Robert Smith serves as chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and as chairman of the California Tribal Business Alliance. Photo from California Native American Day / Facebook
The California Tribal Business Alliance is up to two members. The organization at times has exerted significant political power in the state. But its membership waned in recent years and the group was down to just one tribe: the Pala Band of Luiseño Indians. The Pala Band is no longer alone anymore. The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians rejoined the organization after a seven-year absence. "We are very pleased to have Chukchansi once again represented on our board," CTBA Chairman Robert Smith, who also serves as chairman of the Pala Band, said in a press release. "While we have never stopped working with Chukchansi on issues of importance to Indian Country, their formal participation on our board will further strengthen CTBA's voice in Sacramento and across the country." "We have a longstanding relationship with CTBA," said Chukchansi Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales, who will serve as Secretary/Treasurer of the organization. "Given the many policy issues that we are addressing within Indian Country, including off reservation gaming, sacred sites issues, land and natural resource issues, we are eager to once again join the CTBA board." The CTBA formed in 2004 and started off with a handful of tribes that were mostly represented by the same attorney. The group's policy and legal stances are usually at odds with most other tribes in the state.
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