Chumash Tribe slams 'disparaging' comment on Indian gaming

A view of the Chumash Casino Resort. Photo from Facebook

An odd remark about Indian gaming has set off a minor diplomatic crisis in Solvang, California.

Danish Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen visited Solvang last week to help open The Copenhagen House, a Danish design center. During his speech, he appeared to question the presence of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in the community

The tribe owns at least four properties in the city but there are no plans for a casino there. Yet Taksoe-Jensen vowed that a mythical Viking figure would protect the city "if some Indian casino or some other stuff tries to take over the Danishness of Solvang," according to news reports.

City leaders quickly distanced themselves from the comment -- one told the paper he "cringed" when he heard it. Chairman Vincent Armenta slammed the ambassador's remark as "disparaging" but said it wouldn't damage local relations.

"No matter how well intentioned, it is unfortunate that someone in his position would make such an easily misunderstood and potentially inflammatory comment. Still, we will not allow one person’s disparaging remarks about the tribe to impact our good relations with our neighbor," Armenta told The Lompoc Record.

The Chumash Casino Resort is located a few miles from Solvang.

Get the Story:
Solvang politicians distance themselves from ambassador's remarks (The Lompoc Record 3/11)
Danish Ambassador Cuts Ribbon on Solvang’s Copenhagen House (The Santa Ynez Valley News 3/5)
Danish Ambassador cuts ribbon on Danish design center (The Lompoc Record 3/4)

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