December 23, 2016
Our demonstration on the steps of the Riverside County Courthouse on June 16, 2011, appears to have assisted in the resolution of an Indian land dispute. Lloyd Fields who owned land in Banning, CA, and spoke at the demonstration in Riverside, has been able to resolve his dispute with the Morongo Indian tribe by an act of Congress. Recently, President Obama signed legislation that included a land swap between Fields and the Morongo Indian tribe resolving the illegal blocking access of his land by the Morongo. This article from The Press Enterprise includes a photo that shows West Bank members and signs that describe difficulties with CRIT and the politicians who refuse to address the dispute and illegal activities by the Tribes.
October 5, 2016
The Obama Administration gives CRIT $45 Million for “mismanaging tribal land”. In 2006, CRIT filed another lawsuit against the United States claiming that 1) the U.S. failed to enforce permits and leases on CRIT land, 2) the U.S. failed to prevent trespassers on CRIT land, 3) the U.S. improperly managed CRIT land, 4) the U.S. failed to obtain fair rental value of CRIT’s land. According to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel “Settling these long-standing disputes reflects the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to reconciliation and empowerment for Indian Country”. West Bank President Roger French sent the Joint Stipulation of Settlement with a Request for Judicial Notice to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to provide further proof of the U.S. motives for filing Amicus briefs against him and west bank residents in the current case, French, v. Starr.
September 20, 2016
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has now “sat” on the appeal in French v. Starr for over a year. According to the Court’s website, decisions are rendered between 4 and 12 months. Since the Court has obviously not acted in accordance with statements on its website, it would appear that the Court has a problem in considering the case. Although we have no real “news” on the decision of CRIT jurisdiction in the disputed area, we thought it helpful to post briefs filed in opposition to the Dept of Justice’s amicus briefs against Plaintiff French and the West Bank residents. This includes both French’s brief, and the amicus filed by the State of California. These briefs provide a very detailed history of the dispute and the improper actions by the federal government against the residents.
October 29, 2015
The State of California Tells the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the 1969 Secretarial Order did not resolve the CRIT reservation boundary dispute. Consistent with her brief filed in the U.S. District Court, California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed yet another brief supporting appellant Roger French and his challenge to CRIT’s efforts to establish jurisdiction in the disputed area. California also reminded the Court that any determination of the reservation boundary requires California’s interests be considered.
April 15, 2015
Sheriff claims that the Federal Court’s ruling does not change Riverside County’s policy in the disputed area. West Bank responds with another letter to Governor Brown protesting the unlawful harassment of West Bank residents.
February 13, 2015
Federal District Court declares: “The Location of the Reservation Boundary Remains Unresolved.” Federal Judge John J. Tuchi rules that the CRIT western boundary is still in dispute and therefore the Secretarial Order did not establish the disputed area within the reservation. However, the judge denied the California Attorney General’s Amicus Brief in support of French and other west bank residents.
January 16, 2015
Fight over CRIT Boundary Continues: Reprinting Zachary Matson’s article originally printed in the Havasu News, the Palo Verde Times included a photo of Roger French in the charred remains of his home that burned down while awaiting a decision by the federal courts. After attempting to intimidate residents by leaving the debris as a warning sign, the Tribes started cleaning up the wreckage the day after this article was published. Apparently, this “warning sign” became a political liability for CRIT. Especially despicable considering CRIT refused to allow an arson investigation back in August, 2014.
January 15, 2015
This Los Angeles Times front page article attempts to characterize the situation on the west bank as a dispute between CRIT and the residents, rather than the reality of the dispute between the Department of the Interior and the State of California with the residents caught in the middle. Unfortunately, the LA Times has turned the issues of denial of constitutional/ property rights, tribal sovereign immunity, tribal jurisdiction, imposition of tribal law on non-Indians, and subjugation of residents to a hostile foreign sovereign into CRIT’s sound bite phrase “refusal to pay rent”. However, to be fair to writer Louis Sahagun, even though the characterization of the story heavily favors the Tribes (references to Reservation land rather than disputed area), most facts presented in the article are fairly correct, and the story is very interesting for a general readership.
January 9, 2015
California, feds, disagree on CRIT western boundary. This story written by Zachary Matson of the TODAY’S NEWS-HERALD Havasu News is the most accurate representation of the disputed area in the media to date. Finally an article that explains the situation in a balanced fashion, rather that the “poor mistreated Indians” again having land stripped from them by greedy non-Indians who are nothing more than “deadbeat squatters” or “illegal aliens”.
