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December 9, 2005
Return of La Paz Lands highlights a year of accomplishment for CRIT
From economic development to legal issues to the return of lands taken 90 years ago, 2005 was a year of victories for CRIT and its people. It was a year that will be remembered by many Tribal members as one where new opportunities surfaced for the Tribes, and a year when many long-time battles were resolved in CRIT's favor. And it should serve as a launching point toward continued growth and quality-of-life improvements for Tribal members.
Some of the highlights included:
- The return of the La Paz Lands
Without question, the biggest highlight for CRIT during 2005 was the return of the La Paz Lands by the federal government. The Lands, a 16,000-acre parcel that now once again make up the CRIT reservation's southern boundary, were taken by the Federal Government in the early 20th century. Over the years, CRIT has made a number of efforts to get the lands back, but it wasn't until this past summer that the fruits of this labor paid off. CRIT celebrated the return of the lands with a ceremony in late August attended by hundreds of Tribal members.. “This effort has been ongoing since 1915,” said Tribal Chairman Daniel Eddy, Jr. “All the Tribal Councils since then have worked on this and asked for our land back. Time after time, we have been denied. “But today, I'm happy to gather here with you on our land.”
- New Wal-Mart center announced
In January, CRIT announced plans for a new Wal-Mart shopping center to be located across from the Safeway Plaza in Parker. The shopping center is expected to provide a significant revenue source for Tribal programs, and will help with such goals as health care, elder services, education and law enforcement. It will also provide hundreds of jobs for Tribal members and area residents, while increasing the shopping choices in the community. Plans for the center have progressed throughout the year. For more information on the latest status of the center, see the article on Page 1 of this issue.
- CRIT, Blythe continue discussions on new casino
CRIT also continued to work with the City of Blythe and the State of California on the possible construction of a new casino in the California community. CRIT and Blythe reached agreement on a number of measures to move the project forward. CRIT officials and Blythe officials are now working with the State of California on terms of a gaming compact.
- CRIT launches comprehensive tribal web site
Early in 2005, CRIT launched a comprehensive web site to provide information to Tribal members, tourists and those interested in doing business with the Tribes. It was another in a string of tribal initiatives to improve communications as well as the life of members. The web site is located at www.critonline.com. The site provides a comprehensive overview of Tribal government, departments, services, businesses and tourist attractions. It also contains news and information, including back issues of the CRIT Tribal newspaper, the Manataba Messenger. The site is primarily complete, but additional features and improvements will continue to be added over time.
- Tribal member drafted in first round
CRIT member Jacoby Ellsbury earned First-Team All-American honors this year for the baseball team at Oregon State University, batting over .400 for the season and helping his team reach the College World Series. And, Ellsbury became a first-round draft pick of the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, where he will play outfield in the same organization as All-Stars Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. Ellsbury signed a contract with the Red Sox in early July, and started playing in the organization immediately. “Being drafted by the defending World Champions and going to the College World Series are both dreams come true, and they happened within a week,” he said.
- CRIT wins significant court case
A federal judge sided with CRIT in an August ruling that the federal National Indian Gaming Commission overstepped its statutory authority in imposing standards on Class III gaming activities conducted by tribes. The decision in the case, Colorado River Indian Tribes v. National Indian Gaming Commission, reinforces the distinct regulatory roles given to tribal, state and federal regulators, and prevents the federal agency from exercising authority that Congress gave to the tribes and states. “This is an important decision because it stops a federal agency from overstepping its bounds and improperly imposing regulatory requirements in a way that's contradictory to federal law,” said CRIT Tribal Chairman Daniel Eddy, Jr. “Our sovereignty has been respected and this is good news for our people and all tribes.”