Chumash Tribe and county finally meet to discuss land issues

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

It took some prodding from Congress, but Santa Barbara County, California, formally met with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians for the first time in a decade on Thursday.

The tribe has repeatedly asked for government-to-government talks to discuss its development plans. But the county refused until Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) threatened to move forward with a land-into-trust bill at a contentious hearing in June.

Since then, the county has agreed to come to the table to discuss the pending acquisition of 1,400 acres -- the property that is the subject of H.R.1157, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians Land Transfer Act -- and other recent purchases of about 352 acres.

The tribe previously offered $1 million a year for 10 years to offset the loss of property taxes on the property, The Santa Barbara Independent reported. The land will be used for housing, a health clinic, a wastewater treatment plant, and an administration room, the paper said.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the application last December. The county has filed an administration appeal with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals that would be mooted if Congress enacts H.R.1157.

The tribe has since filed a land-into-trust application for another 2 acres of recently acquired land. A different 350-acre parcel hasn't been the subject an application so far.

Get the Story:
County, Chumash start talks about land use, other concerns (The Lompoc Record 9/25)
Chumash Leaders and County Officials Meet (The Santa Barbarra Independent 9/24)

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