Opinion | Federal Recognition

Opinion: Recognition for Mishewal Wappo Tribe is devastating

"The Mishewal Wappo Indian claim on some property in Sonoma, Napa, or Lake counties is a difficult issue to discuss critically, because no one wants to appear to be kicking people who have already been so abused. So let's just stipulate from the beginning that the Indians, including if not especially in Napa, were treated disgracefully and I nor anyone I know want that to continue.

On the other hand, taking over a large piece of Federal property to most likely build a Casino that no one in the county wants is a very serious matter. It is important that this situation be evaluated fairly for all sides.

So I went back and read the actual legal complaint, which you can find here: http://turtletalk.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/materials-in-mishewal-wappo-federal-recognition-case/

According to this the Wappo's were given land way back around the turn of the century, the 20th century that is, and held it until 1959. At that time due to a new California state law, individual Indians on the property were able to take possession of the various parcels as owners, and they then sold them, taking them out of the Indian reservation system. The claim now is that due to certain omissions by the government at that time, some people claiming to be Wappo now want that land back, or some other property nearby. However, the reasons they give look pretty skimpy.

The government was supposed to put in an irrigation system and they didn't? Survey the parcels, bring the roads up to county standards?? Of what D minus? If they are still dirt roads they are probably better than county standards now!

But the real problem is that they waited 52 years to make these minor complaints, then say they want their land back, which they voluntarily gave up. It raises all kinds of credibility questions."

Get the Story:
Michael Haley: Wappo claim will devastate ag preserve (The Napa Valley Register 3/18)

Related Stories:
Editorial: County rightly worried about Mishewal Wappo casino (2/22)
County takes battle against Mishewal Wappo Tribe to Capitol Hill (2/10)
County settles federal recognition case with Mishewal Wappo Tribe (2/2)
City seeks to join lawsuit over Mishewal Wappo Tribe recognition (12/15)
Judge lets counties join Mishewal Wappo recognition lawsuit (6/15)
Judge delays hearing over Mishewal Wappo recognition (4/20)
County cites gaming fears in Mishewal Wappo lawsuit (3/9)
Judge delays hearing over Mishewal Wappo recognition (6/2)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe not thinking about casino for now (1/20)

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