Archive » November 9, 2007
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
By Steve Pappas, Journal Contributor
This week, an article authored by Vince Armenta, chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians, appeared in Capitol Weekly, a Sacramento-based publication. The article focused on Nancy Crawford-Hall, The Valley Journal, and the members of the No More Slots organization.
In the article, Armenta degrades the members of No More Slots, stating:
“The tribal opponents established a web site, collected signatures, had a town meeting, donned T-shirts with ‘No More Slots’ slogans and marched around Sacramento carrying a Tupperware container filled with scraps of paper. Their campaign fizzled after much fanfare and, as we said all along, we didn’t bring 5,000 more slots to the Valley.”
The members of No More Slots are good community people who want to protect their families and friends from the undisputed harms of potential expanded gambling in the Santa Ynez Valley.
They are smart, articulate and caring citizens who traveled to Sacramento on their own time to present what Armenta labels “a Tupperware container filled with scraps of paper,” which were actually signed petitions from thousands of Santa Barbara County residents who also oppose the expansion of gambling — which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with disrespecting Native Americans or the Chumash people. The No More Slots group participated in the public comments to the senate government organization committee during the hearings about ratification of gaming compacts of six of Southern California’s mightiest Indian gaming tribes seeking to dramatically expand their gambling operations.
Also in the Capitol Weekly article, Armenta attacks the character of Nancy Crawford-Hall and the content of the Valley Journal.
“It’s no secret that Nancy Crawford-Hall, the new owner of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal, is a longtime foe of our tribe, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. She has attended Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meetings to speak out against our tribe, participated with anti-Chumash hate groups in the community and has written many angry columns in her publication accusing the tribe of everything from paying off politicians to being parasites.”
Crawford- Hall is past president of the Cattleman’s Association and recipient of both the Livestock Producer of the Year award and the Santa Barbara County Women of the Year award — just to name a few of her honors. She is also responsible for the 10,000 acres of pristine cattle ranch that everyone enjoys as they enter and exit the Santa Ynez Valley on Hwy. 154. She is a real steward of the land and one of the most highly respected members of this community.
Disagreeing with and challenging the content of the Valley Journal is one thing; unprovoked personal attacks on Crawford-Hall are something else altogether, and I would like Armenta to share with all of us which issue of the Valley Journal and on what page Crawford-Hall accused the tribe of being parasites. I have never seen it.
Just to set the record straight, I am not paid by this paper or by anyone else, and I write of my own free will to share factual information with the public. One of my best friends is Native American (a mix of Chumash, Oholone and Zapotec), and his son is one of my son’s best friends. I only bring this up in case there was any notion that I may be racist or prejudiced. My remarks are directed only to Armenta and his leadership style, not the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians nor the Native American people.
I think it is time for the leadership of both the tribe and the County of Santa Barbara to stop fueling this negative and harmful propaganda in an attempt to ignite a war between the Native American and non-Native American people who live here. By not resolving real issues and real concerns in an open and transparent fashion, with, and on behalf of the very people they represent, the tribal and county leadership is going down a destructive path at the expense of all of us while satisfying only their own self-interests. If they cannot — or will not — provide open, authentic and meaningful leadership, then they should step down for the good of us all.
What do you think?
The article referred to in this column can be found in its entirety in the Capitol Weekly, published Nov. 1, 2007.