Published on September 19, 2013 by Amy
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The Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians is a federally recognized tribe of Pomo people, an indigenous people of California.
The Pomo people are indigenous to northern California and formed about 21 autonomous communities, speaking seven Pomoan languages. The Dry Creek Band are Southern Pomo, descended from the Mihilakawna and Makahmo bands. Sustained European contact began with the Russian fur trappers in the 18th century. They were followed in the 19th century by American gold prospectors and settlers, who quickly outnumbered the native populations.
The United States rancheria program began in 1893 and ran up until roughly 1922, when 58 tracts of land were purchased in California on which “homeless” Indians could live rent- and tax-free. Most of the land was selected and purchased by Special Indian Agent John Terrell, who took much care in finding good plots of land. Adults were to be given assigned plots of land, but in actuality, most Indians simply moved onto the rancherias with no assignments. No one was ever forced to live on a rancheria.
Many rancherias became home to Indians from a variety of tribal affiliations. Some rancherias had no residents for a decade or more after purchase. The Depression saw an upsurge in Native Americans wishing to move onto the rancherias, but not in great numbers.
In 1915, the federal government purchased and held in fee, land for the “Dry Creek Rancheria”, Dry Creek Valley being the name of the area, for use by both the “Dry Creek” Indians and the Geyserville Indians. The Dry Creek area in what is now the Alexander Valley was then prime agricultural land.
The tribe was reorganized via Articles of Association (need ref link) adopted on September 13, 1972. The Articles were approved by the Secretary of the Interior April 16, 1973.
The tribe’s name was officially changed from “Dry Creek Rancheria” to “Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians” (need date and ref).
In 2001 the tribe had a Coup d’état. Members of the tribe, without notice, attempted to recall and replace the government (Tribal Board of Directors). The tribe resolved the problem internally (privately). However, appeals were made to the BIA that have made the information public.
In 2002, the tribe established River Rock Casino on the reservation, near Geyserville. The casino includes the Quail Run Restaurant, the Oak Bar, and Lounge 128.
On May 22, 2010 the tribe had a Coup d’état. Two special meetings were called – one by the Chairman and one by two other Board members – to attempt recall of three Board members. No recall was successful but by a “force of numbers” the Chairman was removed, or perhaps removed himself (abdicated) to allow a “cooling off” or “de-escalation” period before “normal” operations could resume later in the summer.
In the fall of 2010 the government had re-assembled and worked to hold regular Board elections. The 2010-2012 Board is: Harvey Hopkins, Chairman (retained); Salvina Norris, Vice-Chair (replaced Gus Pina); Margie Rojes, Secretary/Treasurer (replaced Salvina Norris); Marina Nojima (retained) and Jim Silva (replaced Gabe Nevarez), Members at Large.
The tribe’s reservation is the Dry Creek Rancheria, situated near the town of Geyserville in Sonoma County, California. The reservation has an area of 75 acres (300,000 m2) – a remnant of the 86,400 acres (350 km2) the tribe once owned. Much of the original reservation lands were inundated by the waters of Lake Sonoma after the construction of the Warm Springs Dam.
The Dry Creek Pomo conduct business out of Geyserville and Healdsburg, California.
Harvey Hopkins is the elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, and has served as such since 2004. The other members of the Tribal Board of Directors are Salvina Norris (Vice-Chairman), Margie Rojes (Secretary/Treasurer), Jim Silva (Member at Large) and Marina Nojima (Member at Large).
The tribe owns and operates the River Rock Casino on the reservation, near Geyserville. The casino includes the Quail Run Restaurant, the Oak Bar, and Lounge 128.
The current population of the Dry Creek Pomo is a matter of some controversy. At the beginning of 2009, there were approximately 970 enrolled members. The tribal leadership has been trying to disenroll members (between 70-143, depending on accounts) which has resulted in protests.