Friday, June 5, 2009

Redding Rancheria Donates Millions, Wintu Still Homeless

A Giant Cocrete Gathering Basket Sits Atop Win-River Casino an emblem of the Redding Rancheria's Mis-Use and Mis-Claim to Local Wintu Herritage.

The 150 member Redding Rancheria operates Win-River Casino in Redding, Ca. Created in 1921 by the Federal Government, the Redding Rancheria claims lineage from 3 north state Tribes the Wintu, Pit River, and Yana. Although the vast majority of its members claim Pit River descent, a tribe whos traditional territory (IGRA Gaming Regulations) is east of the Redding area by some 50 miles. The Wintu Tribe were not granted lands under the early 20th century federal policies to aquire land under the Rancheria Act (1918) as most of its members had taken allotments in "severalty" (see Dawes Act).

In 1958 the Redding Rancheria was termineted as a Tribe by the Federal Government under policy known as Wheeler-Howard Act. The Tribe its members and Land were restored to tribal status as a result of a single womans case (Hardwick v. Interior 1983) that over turned a number of Rancheria's that had been terminated under the genocidal federal policies of the 1940's and 50's. From this began the modern Redding Rancheria's Economic growth. Fist as a Indian Bingo Hall, and later in 1991 when gaming was passed in California Win River Casino was built. A federally created tribe, gaming within Wintu Territory. The Pit River Tribe already operates its own Pit River Casino in Burney, Ca 65 miles to the east of Redding.

The Wintu Tribe, in contrast, whos members constituted the pre-historical descendants of Wintu, lingered without federal aid as dozens of Wintu allotments were flooded by the Central Valley Project's Shasta Dam in the late 1930's. These families were not re-allotted above the high water mark of the new lake nor were these Wintu Memebers compensated for their loss of land by the Federal Government. Individually or collectively. Many Wintu families remained landless or sought refuge among other tribes thru this difficult era, like the Shasta, Karuk, and Pit River Tribes. The federal goverment has not acted to aquire land for the Wintu Tribe in the recent era. Under these conditions motivated members of the Wintu and Pit River Nations Occupied the former federal facilites located in Summit City, CA known then as Government Camp, later reffered to as Toyon, and Toyon Wintu Center. The facility was occupied under federal law allowing Nativce Americans to utilize unused federal facilities to better their tribe. Toyon Wintu Center was open from 1971 until its violent cultural standoff between local and federal officials and the Native Occupants in 1987.

It is interesting to note that the Redding Rancheria was still terminated at this time and was not restored to tribal status until Toyon had been open for 13 years in 1983. It was not long until the Wintu Poeple were removed from Toyon in 1987 and in 1988 placed on the new BAR list of Tribes seeking federal recognition thru the BIA. A downgrade in tribal status that has never been exsplained to the Tribe by the BIA. The Toyon Wintu Tribe has now been on the list since completeing its official correspondence by a 1993 deadline. However, 4 (four) other petitioning groups representing the Wintu people are also curently petitioning to the federal government thru BAR:

Wintu of Shasta 1984 (approx 100 members)

Wintu of Central Valley 1984 (United Bands Wintoon since 2005) (approx 350 members)

Wintun of Cottonwood 1984 (unknown status)

the Nor Rel Muk Nation 1983. (approx 650 members)

(note- Sisk's Winnemem org have never submitted LOI letters to BIA for federal recognition)

All of these tribes entered the OFA/BAR process in the 1980's seeking relief for their members not directly associated with Toyon Wintu Center and still none have yet to be reviewed by the BIA panel after nearly thirty years. From the above approximation, 1100 Wintu Members do not recieve assistance from the BIA, yet 150 Pit River Indians operate Win-River Casino thru Redding Rancheria, and are federally recognised since 1983, despite this being a violation of gaming statute thru NIGC. Gaming in California has generally benefitted a minotirty of California Indians (at about a 3:1 ratio statewide of Non-Gamning to Gaming members), white the majority of California Indians continue to linger without federal assistance or recognition. Win River Casino has generated an estimated 10 million dollars in contributions to state and federal agencies (Root-Wintu Demograph 2001) from 1991-2001, while not contributing a single dollar to the Tribe in whom's territory they were established by the Federal Goverment.

In 2005 the Redding Rancheria destroyed a signifigant Wintu Archaeological site to build a Hilton Hotel along Interstate 5 in the name of economic exspansion. In 1998 the Redding Rancheria destroyed a signifigant Wintu archaeological site on their 38 acre Rancheria, while exspanding their Casino along Clear Creek, a Riparian Habitat home to endangered salmonids. In 2007 the Redding Ranchera began a "Cultural Resourses Dep't" headed by fellon James Hayward (Pit River). In 2007 protests were held at the Redding Rancheria Health Clinic in Enterprise, CA as a result of reduced services to Local Wintu Indians by the Pit River leaders at Redding Rancheria.

Gaming operations like Redding Rancheria's Win River Casino, and the Pit River Casino, thru compact with the state are forced to redistribute some of the gaming revenue generated by these mafia stayle gaming facilties into the community to compensate for police and fire services as well as infrastructire and gaming related addiction services for the community. Yesterday in the local shotty reporting where local Native Issues are concerned, the Redding Record Searchlight (a Scripps-Howard owned conservative based media source) published an article stating this years return was tallied at $517.000.00. Still no funding for the Non-Gaming Wintu who remain landless, without recognition, homeless... right where the Redding Rancheria wants us. How many homes could be built at Toyon for elderly Wintu and Wintu Families at Toyon for $517.000.00? What is to be done of the continuing disparity and continuing racial injustice in Shasta County towards the Wintu People?

Pit River Casino in Burney, CA operated by the Pit River Tribe

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