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Businesses disrespect our people...
April 6, 2006

Recently, California State Assemblyman Bill Maze and Mayor Sam Heeringa of Parker raised questions about CRIT's status in California. However, those questions are easily addressed.

Several acts of Congress, including most recently the Colorado River Indian Reservation Boundary Correction Act passed last year, have clearly established and reaffirmed that CRIT's lands extend into California.

And there's no question that CRIT has the authority to enforce its own laws, codes and ordinances on its own lands.

That authority includes the ability to regulate business activity on tribal land through business license fees and taxation, which is what originally brought Maze's concerns to light. Similar taxes and business license fees are levied by countless Arizona and California cities and towns.

This issue is simple. The Tribes have the right, authority and obligation to regulate the activities of those who choose to enter upon and conduct business on tribal lands.

The overwhelming majority of people doing business on the Reservation are in compliance with tribal law.

In fact, we are aware of only six businesses, out of the more than five hundred doing business on the Reservation, located in Big River and the Town of Parker that are not in compliance with Tribal business codes Rather than complying, these businesses have chosen to disregard tribal law and disrespect the sovereignty and the people of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

CRIT's authority to make its own laws and enforce those laws on its lands is supported by a wide variety of federal laws and court rulings.

It is unfortunate that these individuals in the Big River development have chosen to fabricate questions about CRIT's authority rather than owning up to their responsibility to comply with tribal laws just as other Big River businesses are doing.

CRIT will continue to enforce its laws and ordinances on its lands, including those lands in California.

The businesses which chose to disregard our sovereignty and laws and disrespect our members are One Stop Hair Shop, The Dock Restaurant, Dumas Walker Bar and Grill, Domino's Pizza and Davis Building Supply. These businesses seek to deny our people the much-needed funds we use for juvenile services, education, elder services and health care.

These businesses also disrespect the more than five hundred law-abiding businesses on the Reservation lands whose business we value and appreciate.

It is the very definition of hypocrisy for those businesses located in Big River to contest our nominal business license fee of $100 per year in the name of some uncertainty about the status of our lands while at the same time paying us a yearly lease payment to locate their business on those lands.

It would be one thing if businesses in the Town of Parker limited their business activities to the fee lands within the Town, it is quite another thing when those businesses choose to bring and conduct their business activities on tribal lands. In that case, the Tribe has the clear authority, under both tribal and federal law, to regulate the business activities of those who choose to conduct business on tribal lands

In the future we hope Assemblyman Maze and Mayor Heeringa rather than representing the interests of those who would ignore tribal laws and ordinances, will instead represent the legitimate interests and concerns of all their constituents, including law-abiding Tribal members and non-Tribal members on the CRIT Reservation, including those in the Town of Parker.

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