Law | National

Standoff at Picayune Rancheria headquarters turns violent

One person was stabbed and two others were injured as a leadership dispute within the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in California turned violent on Tuesday.

A faction led by Morris Reid began occupying the tribal headquarters on Monday. Fights broke out on Tuesday with supporters of Chairman Reggie Lewis, who apparently was voted out of office but refuses to step down.

Madera County authorities stepped in and removed both groups from the building. The skirmishes left one Reid supporter, 19-year-old Nicholas Lujan, with stab wounds to the head and abdomen, according to news reports.

A security guard hired by the Lewis faction was also injured and hospitalized. A third person, identified as a young woman, refused treatment for a lip injury.

Reid and Lewis have agreed to a 48-hour cooling off period. County authorities remain stationed at the tribal headquarters on the reservation.

Reid and his allies on the council have promised to put an end to disenrollments within the tribe. The disenrollments mostly took place under the leadership of Lewis.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs says it won't get involved in the dispute.

Get the Story:
Near-riot at Chukchansi: 3 people injured, 2 detained in 38-hour rancheria standoff (The Fresno Bee 2/28)
Dispute Between Chukchansi Tribal Members Turns Violent (KSEE-TV 2/28)
Expert: Events at Chukchansi Triggered by Power Struggle (KSEE-TV 2/28)
Chukchansi tribe members call 48 hour truce (KSFN-TV 2/28)
Riot, Stabbing Leads To Sheriff Showing Force (KMPH-TV 2/29)
Deputies Stationed at Chukchansi (KGPE-TV 2/29)
Power Struggle Over Indian Tribe Splinters Into Violence in California (The New York Times 2/29)

Related Stories:
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BIA won't get involved in Chukchansi disenrollment dispute (2/10)
Opinion: BIA intervention required for Chukchansi dispute (02/02)
Opinion: Tribe heads in wrong direction with disenrollment (12/15)
Turtle Talk: Intolerance can lead to a weak tribal sovereign (12/14)
Chukchansi Tribe takes one of last fluent speakers off rolls (12/13)
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