County finally agrees to discuss land issues with Chumash Tribe

From left: Santa Ynez Band Chairman Vincent Armenta, Santa Barbara County executive officer Mona Miyasato and Santa Barbara County supervisor Steve Lavagnino appear at a House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs on June 16, 2015. Photo by Andrew Bahl for Indianz.Com

After prodding from members of Congress, officials in Santa Barbara County, California, have finally agreed to enter into talks with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

Chairman Vincent Armenta accepted the invitation to participate in an ad hoc subcommittee that will discuss land-into-trust and other issues. But he warned that opening the talks to the public could hinder the process.

"It is obviously set up to fail", Armenta told KEYT. "I believe that was their intention, it was very clear from the beginning and they know that."

The tribe has long been asking the county to come to the table. But officials have instead chosen to fight a land-into-trust application that the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved late last year.

The county's obstinance drew criticism at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs in June. The panel's chairman, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), urged officials to work with the tribe or face action on H.R.1157, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians Land Transfer Act , a bill that places about 1,400 acres in trust.

Get the Story:
County Making Nice with Chumash? (The Santa Barbara Independent 8/27)
Santa Barbara County Invites Chumash to Talks on Controversial Land Plans (KEYT 8/26)
County to consider land talks with Chumash (The Lompoc Record 8/23)

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