indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Tribal leaders share views on threats to sovereignty
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

From the state's new governor to the U.S. Supreme Court, tribal leaders in California say they are seeing a number of threats to their sovereignty.

At the 9th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference, held in Palm Springs last week, protection of the state's $4 billion tribal casino industry was high on the agenda. But attendees went further and said gaming helps tribes address other problems they encounter.

"We are in modern warfare. Don't make a mistake about that," said Anthony Pico, chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. "Gaming to me is a factory that fashions the bows and arrows that will create a place for our people seven generations from now."

On the gaming front, some tribal leaders were quick to cite Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Earlier this month, he proposed to take $500 million in revenues from tribal casinos, and he has appointed an attorney to renegotiate existing agreements. Tribes that already operate casinos are under no obligation to reopen their compacts but attendees were nevertheless alarmed.

"That's a threat to our sovereignty," said Ken Gilbert, a council member for the Concow Maidu Tribe of the Mooretown Rancheria. "We have a big job to continue to try to educate everybody that is opposed to the things we are doing. A lot of [the opposition] is because of not knowing."

Gilbert's comments underscored a familiar theme heard throughout the conference, which was sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. Tribal leaders said the state's citizens, particularly voters, need to be informed about Indian history and tribal rights.

"Are we a special interest group?" asked Tracy Edwards, chairwoman of the Redding Rancheria. "That's not what we are."

Edwards said it was important to reach out to local communities. She said the tribe held a "State of the Tribe" address that was crucial in changing people's minds.

"It was dispelling the myths of what the tribe was going to do," she said. "Here's our plans. There's no secret there."

Pico also cited lack of education as a major problem. But he said the effort needs start at home with a tribe's own membership. "It becomes institutionalized," he said. "No matter what tribal leadership is in, that education component will continue."

Marc Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, called the Supreme Court "hands down" the single biggest threat, pointing to recent decisions, including some that originated in the state, that have chipped away at tribal sovereignty. "Don't get fooled by battles over initiatives, over your land or over anything else," he warned.

"None of it matters if the Supreme Court keeps going the way it is going," he continued. "It will all be over."

Leslie Lohse, council member for the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, brought up "complacency" by tribes. In the past five years, tribes were successful in winning over state voters, who overwhelmingly approved two initiatives supporting Indian gaming. But more recently, she said tribes have allowed themselves "to be defined by what we do instead of who we are."

"We need to get that message out as to who we are," Lohse told conference attendees. "That's our biggest threat to tribal sovereignty ... it's complacency on our part."

Pico relayed a similar concern when he said Indian people are in danger of becoming too materialistic. Tribes are more interested in the pursuit of material items rather than understanding and implementing long-term goals.

"Our own passion is paramount," he said. "Exercising our sovereignty depends a lot on our passion."

Relevant Links:
California Nations Indian Gaming Association - http://www.cniga.com
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - http://www.governor.ca.gov/state/govsite/gov_homepage.jsp

Related Stories:
Calif. tribes meet challenges to gaming rights (1/15)
Calif. tribes welcome pick for compact negotiator (01/08)
Schwarzenegger seeks revenues from gaming tribes (01/07)
Commentary: Gaming tribes must serve public (11/25)
Calif. tribes put aside rhetoric of recall election (11/10)
Schwarzenegger picks card club adviser for post (11/06)
Commentary: 'Promiscuous' spending by Calif. tribes (11/04)
Opinion: Calif. tribes on 'defensive' after recall (10/21)
Column: Schwarzenegger groped Indians in Calif. (10/20)
Harjo: Schwarzenegger needs education on Indians (10/20)
Commentary: Schwarzenegger wrong on Indian gaming (10/16)
WSJ Column: Tribes should pay their fair share (10/14)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
First Lady Michelle Obama shares story of hope with Indian school (5/26)
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Santa Fe Indian School (5/26)
Gary Davis of NCAIED joins Small Business Administration council (5/26)
Arne Vainio: A mother's gift carried me through many life journeys (5/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (5/26)
Lakota Country Times: Education Secretary hears from Pine Ridge (5/26)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home (5/26)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (5/26)
Gyasi Ross: Drug epidemic sweeping through Native communities (5/26)
Jacqueline Keeler: Shameful and skewed poll on racist NFL name (5/26)
Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program (5/26)
Auction house in France won't stop sale of sacred tribal property (5/26)
United Keetoowah Band installs new leader after impeachment (5/26)
Kewa Pueblo builds new community around historic trading post (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee elder translates 'Charlotte's Web' into Tsalagi (5/26)
Puyallup Tribe works to keep language alive for new generations (5/26)
Iowa Tribe offers free play on poker website ahead of full launch (5/26)
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gaming options closer to home (5/26)
Kaw Nation receives national award for tribal gaming initiatives (5/26)
Indian Health Service reform efforts gaining steam on Capitol Hill (5/25)
Indian Health Service announces more hires at troubled hospital (5/25)
Keepseagle attorneys open application process for $38M in grants (5/25)
Three tribes enter cooperative agreements for buy-back program (5/25)
New leader selected for HUD's Office of Native American Programs (5/25)
Indian relay racers gear up for event hosted by Muckleshoot Tribe (5/25)
Cronkite News: Tribes seek return of property up for sale in France (5/25)
Native Sun News: Anti-suicide effort incorporates tribal traditions (5/25)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth showcase film projects (5/25)
Mark Trahant: Native vote victory for Tawna Sanchez in Oregon (5/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Lakota people come together in times of need (5/25)
Editorial: Tribes must come up with plan for return of Black Hills (5/25)
John McCoy: Disenrollment and blood quantum are not our way (5/25)
Adrian Jawort: Addressing race relations and healing in Montana (5/25)
Fort Peck Tribes oppose new directive on transgender students (5/25)
Leader of United Keetoowah Band ousted through impeachment (5/25)
Agua Caliente Band launches software development company (5/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (5/25)
Cowlitz Tribe welcomes discussions with opponent over casino (5/25)
Little Traverse Bay Bands open doors to Class II gaming facility (5/25)
Tuolumne Band celebrates 15th birthday with casino expansion (5/25)
Former Winnebago Tribe casino employee denies theft charge (5/25)
Proposed rule brings LGBT equality to tribal housing programs (5/24)
Chairman of Quapaw Tribe endorses Democrat Hillary Clinton (5/24)
Appropriations bill blocks new federal recognition regulation (5/24)
Native American Children's Safety Act clears final Hill hurdle (5/24)
9th Circuit won't rehear Tohono O'odham Nation gaming case (5/24)
Lakota Country Times: Army promises return of tribal children (5/24)
Native Sun News: New business sprouts up at Wounded Knee (5/24)
Mark Trahant: Tulalip citizen lands role in Democratic platform (5/24)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pine Ridge unites for search of missing men (5/24)
Men who went missing found dead on Pine Ridge Reservation (5/24)
Billy Mills: Flawed poll can't justify use of team's racist mascot (5/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.