OC Weekly: Blood dispute within Juaneno Band
"Photographs line the walls of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation office in a former fire station on La Matanza Street in San Juan Capistrano. One series shows modern-day tribal members collecting tule leaves for cone-shaped huts known as kiichas that their ancestors used as shelter.

No Kodak moments are reserved for the tribe’s longtime former chairman, David Belardes, who is the chief of a separate Juaneño faction. The tribal council, led by chairman Anthony Rivera, does not recognize other factions—and they contend Belardes is not even a Juaneño. That charge has been amplified repeatedly on ocweekly.com since the publication of a recent Weekly cover story (“Chief Belardes Makes His Stand,” Feb. 6) and related posts on the paper’s staff blog, Navel Gazing.

This is just the latest salvo in a battle that has been raging between Juaneño factions for years. Besides Rivera and Belardes’ San Juan Capistrano-based groups, there are Santa Ana-based factions led by Joe Ocampo and Bud Sepulveda. The San Juan Capistrano schism has been blamed on everything from Belardes’ alleged profiteering as a Native American monitor for powerful land developers to the divisive influence of Las Vegas gambling interests."

Get the Story:
Anthony Rivera's Juaneno Indian Tribal Council Says Chief David Belardes Is No Juaneno (OC Weekly 2/18)
Belardes is No Chief, Says Last 'Real' Juaneno Chief's Grandson (OC Weekly 2/19)