Opinion | Federal Recognition

Editorial: County rises to counter threat of federal recognition

Newspaper praises county for opposing federal recognition for the Mishewal Wappo Tribe of California:
We’re proud of our Ag Preserve, our wine industry and proud that Napa County has not been paved over. There has been long-standing popular support for the protection of our ag lands, and our local elected officials seek to maintain the quality of life here, which is so significantly based around grapes and wines.

Some challenges to land use are thornier than others. Case in point: For the past three years, Napa County officials have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars seeking to stop federal recognition of the Mishewal Wappo Tribe of Alexander Valley. While none would argue against cultural revival celebrating Mishewal Wappo language, traditions and history, official federal recognition brings with it many consequences, some unintended, for our county's economy and patterns of land use. It’s difficult to take a stand against federal recognition of an Indian tribe, but county officials believe federal recognition equals a casino.

Additionally, it could mean other economic development projects, including trucking and warehousing. Scott Gabaldon, tribal chairman of the Mishewal Wappo Tribe since 2007, said the tribe’s 341 members are not wealthy and investors are paying legal fees for the first chance at economic development that the tribe may pursue. He called it a myth that the investors are casino backers.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Federal recognition equals a casino (The St. Helena Star 8/1)

Related Stories:
Mishewal Wappo Tribe identifies backers of federal recognition (7/31)
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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