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California Tribe Rejects Gaming Compact

2 Jul 2004

SAN MANUEL INDIAN NATION, California – (PRESS RELEASE) -- The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced today the tribe unanimously voted to reject the recent Tribal-State compact deal negotiated by attorney Howard Dickstein on behalf of five other tribes in California. During a general council meeting late Wednesday, the tribe decided to instead move forward in its negotiation efforts with the State to discuss the language of its compact independently.

"The language of the Dickstein-negotiated compact compromises our sovereignty as it gives the state of California control and autonomy over how we operate our business and work with local governments," said Chairman Deron Marquez of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. "Nothing is of greater importance to our tribal citizens than protecting our sovereign status; and nothing is more offensive than watching the State attempt to destroy it."

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians began negotiations with the Governor's office in early 2004, and since that time has proposed two separate offers, including one most recently on May 5, 2004. The last offer to the State, which was negotiated in conjunction with four other tribes, provided for an additional $1 billion up front to the State. Both offers were rejected wholesale by Schwarzenegger's administration with little discussion from negotiators.

Along with many other California tribes, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has a compact in place that was negotiated in 1999 with former Governor Gray Davis and extends until 2020. The tribe has expressed its satisfaction with this compact and stated it will continue operations under the current agreement if a deal is not reached with the Schwarzenegger administration. Any negotiations taking place between the State and tribe is solely voluntary by the tribe and performed in good faith to protect its rightful and lawful autonomy to manage its gaming operations.

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