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Federal Recognition Denied to Orange County Indians

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November 27, 2007

ORANGE COUNTY – The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) denied federal recognition to the Juaneño Indian band of Orange County, who had filed their petition twenty-five years ago. Federal recognition would have allowed the 2,548-member Juaneño to establish a reservation and given them status to build a casino in Orange County.

The decision was based on seven criteria for which the BIA found inadequate evidence of four. The tribe did not show:
1. It existed as a Native American entity continuously since 1900.
2. It is a unique community.
3. Its petitioners "maintained political influence" over the members
4. Its members are descended from a historical tribe.

The BIA found only two percent could trace their ancestors to the original tribe living at San Juan Capistrano Mission in 1834.

The Juaneños have 8 months to appeal the decision.

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