The reporters at the Fresno Bee have done excellent work in telling the story of what's happening at the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. Great teamwork in the storytelling
On a June day in 1999, close to 20 Chukchansi members burst into tribal headquarters, banging on doors, screaming and terrorizing staff members inside. Daisy Liedkie, the Chukchansi tribal chair at the time, later said one of the aggressors spit on her.
The Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino was at that time still mostly a dream, but the tantalizing possibility of big money had already begun to cause internal squabbling — squabbling that continues to this day. Now the casino sits closed, with millions being lost, because tribal members can’t get along.
Madera County sheriff’s deputies were called to the incident 15 years ago, and a subsequent report described the scene as “some sort of insurrection by Indian subjects.” Liedkie, 80 at the time, was ousted as tribal chair, and a short time later she and all her relatives were kicked out of the tribe. Scores more were sent packing with them.
“I think it was the death of her,” Chuck Schillings says of his late grandmother. “It just ripped her apart.”
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