Big Sandy Rancheria of Mono Indians

Mailing Address

37387 Auberry Mission Road
Auberry, CA 93602

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Big Sandy Rancheria of Mono Indians’ history is filled both with victories and defeats. In 1909, the Bureau of Indian Affairs bought 280 acres of land. The land that was bought will be held in trust. It was dedicated to the San Joaquin also known as the Big Sandy Band of the Western Mono Indians. Several years after, the land became more popularly known as the Big Sandy Rancheria. It was purchased so that the tribe would have their own secured land. In their own land, they could grow several root crops and even raise farm animals. With their land, they could grow vegetables, cut trees for lumber or fuel and they would gain liberty from the invasions or meddling of the non-Indians and the White settlers who could possibly have interest in the property.

They almost lost their land in 1938 when the U.S congress approved the Californian act that is aiming to terminate the trust status of the lands as well as that of the Indian status of the people. Forty-one Rancherias were affected by this law, including the Big Sandy Rancheria. The Big Sandy Rancheria was urged to organize their own BSR Accociation. The aim of the association was to make sure that the tribe will be receiving their ample property as well as the approval of the distribution plan which was prepared by the Bureau f Indian Affairs.

The distribution plan of the Bureau of Indian Affairs stated that a part of the Rancheria will be dedicated to the Baptist Home Missionary Society. This is in settlement of the land exchange agreements between the Baptist Missionaries and the Big Sandy People as negotiated by the BIA. The only problem in the distribution plan was that it did not make any provisions for the enhancement of the Rancheria housing units, its sanitation, or even the irrigation despite the reality that these are the major needs of the Rancheria.

Despite its lack of provisions for the advantage of the tribe, they still approved it. Notwithstanding their rights and obligations, the tribe engaged into the agreement lacking the information they should have been informed of. Thus, they did not fully understand advantages and disadvantages of the termination or have not even searched for other available options. The Bureau of Indian Affairs never complied with the agreements in the plan. Instead, they were more focused on terminating the Rancheria. Because of this, the termination almost shocked the tribe and took most of what they had. It wa then considered as the most damaging factor that restricted what could have been a social and economic growth for the tribe. It was during this time that the tribe experienced major devastation leading to high unemployment rate, rise of the percentage of people below the poverty level and the massive use of drugs. 

In response, the United States District Court Action, along with the BSR, restored the original habitat of the tribe and re-recognized them once again as one of the federally acknowledged tribes. The tribe was allowed to return to their homeland and they were given assistance for the improvement of their community.

Today, the tribe is on its way to rebirth. They are currently busy with several projects that could aide them in their progress. The Big Sandy Rancheria Resort, Casino and Spa were one of their first few steps towards economic growth.