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LA Times: Explosion of wealth changes Chumash Tribe

The Los Angeles Times runs a front-page story on the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and how the tribe has been affected by the success of its casino.

Tribal members lived in poor conditions for much of the past 300 years. The Chumash population was reduced by 90 percent by the mid-1800s, the result of disease, encroachment and the removal of tribal ancestors from traditional lands.

The situation didn't improve even after a reservation was established in Santa Barbara County for the Santa Ynez Band. Attempts to generate revenue through bingo and other ventures failed until the tribe turned to slot machines. Then the profits started rolling in.

Each month, every enrolled member receives a per capita check of nearly $30,000. Only those who have at least one-fourth Chumash blood qualify for the payment, leading to disputes among families and attempts to remove some people from the rolls.

Some elderly tribal members feel guilty for the newfound wealth and the homes, cars, properties and lavish lifestyle it created. Other members have had trouble managing the money.

Get the Story:
A Life of Payouts, Not Handouts (The Los Angeles Times 12/3)
Blood Feuds Over Lineage (The Los Angeles Times 12/3)

Relevant Links:
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians -

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