In 1904, the seal of secrecy was removed from the Treaty of Santa Ysabel. Many decent people were unaware that Treaties had been negotiated and ashamed of the actions of the United States. An organization called the Mission Indian Federation was formed to promote the establishment of rights for Indian people in southern California.
The Federation challenged the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and pushed for full citizenship rights for Indian people. In 1927, Federation supporters clashed with Bureau police resulting in shootings and deaths on the Campo Indian Reservation.
In the 1950s the United States began a widespread program to terminate Indian tribes. Many tribes in California were legislated out of existence. The Federation rallied for one last fight and helped to defeat termination legislation targeting southern California tribes. Public Law 280 was also passed during this time, allowing California law enforcement authority on tribal lands. County agencies, linked with the school districts, sought to remove Indian children from their homes and adopt them out. Many parents had no knowledge of their legal rights and many did not even speak English. Children would go to school and never return. The County excused their actions by pointing to the poverty and substandard housing on the Reservation as justification for removing the children.
In the 1960's public assistance and food programs began to become the mainstays of tribal existence. Efforts to establish economic development were continually hampered by discriminatory taxation policies of the State of California and hostility by County residents to any tribal development.
In 1975 the Indian Self Determination Act was passed by the United States. This legislation gave more authority to the Tribes to determine their own priorities and manage their affairs. In 1978, the Campo people designated the area near the Crestwood freeway off-ramp as an area for economic development.
In the 1980's several proposals for development at the freeway site were considered and dropped either for feasibility reasons or for lack of financing. The State threats and attacks on gaming made it impossible for Campo to pursue. In the 1990's, the impasse with the State began to show signs of breaking. The Campo people decided to begin the process of developing a casino. In 1997, and environmental evaluation was started for the Crestwood area and a draft Environmental Assessment was published for public review in 1998. By 2000, financial backers were secured and the initial working agreements were approved by Campo. In 2001 the facility was constructed and opening day occurred on August 15, 2001.
by Michael Connolly Miskwish