January 6, 2015
CRIT Tribal Members press Tribal Council to implement forced evictions of all non-Indians in the disputed area, block all roads into Highway 95, and shutdown the River to all but Indians.
November 12, 2014
The State of California tells the Federal Court “The Disputed Area is not part of the Reservation”. In an unprecedented action, Governor Brown has directed an Amicus Brief filed by the State’s Attorney General in French v. Starr responding to a West Bank HoA request for assistance.
December 3, 2013
The Bureau of Indian Affairs confirms NO trust status for CRIT in the Disputed Area. Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by Roger French, West Bank HoA president, the BIA confirms no records of trust status or deeds supporting CRIT’s statements that the land is held in trust for the reservation. This confirms that all claims by CRIT of trust status for the Disputed Area are indeed false as we have explained, and that the Riverside County Sheriff has been both sanctioning and encouraging illegal activity in the Disputed Area by ignoring Public Law 280 as further described in the [News] article of February 20, 2013.
August 6, 2013
CRIT intends to build an Indian Police Station at the Blythe Boat Club. Riverside County Sheriff will support CRIT police patrolling within the disputed area and will allow CRIT police to issue traffic citations on Highway 95. West Bank encourages all residents to protest the stripping of our federal and state constitutional rights.
May 16, 2013
Request to Congressman Ruiz to Mediate a meeting between West Bank HoA, Riverside County, and CRIT to restore the rule of law in the disputed area, and to stop the illegal “self-help” evictions by CRIT tribal police in violation of California law, CRIT law, constitutional rights to due process, and in opposition to CRIT’s assurances to the federal courts that it would not engage in such actions. West Bank officials met with newly elected Congressman Ruiz’s staff to present the proposal.
April 25, 2013
The Disputed Area is “No-Man’s Land”. Press article on Rio Loco owner Bill Tuttle who is CRIT’s next target. First time in history a published article is not replete with typical Indian bias. Very interesting story that includes our conflict with the Riverside County Sheriff.
April 13, 2013
CRIT Attorney Claims West Bank provides “misleading information”. West Bank responds to recent letter distributed to residents and challenges assertions to CRIT’s statements.
March 17, 2013
California Democrats Push for Legislation to Green Light Tribal Court Money Judgments and Kick Constitutional Rights to the Curb. Pressed by Indian tribes to bypass current law restricting recognition of tribal court judgments, the California Senate is poised to exempt Indian tribes from existing law and force California courts to honor tribal judgments and deny U.S. citizens due process of law. Stand Up for California reprints article from The Press Democrat:
March 7, 2013
February 20, 2013
Riverside County Sheriff Refuses to Uphold Federal and State Law in the Disputed Area: CRIT again confiscates property in the disputed area, this time in Lingle Akins. The Sheriff refuses to enforce California law and defers entirely to a CRIT employee.
November 14, 2012
CRIT attempts to bypass all federal, state, and tribal law to remove a west bank resident from her home. Riverside County Sheriff refuses to enforce PL280 and California Penal Code 418 to prevent CRIT’s proposed action.
August 28, 2012
CRIT v French: CRIT Tribal Appellate Court hearing on August 24, 2012. The Tribal court system proves once again that it is nothing more than a charade, unconcerned and unapologetic for its lack of impartiality, blatant disregard for the law, and open hostility to anyone who would dare challenge tribal authority.
June 18, 2012
Salazar v. Patchak: At Long Last – WE WIN ONE! On June 18, 2012, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak (consolidated with Salazar v. Patchak). This case considered whether an individual may file suit to challenge the federal government’s placement of land into trust for use by Indian tribes.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, the Court held by a vote of 8-1 that the United States had indeed waived sovereign immunity and that the plaintiff did have the right to challenge the government taking land into trust for use by Indian tribes. The Chief Justice and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Alito joined Justice Kagan’s opinion. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion.
This blow to Indian Country will be felt far and wide. To CRIT, it means that they will have to step up their efforts to get all west bank residents to sign on to tribal jurisdiction or increase efforts to force residents to leave their properties. If CRIT is unsuccessful in intimidating residents to sign or leave, they will find themselves in a very risky position with any financial forays into a new casino on the west bank.
