prosperous nation who continues to honor its past while building its future and positively impacting their community.
By Mimi Pollack
July 1, 2014 (Tecate)--There are only 70 to 80 people left in Baja California who speak Kumeyaay, according to Michael Wilken Robertson, an anthropologist who also specializes in ethno-botany. When Wilken-Robertson first started his journey studying the indigenous people of Baja California, he was told there were no indigenous cultures there.
He believed something had to be done to preserve these ancient cultures and traditions before they were lost, especially those of the Kumeyaay [Kumiai] people. The Kumiai are the indigenous people on both sides of the border, starting from Carlsbad on the United States side, down to the Santo Tomas Valley in Baja California, Mexico.
The Museo Communitario de Tecate [Tecate Community Museum] and the Kumiai wing is a good first step towards documenting the life and history of these people. It is part of the Centro Cultural [Cultural Center] in Tecate, Baja California.
Recognized as a Top Performing Casino Resort as Reviewed by Travellers on the World’s Largest Travel Site
SAN DIEGO – June 9, 2014 – Viejas Casino & Resort today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.
May 29,2014 (Alpine)- Movies in the park return at the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine, where you can enjoy watching the latest action thrillers and other blockbuster films while lounging under the stars in a serene park setting.
Admission is $5, which includes a regular-size popcorn, plus a 12oz. soda and preferred seating. Children 12 and under are free but must be accompanied by an adult. Movies start at 8 p.m. Movies run from late May through August 22.
To download and print the 2014 schedule, please click HERE or click "read more" and scroll down.
May 22, 2014 (Dehesa)—Visitors to the Sycuan Casino on Saturday, May 24 will have an opportunity to meet San Diego Padres’ 1984 World Series players-- and have a chance to win the grand prize: a road trip for two to Chicago to watch the Padres take on the Cubs.
The event takes place Saturday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Tickets will be distributed starting at 10 a.m. in the casino’s front lobby. The first 200 people are guaranteed to meet the players.
A free commemorative signed photo plus Padres baseball caps will also be given away, while supplies last.
May 3, 2014 (Lakeside)--A world famous gambler accusing of cheating Barona Casino out of $8,000 will be arraigned in court on May 14. In a preliminary hearing earlier this month at the El Cajon courthouse, Judge John Thompson found sufficient evidence for the defendant to stand trial.
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.”