The portly chairman, sorry, fat-headed Chairman Robert Smith, of Pala had an editorial last week in the Fresno Bee. It only got ONE comment, so he didn't strike any chord with readers. They must have seen his interview on KCBS last year: See it HERE: http://www.originalpechanga.com/2013/04/a-repost-of-kcbs-channel-2-reporter.html
Here is that EDITORIAL:
In 2000, Californians approved Proposition 1A, legalizing casinos on Indian land. Along with that vote came an explicit understanding: Gambling would stay on reservations, away from urban areas. OP: Tribes ALSO said they would help all natives. They said they would take their members off welfare. Instead, they exterminated THOUSANDS from tribal rolls.
Thirteen years later, the Legislature must decide whether to honor that mandate or approve a casino proposal in Madera County, one of the biggest decisions in Indian Country in years.
Although Indian tribes in California do not see every political issue through the same lens, they share the same tragic history, a past creating bonds that have withstood many modern conflicts. OP: THE tribes now are CREATING a tragic history for themselves.
Unfortunately, the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians has opted to threaten that sense of unity by pursuing a casino away from ancestral land on a more commercially viable site just outside Madera, along Highway 99.
The North Fork tribe characterizes any criticism of its project by other tribes as "tribal fighting." That posture not only misstates the controversy, but also ignores legitimate concerns raised by this project.
Federal and state laws permit federally recognized Indian tribes to pursue their economic independence. But in this case, out-of-state developers and investors are using the North Fork tribe to open a loophole in the law that would otherwise prohibit this casino.
These outside investors and developers, their eyes aglow with dollar signs, hope that tribe-on-tribe squabbling will conceal their true aim -- exploiting the North Fork people in order to evade the law and build a casino in a more profitable location. OP: Robert Smith's eyes glow with dollar signs too. That's why he and his cronies eliminated over 160 PALA TRIBAL MEMBERS. To steal their per capita checks.
Just as the North Fork tribe has stated, "tribal fighting" does not help anyone; it only hurts the genuine pursuit of positive government-to-government relationships that all tribes seek. It is time for an honest assessment of what is happening here, and it's clear that attacking tribes for pointing out the fundamental unfairness of this proposal is the only "tribal fighting" under way.
Additionally, tribal governments explicitly promised during the Prop. 1A campaign that casinos would never be developed off Indian reservations. Opponents of Prop. 1A alleged that tribes were conspiring with Las Vegas casinos and out-of-state developers to build casinos near urban areas and off the remote locations where they were intended.
Back then tribes guaranteed to voters that the claim was false. Now, if the North Fork casino is approved, the opponents will be proven right.
The reality is the North Fork Rancheria has land eligible for Indian gaming. The North Fork Rancheria's ancestral land is in the Sierra, not on the valley floor where the Chowchilla Tribe of Yokuts traditionally lived. The location outside Madera purchased by investors for the North Fork tribe is much more lucrative, though, than land high up in mountains.
Tribes that worked to pass Prop. 1A kept their promises and located casinos on reservations in less than ideal locations. Although Gov. Jerry Brown and federal officials have approved the site, they did so in violation of California's law. The current policy in California does not allow tribes to build off their reservations and the North Fork casino represents the first time a tribe in California would be allowed to do so.
REMEMBER when Pechanga tried to keep us from VOTING???