Chumash Tribe upset by lack of progress in land-into-trust talks

Tribal leaders, from left: Mike Lopez, Maxine Littlejohn, Chairman Vincent Armenta, Secretary/Treasurer Gary Pace and Vice Chair Kenneth Kahn. Photo from Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and officials in Santa Barbara County, California, remain far apart on the tribe's land-into-trust applications.

The tribe had to go to Congress to pressure the county to sit down for talks. But Chairman Vincent Armenta said local officials remain hostile, citing their decision to appeal an application for 2.18 acres.

The board of supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to fight the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The decision came during a closed session -- there was no advance notice in the agenda for the meeting.

“For all intents and purposes, the county has abandoned these parcels and has provided no meaningful services such that these parcels are de facto parts of the Santa Ynez Reservation,” Chairman Vincent Armenta said in a press release.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on March 1, 2016, to fight the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians on yet another land-into-trust application.

The tribe has applications pending for various parcels, including a 6.9-acre site that was delayed by litigation and administrative appeals for more than a decade. A 1,400-acre application remains the subject of heated local opposition and is the subject of H.R.3313, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians Land Transfer Act.

The 2.18-acre parcel is known locally as the Mooney-Escobar.parcels. The county will challenge the application before the Interior Board of Indian Appeals and, if necessary, in federal court, according to the board's minutes.

Get the Story:
Talks break down between Chumash, county subcommittee (The Lompoc Record 3/3)
Tribe, county return to bargaining table Thursday (The Lompoc Record 3/2)

An Opinion:
Bruce Porter: Balancing tribal needs and moving forward--as neighbors (The Santa Maria Sun 3/1)

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