Federal Recognition

Mishewal Wappo Tribe identifies backers of federal recognition

The Mishewal Wappo Tribe of California is being backed by two brothers who run a trucking company, The Napa Valley Register reports.

Chairman Scott Gabaldon said Greg Akopian and Grish Akopian are funding the tribe's federal recognition lawsuit. He also said Nigel F. White, an accountant who has worked with other tribes, is acting as an adviser.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009. The tribe was reportedly near a settlement with the Obama administration but the parties went back to court this week in anticipation of a final ruling in the case.

In related news, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the removal of two counties from the suit. The court said the counties failed to show how their claims needed to be resolved by the litigation.

"The regulatory, sovereignty, and taxation interests that the Counties seek to enforce are unrelated to the subject matter of the tribe's action," the unpublished decision stated.

The lawsuit claims the tribe was unlawfully terminated.

Get the Story:
Wappo’s adviser has strong ties to casinos (The Napa Valley Register 7/31)

9th Circuit Decision:
Mishewal Wappo Tribe v. Salazar (July 29, 2013)

Related Stories:
Mishewal Wappo Tribe back in court in federal recognition suit (7/26)
Hearing scheduled in Mishewal Wappo Tribe's recognition case (07/08)
9th Circuit to hear appeal in Mishewal Wappo recognition case (6/3)

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