Opinion | Trust

Opinion: Chumash Tribe won't compromise in land-into-trust talks

A view of the Chumash Tribe's land-into-trust site in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo from Chumash EA

Doreen Farr and Peter Adam, two members of the board of supervisors in Santa Barbara County, California, who have consistently opposed the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, offer their take on the status of land-into-trust talks with the tribe:
Last fall, the full Board of Supervisors appointed us as an ad-hoc subcommittee to hold open public meetings with both the tribe’s chairman and vice chairman. Our board gave us broad latitude to discuss whatever the tribe wanted.

Initially, we suggested that the talks include all land owned by the tribe, except for the existing reservation. However, after the first meeting the tribe chose to confine discussions to the 1,400-acre “Camp 4” property, and we complied, drafting a detailed term sheet to discuss and provide the basis for an agreement.

Unfortunately, after seven meetings, we have been unable to reach agreement on any of five main issues. Regarding the amount of property to be taken into trust, we proposed what the tribe requested in their application to the federal government as to their stated need of property to provide housing and tribal facilities.

We first offered about 200 acres and then later increased it to 900 acres, even though the tribe had not moved from their position of wanting all 1,400 acres in to trust without providing additional information as to what the rest of the property would be used for.

We provisionally agreed to the term length of the tribe’s gaming compact with the State of California, with a reopener provision. Initially, the tribe seemed to agree, but then came back at our last meeting with unclear language that would allow for the term to be shortened.

Get the Story:
Doreen Farr and Peter Adam: Doreen Farr and Peter Adam: An Open Letter on Chumash Tribal Issues (Noozhawk 3/10)

Also Today:
Supervisors vote to block Chumash parcel from entering federal trust (The Santa Maria Sun 3/9)

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