Mishewal Wappo Tribe waits for decision in recognition lawsuit

Frank Salsedo (1929-2009) died without seeing a resolution to the Mishewal Wappo Tribe's federal recognition lawsuit. Photo from Aveleyman

It looks like the Mishewal Wappo Tribe of California will be getting an answer soon in its federal recognition lawsuit.

Judge Edward J. Davila issued a status update and promised a decision on or around March 31. He said he is still "reviewing the extensive historical record presented in this action and is carefully considering the arguments in conjunction with such review."

The update came in response to a motion filed by the tribe in which Chairman Scott Gabaldon said several elders have died since the inception of the lawsuit. Another elder was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness.

"Knowledge of the status of this lawsuit, in consideration of the life changing impact it could have, would provide great relief to this aspect of the tribe’s continued welfare," the tribe said in a motion last November.

The tribe was terminated by an act of Congress in 1959. The lawsuit, however, claims the Bureau of Indian Affairs did not carry out the process in a lawful manner, an argument that has been made in cases that resulted in the restoration of federal status for other California tribes.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009. Talks with the Obama administration almost resulted in a settlement.

Get the Story:
Ruling on Wappo tribe case could come in a month (The Napa Valley Register 2/25)

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