The biggest thing standing between the small Wappo tribe of North Bay Indians and their goal of regaining official recognition from the federal government could be a potential casino they’re not sure they would ever build.
In several significant ways, the Wappo’s current efforts are parallel to the path followed by the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria, whose chairman, Greg Sarris, at one time downplayed their interest in building a casino, but later elected to do just that. It was a controversial decision, one that is still being bitterly challenged, even as construction of the new gaming facility is underway. That choice has also made matters more difficult for the Wappos, Gabaldon acknowledges, but he doesn’t fault the neighboring tribe for their actions.
Wappo tribal chairman Scott Gabaldon will offer a more extensive account of his tribe’s history and current legal struggles at Santa Rosa Junior College on Friday evening, April 5, 2013, at 7 pm.