We, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, have no trust land. One hundred and fifty years ago, the Tribe’s ancestors lived in harmony with other Native Americans throughout the area around the northern San Fancisco Bay.
Across what is now the United States, the descendents of Eurpoean immigrants drove Indians from their land, hunted them down, and killed them, until an uneasy peace was established under the reservation system.
Indians in Northern California fared even worse. The white settlers could not allow Northern California Indians to stand in the way of their lust for gold. Northern California Indians were enslaved, killed for bounty established by law, or driven away. Our own ancestors were driven north from their traditional habitat on the shores of San Francisco Bay.
Treaties that had been negotiated with federal officers went un-ratified because Congress could not tolerate Indians occupying land which might have gold. Indians could not be allowed to have any claim, even to their own hunting and gathering grounds.
In 1911, a group of Indians, including many who had fled north to what is now Lake County, California, were placed on a fifty-seven acre land base which they called Sugar Bowl and which became known as the Scotts Valley Rancheria. This group became the Scotts Valley Tribe. Living conditions on the Rancheria were intolerable. The federal government could not even keep its promise to provide water and sewer systems.
The meager Rancheria was illegally terminated in 1965 by the federal government. The Scotts Valley Band’s status as a recognized tribe was taken away, as well.
Within a few years, most of the residents of the former Rancheria retraced their ancestors’ steps. Much of the Tribe returned to the Bay Area, participating in BIA programs designed to help them find employment, health care, education and the other necessities for a decent life. Lacking education and training, most were not successful. In reality, the Scotts Valley people have been refugees for more than a century.,
Although tribal status was restored by a court in 1992, the Tribe remained landless. Only one-half of one acre of the old Rancheria was still held by an individual Tribal Member as an allotment.
We are now seeking a restored trust land base in the area which our ancestors and most of our current members call home. We are following all the procedures that the federal government has established. At long last, it is the policy of the United States to support Indian self-sufficiency and economic advancement. Given all that happened to us before, we deserve the benefit of that policy.
Donald Arnold, Chairman
The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians