Tribe Thanks Secretary Salazar

The Kawaiisu Tribe of Tejon thanks Secretary Ken Salazar for “Reaffirming” the Tribe to the list of Federally Recognized Tribes in the United States according to a news release on January 3, 2012 by Indianz.com, who were the first to break the good news, and it quickly spread through Indian Country.

Tribal Chair David Laughing Horse Robinson is thankful the Tribe will see a new future in 2012.They have been fighting a legal case for two years in California Federal Court, docket number 1:09-cv-01977, to stop development on their Indian Reservation at the Tejon Ranch near Los Angeles, that gives the corporation permission to unearth the burial remains and spiritual burial objects of thousands of their ancestors that died on the reservation. The timing of regaining recognition, while awaiting a ruling on the Federal Case is an unexpected gift that the Tribe embraces with gratitude.

Laughing Horse said, “Well, on the one side I wish this had happened two years ago so we did not have to go to court, but today, we are overwhelmed with joy and happiness. This has been a hard road for over 160 years and this will help in resolving the case before the court today. At issue before the court now is getting our land back which was assigned under Treaty. We actually signed two Treaties, first on December 30, 1849 and again for Tejon Reservation in June of 1851. We also have over 100 allotments because of these Treaties. “Reaffirming of Recognition,” means that Congress and the President of the United States recognize the Tribe through the Treaty, because the Treaty represents prior Federal Recognition. The United States now is back in compliance with the Treaty, except for the Tejon Reservation and Graves issues. Though the wait has been long and painful, we are pleased that our tribal families can step out of the 18th century and experience the 20th century as other US citizens do: electricity and water in their homes, elders with medical care, children who can look forward to a college education and day care so parents can work while their children are safe. As each of us Elders have watched our grandchildren born we were worried that this day might never come and we are thankful to the kind guidance of our Ancestors in this struggle.”

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