Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Suspicious Death of Quechan Casino Opponent

The suspicious death of a young tribal singer has his family, friends and an influential Native American activist determined to see that authorities conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. The body of Lewis Jefferson, 21, was found on railroad tracks at the edge of the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge on Nov. 26. At the time, Jefferson was running for a seat on the tribal council, and the election was held just days after his death.

Jefferson, like other elders in his family, opposed the construction of casinos on sacred sites. With the Quechan currently building a new casino, the issue is a controversial one among the tribe, Arrow-Weed said.No stranger to conflict, activist Banks said he called the attorney general's office about Jefferson's death, but he was referred back to local authorities. Banks said when Native Americans get killed, not much tends to happen beyond the preliminary investigation."They look upon us as a nonexistent population. (The American Indian Movement is) going to monitor this very closely."

YUMA SUNhas the rest of the story

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