Lytton Band of Pomo Indians

Mailing Address

California

Casino(s)

Cultural History

Founded in the year 1937 by Bert Steele, who has both Achomawi and Nomlaki blood and whose wife is a Pomo from the Bodega Bay, the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians is a federally recognized tribe which is from the Pomo Native Americans. Their tribe was created in the late 1980’s. They are formed by the descendants of the two families who used to live in the Lytton Rancheria located in Healdsburg, California. They lived in the areas from 1937 up to 1960. The current data states that the tribe has around 200 to 300 members as of date.

Their tribe is the success of the petition of Bert Steele and his wife to the United States Office of the Indian Affairs. The petition had provisions for the establishment of a 50-acre plot in the northern portion of the Healdsburg in the north of Lytton Station Road. The petition was the result of the destruction of Steele’s home. The land has now been labeled as the Lytton Rancheria. 

The assimilating policy of the United States government which aimed to make the Indians citizens of the United States was the reason for the termination of the federal trust in the reservation areas that were formerly granted to the Indians. The reservation areas ceded included the lands of more than forty California Bands including that of the Lytton Rancheria. Since then, the tribe was dissolved and their territories were divided among its members. Part of the negotiation was that the tribe was going to be given improvements on their land, such as roads and sewage systems. However, the government did not meet these promises. In a period of one year, the lands of the Lyttons were all sold out, leaving its members with nothing. One of the reasons in which the selling was blamed for was the lack of understanding of the property taxes.

The Lyttons finally tasted victory in regaining their tribal status in the year 1991. Most of the written records revealed that there are about 200 members of the tribe. Their tribal leadership nevertheless failed to make the lives of the tribesmen better as the leadership was plagues with issues such as the high unemployment rate, crime, alcoholism, poverty and lack of housing units.

The tribe’s casino was supposed to be expanded. However, the expansion met several issues and was held in the court for proceedings. Their plans for the operation of the Class III games such as the slot machines should first pass the negotiations with the state policies. Due to fear of oppression, their original plans were revised in the fervent hopes of gaining a contract. The Lyttons also pleaded for grants which they can use on gaming within a 35 mile radius. The tribal issues became stronger when two other tribes oppressed the establishment of casinos within the reservation areas. The Lyttons won over the argument, and today they are the in the midst of the planning stages for their casino.

Featured Tribal News

April 5, 2005

Indian gambling debate comes to Capitol Hill