Sycuan Indians Want More Land

The Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians wants to expand their reservation, but county supervisor Dianne Jacob says she is against the idea which would put more land into the tribe's federal trust.

Jacob is concerned the quality of the tribe's Environmental Assessment is poor. She says the report fails to look at the possible resort and casino related projects that could be built on the property after it becomes part of the tribe's trust.

“A project of this scope and undertaking justifies a more detailed evaluation of the environmental consequences and alternatives than is provided in the Environmental Assessment," Jacob said in a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe says they are only trying to annex property they already own, property which they say was originally part of the reservation, said tribe spokesperson Adam Day.

The tribe wants to place an equestrian center, a RV park, and a facility for their annual Pow Wow on the new property. The annexed land would also include the Sycuan Resort, also known as the Singing Hills Country Club.

In her letter, Jacob says she is concerned placing additional land into the tribe's trust would result in a $679,848 loss in property and transient occupancy taxes and an unknown amount of sales tax from the resort.

The tribe has offered to mitigate any lost revenue for the county, Day said. He said the tribe has offered to meet with Jacob on several occasions only to be rebuffed.

"We had to move forward," Day said. "We weren't going to allow her to hold us hostage."

The Sycuan reservation is 1 square mile, two-thirds of it is occupied by the Sweetwater River and a steep mountain, Day said. The annexation would increase the size of the reservation by 1,357 acres.

The decision on the matter is up to the BIA, which Day said is expected to announce their decision in the next few weeks.

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