January 25, 2010
ALEXANDER VALLEY, CA - The tribal council chairperson, Scott Gabaldon, of the Mishewal Wappo Indians of Alexander Valley says the tribe has no plans for a casino.
The tribe is suing the U.S. government to return their tribal status and restore their tribal lands on the Russian River northeast of Healdsburg. They claim their tribe was unlawfully disbanded by the federal government in 1959.
"We are trying to get back what was taken from us," Gabaldon said. "The tribe will not make future plans until it has regained federal recognition."
Federal recognition is a fundamental step towards building an Indian casino. Sonoma County officials are concerned about the possibility. In 1991 they blocked the Lytton Pomos tribe from opening a casino in Alexander Valley. That tribe later built a casino in San Pablo in the East Bay.
The Wappos case is pending in federal court in San Jose. Last Friday attorneys for the Justice Department denied most of the allegations and asked the judge to dismiss the case.
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