The good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court is showing signs that it will not tolerate the Secretary of Interior taking land into trust for Indians to build casinos against the will of the neighboring communities
March 27, 2012
Salazar v. Patchak: West Bank joins 27 other California organizations in filing an Amici Curiae with the U.S. Supreme Court in Salazar v Patchak, a case seeking to reverse land taken into trust for an Indian tribe by the Secretary of the Interior. The Tribe wants to build a casino on the newly acquired land. Patchak seeks to oppose construction of the casino due to degradation of his quality of life. Our brief seeks to stop the fee to trust process without consideration of the effects to neighboring communities.
December 29, 2011
West Bank responds to Congresswoman Bono Mack seeking clarification that she really intends to refuse to answer the boundary question and reminds her that her inaction will
a) Force her constituents to surrender their homes
b) Force her constituents to yield their constitutional rights
c) Force her constituents to yield to a prejudicial tribal court system
d) Force her constituents to continue to be burdened with legal expenses
December 17, 2011
Iowa Judge rules against Tribes and tribal sovereignty: “To require a litigant to pursue this claim in a forum operated and funded by the adverse party, with all decision makers employed by the Defendant, is ludicrous and would give the Plaintiff no reasonable basis for concluding that his claim received a fair hearing.” It is encouraging that at least in some small corner of this country, a judge is willing to challenge political correctness and rule with simple logic to provide real justice. The judge also provides a scathing rebuttal to the tribes claim of sovereignty.
November 17, 2011
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack sidesteps the Aranson Hypocrisy, the Boundary Question, and attempts to evade her responsibilities by claiming that her constituents must refer to the Dept of Justice to interpret Congressional intent.
November 2, 2011
CRIT Denial of Constitutional Rights: CRIT claims in the press and to our elected officials that it provides constitutional rights within their tribal court system. However excepts from the current eviction case shows otherwise.
November 1, 2011
West Bank follows up with Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack requesting her answer to the question of the Aranson hypocrisy.
September 21, 2011
West Bank responds to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s suggestion that the boundary dispute is “best left to the courts” (see correspondence below dated July 13)
August 19, 2011
Press Release: You Tube video on the Indian Land Grabs in California with excepts from the demonstration at the Riverside County Courthouse on June 16, 2011.
August 10, 2011
From Capitol Weekly: California’s West Bank: Tribes vs. residents on the Colorado River
July 13, 2011
Senator Dianne Feinstein responds to West Bank request for assistance.
June 16, 2011
Below is a link to the article published in the Riverside Press Enterprise.
The statements attributed to Roger French were actually made by a speaker from another participating group with similar circumstances. Therefore, some corrections are in order.
Our members understand that it is only the 17 mile strip of land that is disputed by California, not the entire California portion of the reservation. Also, unlike other groups, CRIT is unwilling to negotiate terms with West Bank permittees. Lastly, we have not argued “grossly increased prices” of the proposed lease, because the value of any CRIT lease is entirely based upon term and conditions of the lease.
Fortunately, the signs tell the story better than the reporter.
June 16, 2011
PRESS RELEASE – Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) taking land away from non-Indian residents in order to expand their casino operations
June 13, 2011
Modern Day Western Land Grab – Indian Tribes Blockading Private Property. Press Conference June 16, 2011 at Riverside County Courthouse
June 10, 2011
PRESS RELEASE – Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issues ruling in Water Wheel case
May 25, 2011
The Bureau of Reclamation confirms that the Disputed Area is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation and not CRIT. See [Interior]
May 19, 2011
West Bank appeals to United States Senator Dianne Feinstein to assist with a legislative solution to the CRIT reservation western boundary dispute.
May 12, 2011
West Bank responds to the Department of the Interior’s answer to the CRIT Western Boundary legal determination requested by Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack
April 14, 2011
West Bank HoA supports Senator Dianne Feinstein in her efforts to curb “reservation shopping” and the proliferation of Indian casinos in urban areas outside of established reservations.
March 26, 2011
CRIT posts their response to the Governor’s letter, attempting to argue that only the land south of Riverside Mountain is disputed.
March 21, 2011
West Bank receives a 2008 letter from the California Governor’s office to CRIT Attorney Eric Shepard regarding CRIT’s attempts to secure approval for a casino in California.
March 15, 2011
West Bank Homeowners Association presses Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack to initiate legislation to provide clarification to the Colorado River Indian Reservation western boundary.
November 5, 2010
CRIT rejects our proposed legislative solution sent to Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. West Bank requests the BIA to determine the reason.
