Two California groups who are fighting a land-into-trust application by the Santa Ynez Band of
were recently awarded $250,000 for winning a lawsuit.
Preservation of Los Olivos
(POLO) and Preservation of Santa Ynez sued the Bureau of Indian Affairs
for approving the application. The BIA responded that the groups lacked standing.
A federal judge sided with the groups, prompting them to seek legal fees from the federal government. They are now waiting for a chance to argue on the merits of the land-into-trust application.
“We had won the right to be heard in court, and if we could make the federal government admit this legal action protecting our rights, then the government would know a lot of other groups would be right behind us ready to defend their communities," Kathy Cleary, the board president of POLO, told The Santa Ynez Valley Journal.
The tribe wants 6.8 acres placed in trust for a retail building, cultural center, museum and commemorative park. The property sits across the street from the tribe's casino.
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LOCAL GROUPS AWARDED $250,000 OVER CHALLENGE TO CHUMASH EXPANSION
(The Santa Ynez Valley Journal 11/12)
California a battleground after land-into-trust ruling