Smith River Rancheria

Mailing Address

140 Rowdy Creek Road
Smith River, CA 95567

Contact Information

707-487-9255

Website

http://www.tolowa-nsn.gov/

Casino(s)

Cultural History

Considered as one of the most successful recognized Indian tribes, the Smith River Rancheria came from a tribe of Tolowa Indians who are settled three miles south of the Oregon-California border in the northwest California. This tribe, the Smith River, is composed of almost 1,038 members who are one in forming a general membership. The tribe is governed by its Tribal Council who are composed of seven-member tribesmen as elected by the general members. On the other hand, its direct operations are spearheaded by what is called its Tribal Administrator. The Tribal Administrator is not only in charge of the operations but the supervision of the fiscal department, the economic development schemes, the grants and contracts to be awarded to members, the enrollment services and requirements, several environmental programs, a housing program, management information systems, community and other family services, maintenance and the clerical staffers. Aside from him, the fiscal department is also administered by the Chief Financial Officer who assures that the tribe will comply to all its obligations both financially and fiscally.

The said tribe is the largest of the recognized tribes in Northern California. Out of its 1,038 members, 94 have settled near the boundaries of the Rancheria and are considered the owners of the 47% Rancheria property. Furthermore, the tribe in fact owns the rest of the 27% of the Rancheria property with which they use as business properties and other entities for the tribe. Some of the facilities installed in the tribally owned land include water treatment facilities, their offices, the Lucky 7 Casino, one fuel mart, several apartments for the elders, their cemetery called the Howonquet, a dental/medical clinic, a day care center, community center and a housing project. The rest of the 26% of the Rancheria belongs to non-Indians. The areas granted to the Indians are 6,947 square miles of land which is found in several parts of the Coos, Curry and Josephine Counties as well as the Humboldt and Del Norte Counties in California. These areas are soon to be declared reservation.

The whole of the Rancheria encompasses some portions of the Lopez Creek, the shoreline opposite the Prince Island, and the Island. Its population is mostly centered in the Crescent City, California up to Brookings in Oregon.

The Smith River Rancheria was established on the 6th of November, 1908. However, on July 28, 1960, the area was terminated as a result of the California Rancheria Act of 1958. The tribesmen fought for their right to be recognized which paid off that on July 15, 1983, they finally regained their status and on the 27th of June, 1987, the tribe in conclusion, adopted their own constitution and their own government.

Today, their tribal government is led by Kara Brundin-Miller. She is currently the Tribal Chairperson and has served the Tribal Council for the last five years. The Tribal Council Vice Chairman at the moment is Denise Padgette, the Tribal Council Secretary is Sharyne R. Harper, Joel Bravo is the Treasurer, while Marian Lopez, Brock Richards and Joseph Giovannetti, Ph.D. are the other Tribal Council Members. 

According to the latest census data, the average income of a tribesman in the Del Norte County is $9,638. The population of these Native Americans is said to be at 1,771. 16.4% of the residents are unemployed while 34% are below the poverty line. 

Today, there are currently seven major enterprises that the Native Americans are busy for. These establishments include their own casino. The casino, named Lucky 7 is their flagship, which has 300 slot machines, blackjack tables and a bingo hall with 150 seating capacity.

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