Tribe tells BIA official there’s no split

An official of the Bureau of Indian Affairs who visited a quarterly meeting of the San Pasqual tribe in San Diego County to heal a rift on the tribal council was told last week that no rift exists.

James Fletcher, who several weeks ago sent a letter to the tribe saying that he felt the tribal government was non-functional, and that a non-functioning government couldn’t operate a casino, was told by some members of the tribe at the meeting that the tribe legally suspended one member and impeached two other members of the council, called the “business committee” and legally replaced them.

Apparently the council members who were replaced do not accept that decision as legal, and they attempted to meet as the council earlier in the summer, although the tribe maintains that the meeting where they were ousted was conducted with a legal quorum of members.

Fletcher was told that the minutes of those meetings, when forwarded to him, would show that the tribe acted within its constitution.

While at that meeting Fletcher soothed fears that the casino might be closed over the issue by stating that the BIA could not on its own authority close down a casino. However, he said he had made a recommendation that the National Indian Gaming Commission, which does have that authority, review the matter.

Fletcher did not comment on whether he would accept the minutes of the meeting as proof that the tribe had legally replaced two council members, and that therefore no rift exists.