The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians land-into-trust site, also known as Camp 4, in Santa Barbara County, California. Photo: Chumash Facts

Chumash Tribe finally secures county approval for land-into-trust agreement

It took years of work and prodding from Congress but the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has finally reached a land-into-trust agreement with Santa Barbara County in California.

The county board of supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to accept the agreement, Noozhawk reported. The decision came after hours of discussion at a special meeting.

“This is historic,” Chairman Kenneth Kahn said at the meeting, Noozhawk reported “It’s monumental. This is just the beginning of what two governments can achieve when we sit down and have tough conversations.”

The agreement addresses a 1,400-acre site known as Camp 4. It requires the county to dismiss a lawsuit that it filed to stop the Bureau of Indian Affairs from placing the land into trust.

It also requires the county to support H.R.1491, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act. The bill ratifies the BIA's land-into-trust decision, though there is no guarantee it, or a future version, will become law.

In exchange for the concessions, the tribe agreed to make an annual mitigation payment of $178,500 to the county. The tribe also agreed to a limited waiver of sovereign immunity to enforce the terms of the deal.

Despite the county's vote, local opposition to the tribe remains intense. A lawsuit has been filed in state court in hopes of derailing the agreement. Opposition groups have tied up the tribe's prior land-into-trust applications with litigation and administrative challenges.

The tribe plans to use a portion of Camp 4 for housing and other development.

Read More on the Story:
Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors OKs Pact With Chumash For Camp 4 Development (Noozhawk October 31, 2017)
Camp 4 agreement with Chumash approved by Board of Supervisors (The Lompoc Record October 31, 2017)
Santa Ynez Valley Landowner Asks Court To Halt Santa Barbara County, Chumash Camp 4 Agreement (Noozhawk October 26, 2017)
Cappello Challenges Camp 4 Annexation (The Santa Barbara Independent October 26, 2017)

An Opinion:
Canary: Dirty business (The Santa Maria Sun October 24, 2017)

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