The land-into-trust site, also known as Camp 4, in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo: Chumash Facts
Law | National | Trust

Chumash Tribe celebrates approval of land-into-trust application

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is moving forward with plans for more housing after winning approval of a controversial land-into-trust application.

According to news reports, the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to place the 1,400-acre site in trust after a lengthy review process. An exact date wasn't given but it appears the decision was made before the end of the Obama administration.

"This is a historical moment for the tribe," Chairman Kenneth Kahn said in a statement, Noozhawk reported. "It's important that we are able to have homes within our tribal jurisdiction. It's important for the survival and future of the tribe. We are able to focus on our efforts to have tribal housing, on tribal land for tribal people in order to support our culture."

The tribe filed the application in 2010 but immediately saw local opposition. Attempts to work with Santa Barbara County to address taxation, jurisdiction and other issues moved slowly until members of Congress threatened to place the land in trust anyway.

H.R.1157, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians Land Transfer Act, never became law but it brought the county to the table. An agreement, however, still hasn't been reached.

The county has since reaffirmed its intent to fight the BIA's decision. It's not completely clear whether that will come in the form of a lawsuit or a challenge to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, an avenue that has been used by opposition groups in the past.

Word of the approval came as the tribe celebrated the opening of the Avenue Heights Apartments. The 62-unit development include 12 low-income units.

Read More on the Story:
County supervisors file lawsuit challenging Chumash Camp 4 housing development (KEYT 1/31)
The Chumash Tribe celebrates Avenue Heights Apartments with ribbon cutting (KEYT 1/31)
Chumash expand reservation, county continues resistance (The Santa Maria Sun 1/25)
Bureau of Indian Affairs expands Santa Ynez Chumash's tribal lands (KCBX 1/24)
Chumash Win Federal Approval to Take Camp 4 Land Into Federal Trust (Noozhawk 1/23)
Chumash annex Camp 4 property into reservation (The Santa Ynez Valley News 1/23)
Chumash Complete Buellton Apartments (The Santa Barbara Independent 1/24)
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians completes construction on Buellton apartment complex (KEYT 1/15)

An Opinion:
Ron Fink: Is Opposition to Chumash Annexation Racism? (Noozhawk 1/31)

Related Stories:
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