Jamul Indian Village

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Jamul Indian Village
San Diego County, Jamul is highlighted in red
Total population
(60[1]–120 enrolled members[2])
Regions with significant populations
United States United States California (California)
Ipai,[3] English
Traditional tribal religion,
Christianity (Roman Catholic)
Related ethnic groups
other Kumeyaay tribes, Cocopa, Quechan, Paipai, and Kiliwa

The Jamul Indian Village of California is a federally recognized tribe of Kumeyaay Indians,[4] who are sometimes known as Mission Indians.


The Jamul Indian Village is a federal reservation, located 10 miles southeast of El Cajon, in southeastern San Diego County, California.[4] It is six acres large[2] No one lives on the reservation although 20 members lived there in the 1970s. It was established in 1912.[5]


The Jamul Indian Village is headquartered in Jamul, California. They are governed by a democratically elected tribal council. Erica Pinto is their current tribal chairperson.[6]

Casino Controversy[edit]

In 1999, the Village announced their intent to develop a new hotel and casino. The original plan, which required the US government to annex 81 acres (330,000 m2) of surrounding land to complete the project, met with strong opposition from local residents. After the annexation effort was denied, the casino plan was revised to fit the 6-acre (24,000 m2) reservation grounds. Despite continuing opposition from townspeople, a ceremonial groundbreaking took place on 10 December 2005.

The $200 million project is financed by Lakes Entertainment of Minnesota. The casino's original concept was to be developed according to the State of California's gambling compact. Proponents emphasize increased revenue for the state and the tribe, as well as 2000 new jobs for all members of the community, while opponents fear strain on its police and fire services, a major impact on the local water supply, and argue that a 15-story building will permanently change the town's character. The chief concern is the increased traffic on the main road through the town, Highway 94. The proposed casino location is such that all the traffic to and from would likely pass through the middle of the town.

On Feb 7, 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs held a meeting to discuss the environmental impact report produced by the Jamul Indian Tribe in support of the casino project. Hundreds of Jamul residents showed up to express almost unanimous opposition to the casino.

On Sept 13, 2006, casino organizers held a meeting with the townspeople on site to address their concerns. The casino plan was further clarified, with an artist's conception of the proposed six story casino and 12-story hotel complex on display. A court reporter was on hand to receive comments for or against the proposal, and of the 40 who did so, three were in favor. Most of the negative comments were in regard to increased traffic on Highway 94, which narrows to a two-lane road at the proposed site of casino.

On Mar. 10, 2007, the tribe evicted three residents (not tribal members) who had been living on the Indian Village land but who opposed the casino- Karen Toggery and her son and Walter Rosales. Local Jamulians gathered to protest the evictions. The Tribe hired a local security company and "deputized" them as "Jamul Tribal Police." These guards then utilized pepper spray and metal batons on some of the protestors who trespassed onto Tribal property and refused to leave. Tribal chairman Leon Acebedo signed an agreement witnessed by local Board of Supervisors member Dianne Jacob that stipulated that the homes of the evicted would not be destroyed for at least seven days. The homes were demolished two days later, leading to considerable controversy in the community. An unrelated statement was released that same day stating that the tribal leaders no longer wished to negotiate with the state regarding the casino and were planning a casino with Class II games only- which do not include slot machines- as casinos with only Class II games are not governed by compacts with the State of California.

On October 1, 2008 the tribe sued CalTrans after months of unsuccessful negotiations. The tribe claimed their sovereignty gives them the right to use the land that they see fit. CalTrans maintained that they represent the public’s safety and that they will not approve the permits to put a stoplight in the middle of 94 unless more environmental impact studies (EIR) are performed. The tribe continued to maintain that CalTrans’ preferred, safe alternative of building a driveway off a side road, Melody Lane, was “improper meddling by the state”. In the article cited above, a member of the tribe's Executive Council, Carlene Chamberlain, stated “The Minnesota company backing the casino, Lakes Entertainment, can't get funding for design and construction until it's clear that gamblers will be able to get to the slot machines.”. As the tribe appears unable or unwilling to meet CalTrans’ requirements, this lawsuit must be won by the tribe before the casino can be built.

During Lakes Entertainment's review of their 2008 results on March 12, 2009, they indicated that the Jamul Indian Tribe and CalTrans' had reached an understanding and that the Jamul Indian Tribe had agreed to create an EIR for the revised project. Lakes indicated also that the project would be re-evaluated in light of the financial environment and would be monitored closely. Although Lakes did say they wouldn't abandon the project completely, they reduced the "fair market value" of the project by 80%. In addition, Lakes revised their estimate of when the project could be completed to 2014.

On March 13, 2012 Lakes Entertainment cancelled their development contract with the Jamul Indian Tribe. Immediately following that, the tribe announced plans to work with the community to design a smaller facility that addressed many of the Jamul resident's concerns. Unless a new development partner can be found, though, the vision of a casino for the tribe will never come to be. Finding a new partner for this development is made more difficult because of the $57 million the tribe owes Lakes from the previous development as well as the fact that the tribe only has authorization to run a Class II gaming facility from the government, having turned down the terms and conditions of a Class III gaming facility from the state.


  1. ^ "California Indians and Their Reservations: P. SDSU Library and Information Access: Population. (retrieved 22 May 2010)
  2. ^ a b Pritzker, 146
  3. ^ Eargle, 118
  4. ^ a b "California Indians and Their Reservations: J. SDSU Library and Information Access. (retrieved 22 May 2010)
  5. ^ Shipek, 613
  6. ^ "Tribal Governments by Tribe." National Congress of American Indians. (retrieved 22 May 2010)


  • Eargle, Jr., Dolan H. California Indian Country: The Land and the People. San Francisco: Tree Company Press, 1992. ISBN 0-937401-20-X.
  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.
  • Shipek, Florence C. "History of Southern California Mission Indians." Handbook of North American Indians. Volume ed, Heizer, Robert F. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978. 610-618. ISBN 0-87474-187-4.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°42′10″N 116°52′15″W / 32.70278°N 116.87083°W / 32.70278; -116.87083