Remembrances: Anna Prieto Sandoval's gamble lifted Sycuan Band
"Anna Sandoval introduced bingo and then casino gambling to the Sycuan Indians, and in the process helped to lift her small California tribe from destitution to prosperity.

Ms. Sandoval, who died Oct. 28 at age 76, was proud of the clinic, educational opportunities and social services that gambling revenue brought to the Sycuan Indian Reservation 25 miles east of San Diego. But she regretted the divisions money brought to the tribe, numbering about 100, and complained of the "infighting, power and greed" it wrought.

Ms. Sandoval, raised in a traditional household where she learned of snake-spirit ancestors and ate stone-ground acorn mush, was elected tribal chairwoman in 1972. Reservation life was grim. With few jobs, most residents relied on a monthly surplus-food delivery by a government "commodity truck." Diabetes was rampant, yet the reservation had no clinic.

In 1983, after a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed California Indians to run high-stakes bingo games free of state and local oversight, Ms. Sandoval urged the tribe to open a bingo hall on reservation land she owned. The hall was a quick success, and soon employed nearly a third of the reservation's adults."

Get the Story:
Remembrances: Her Wager on Gambling Lifted Tribe (The Wall Street Journal 11/9)

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Anna Prieto Sandoval, former chair of Sycuan Band, passes at 76 (11/8)