Law | Politics

Chumash Tribe slams official for questioning 'reservation system'

Vincent Armenta

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is criticizing an official in Santa Barbara County, California, who questioned the nature of tribal sovereignty.

At a public meeting on Tuesday, supervisor Peter Adam called for a re-examination of the "reservation system" in the U.S. “I think it’s inadvisable to have sovereign inholdings in the middle of our nation,” he said, according to video from the meeting.

The comments came as the county discussed its 2015 legislative platform. The document includes a section on land use -- the Chumash Tribe's land-into-trust application has been a major source of controversy in the community.

“This type of ignorant comment shows what our tribe is up against when we try to work with the County of Santa Barbara, and it shows why these officials refuse to recognize our tribe as a government,” Chumash Chairman Vincent Armenta said in response. “I’m very disappointed not only in Supervisor Adam’s remarks, but by the silence of the majority of this board when these outrageous statements were made.”

Supervisor Salud Carbajal was the only official who spoke out against the comments made by Adam. "To re-examine the existence of reservations and sovereign governments in our nation … is appalling to me," he said, The Santa Maria Sun reported.

Native Americans make up just 1.3 percent of the county population and the Chumash are the only federally-recognized tribe in the county. Yet officials spend a significant amount of time and resources on tribal issues.

Get the Story:
Chumash Tribe Blasts Santa Barbara Supervisor on Sovereignty Comments (KEYT 1/15)
Santa Barbara County supervisors pass a legislative platform, bicker over its nuances (The Santa Maria Sun 1/13)

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