October 28, 2010
West Bank Homeowners Association offers a counterproposal to the CRIT lease. The revised lease removes the waivers of constitutional rights in a format similar to lease documents used by other Indian tribes. The counterproposal is made available to all residents in the disputed area.
October 25, 2010
CRIT ignores the request for reconsideration and files a lawsuit in tribal court against WBHA President Roger French. CRIT engages their San Francisco team of lawyers to again defend their boundary claims. Meanwhile, West Bank gears up for a protracted legal battle.
October 12, 2010
CRIT initiates full scale legal action against the West Bank Homeowners Association by serving a Notice to Quit Possession to WBHA President Roger French. Response calls for the tribal council chairman to reconsider action in light of the proposed Congressional legislation offered to the Tribes, a request for civility, a recognition of the longevity of resident’s occupancy, and consideration of humanitarian conditions.
October 8, 2010
West Bank HOA lawsuit against Riverside County hearing has been postponed and relocated to federal court
September 15, 2010
West Bank Homeowners Association presents a formal solution to the boundary dispute to be incorporated into proposed legislation, and requests a meeting with Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack.
September 13, 2010
CRIT Evicts Water Wheel Owner: West Bank Files Lawsuit As expected, CRIT successfully evicted Water Wheel owner Bob Johnson. Bob removed all of his property on September 13, 2010, shortly after a large convoy of CRIT vehicles and personnel arrived at the resort with a Writ of Execution. The Riverside County Sheriff was at the scene, but stayed about 40 yards away from CRIT personnel involved in the removal action. The eviction followed 3 years of legal proceedings through tribal court and federal courts. The Water Wheel case is still on appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
August 31, 2010
West Bank Homeowners Association endorses Blythe Boat Club’s letter to CRIT
August 10, 2010
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack again goes to bat for West Bank residents with letters to both the Dept of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Included with these letters is the August 1, 2010 letter from West Bank refuting claims made by the DoJ in a prior letter dated 2008 regarding the CRIT reservation western boundary.
August 1, 2010
West Bank sends a rebuttal to the Dept of Justice’s response to Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack regarding the legality of the ’69 Secretarial Order.
July 28, 2010
West Bank Homeowners president Roger French posts comments on the Press Enterprise website.
July 27, 2010
Colorado River residents implore the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to request that the Sheriff protect private property. The Supervisors rebuke the residents claiming that they have no jurisdiction and fear a lawsuit if they take action.
July 20, 2010
Correspondence from Ron Jones’ attorney to the sheriff. As CRIT refuses to respond to Ron Jones’ attorney, the sheriff is put on notice that their refusal to prevent confiscation of personal property by the tribes is effectively “assisting in CRIT’s unauthorized actions which are contrary to California criminal law”.
July 14, 2010
CRIT proposes to use a tribal ordinance to confiscate mobile home. A mobile home owned by Ron Jones, is being claimed abandoned by CRIT 3 days after meeting with Mr. Jones, who informed them that the mobile home was not abandoned. This action clearly demonstrates CRIT’s continued extortion attempts on Mr. Jones. See response by attorney Tom Slovak
July 13, 2010
West Bank requests assistance from Riverside County Supervisor to pressure the Sheriff to protect residents in the disputed area.
June 30, 2010
CRIT offers new lease agreements for permittees. Paragraph 25 includes consent to tribal jurisdiction, tribal court, and compliance with all tribal ordinances existing and in the future. This is the same language the tribes used to trick the residents at Paradise Point in 2001 to prevent legal actions against their evictions notices issued 30 days after residents signed the new agreements.
June 18, 2010
West Bank attempts to “bridge the wide divide” with CRIT. This letter explains West Bank participation in AZ v. CA, clarification of our stated purpose, and mindset of members
CRIT’s Attorney General’s response to correspondence sent on June 13, 2010. This letter reiterates the tribes refusal to meet with West Bank.
June 13, 2010
West Bank responds to the Notice of Trespass posted below.
June 10, 2010
Several West Bank members received posted notices on their homes May 27, 2010. This may be CRIT’s first eviction attempts of permittees using their tribal court system in lieu of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. CRIT previously used their tribal court system with the Water Wheel commercial lease expiration.
June 2, 2010
CRIT responds to West Bank requests to BIA for start of discussions. West Bank started a series of discussions with the Dept of Justice and the BIA requesting their assistance with CRIT months before trespass notices were posted.
October 15, 2009
Important information regarding the Water Wheel Ruling which was sent in a newsletter to the General Membership.