Politics

Pala Band leadership disputes ouster by group of tribal members






From left: FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman, Pala Band Mission Indians' Treasurer Theresa J. Nieto, Chairman Robert Smith sign a Federal Emergency Management Administration Agreement in March 2011. Photo by Barbara Pritchard / FEMA

The Pala Band of Mission Indians in California is undergoing a leadership struggle.

A group of tribal members held a meeting over the weekend and removed Chairman Robert Smith and other council officials from office. They formed a new executive committee to investigate the tribe's finances.

But the tribe's spokesperson said the meeting was illegal and any actions taken are invalid. Smith didn't return calls to The San DIego Union-Tribune but he remains in office.

“The effort by this disgruntled group is tantamount to a person saying they want to be governor of California because they think they should be; and a few of their friends might agree,” the spokesperson told the paper.

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Power struggle erupts at Pala reservation (The San Diego Union-Tribune 5/21)