The Juaneno Band of Mission Indians' 30-year bid to gain federal recognition has been denied, the tribe announced today.
The decision from the federal Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs comes four years after a preliminary report ruled the San Juan Capistrano-based tribe could not prove members lineage back to a historical tribe and had remained a governed group since then.
Wednesday's ruling indicates the tribe could not make progress in proving the same four areas: That external observes have continually identified the tribe since 1900; that the tribe has maintained political influence over its members; that members descended from a historical Indian tribe at Mission San Juan Capistrano.
The ruling covers both factions of Juanenos that had submitted applications for federal recognition, said Nedra Darling, the Indian Affairs spokeswoman.
Tribal leaders, including Chief Anthony Rivera, said they will appeal. Although Juanenos are spread throughout Southern California, Mission San Juan Capistrano is their spiritual center.
But the Juanenos have split over the years, often in publicized battles. When the city of San Juan Capistrano invited two factions to the opening of park in the Los Rios Historical District last year, Rivera's group heckled and mocked the other group while its members were leading a Native prayer