It's probably best to avoid Soboba while tempers are flaring. Three tribal members were shooting indiscriminately endangering San Jacinto and travelers.
The head of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians on Wednesday decried claims that his security officers have been obstructing Riverside County's sheriff deputies.
“This isn't the 1800s when the Calvary came,” tribal Chairman Robert Salgado said.
Salgado spoke out the day after Sheriff Stanley Sniff Jr. told the county Board of Supervisors that he had written to the National Indian Gaming Commission, asking that it suspend the tribe's gaming license.
“My recommendation was for them to suspend the license unless — and until — the sheriff's department has free and unrestricted access” to the reservation, Sniff said.
He said the tribe had a “history of violence and a propensity to violence.”
When sheriff's deputies come on the reservation, tribal security guards merely want to know where they are going and why, Salgado said. He added that deputies have no right to patrol sovereign tribal land at will.
Salgado said he and the sheriff interpret the federal law that applies to local law enforcement differently.
He said he understood that deputies should be allowed unrestricted access to the reservation in the case of an emergency. But, in the case of routine business, sheriff's deputies should at least tell to tribal authorities where they are going and why.
The reservation covers about 6,000 acres.
A forum is scheduled for Aug. 11, during which a discussion is to take place about the issues surrounding Public Law 280, which turned over law enforcement duties to local governments in 1953.
Sniff said last week that he understood the law to give sheriff's deputies unrestricted access to the reservation. Permission from the tribe is not necessary to enter at any time, he said.