ALPINE, Calif. — By all accounts, gaming is amenable for bringing the Viejas Association of Kumeyaay Indians from the base of abjection to a accepted of adequate living. But connected gaming on Indian anxiety is far from a abiding affair in California.
There is a new governor in place, and it is yet cryptic how this will affect gaming Indians. Viejas, acquainted of this accompaniment of affairs, has acted to alter its business interests. Carmen “Daisy” Welch, a above administrator of Viejas who currently serves as one of the tribe’s lobbyists, said about-face is actual important to the tribe.
“Gaming is not activity to be about forever, I don’t think. I apperceive bodies like to gamble, but my gosh, let’s attending at the account here. We’ve got 50 gaming tribes. We’ve got to be absolute in our thinking,” said Welch.
In the backward 1990s, Viejas confused to alter by purchasing banal in a baby bank, Borrego Springs Bank, creating the aboriginal American Indian-owned coffer in California. The coffer specializes in casework like baby business lending, acceptable one of the 50 better Baby Business Administration lenders for three years. Welch additionally serves as carnality armchair of the bank’s lath of directors.
About that aforementioned time, Viejas congenital a $30 actor retail aperture beyond the artery from its casino. Incorporating an Indian-village affair in the design, the association gave abundant absorption to architecture capacity like announcement brownish beastly sculptures and waterfalls and streams throughout. The centermost houses 57 aliment and has admiring big-name retailers including Nike and Jones of New York.
In 2000, the association ventured into the concert business, starting the Viejas Concerts In The Esplanade series. Usually captivated in backward summer, the concert draws celebrity entertainers and is captivated in an amphitheatre esplanade with basement for 1,500.
And about two years ago, Viejas partnered with three added tribes to anatomy Four Fires, LLC. The corporation’s aboriginal collective venture, a $43 actor dollar auberge a the armpit of a new borough Indian building in Washington, D.C., slated to accessible this fall.
In accession to its added businesses, Viejas operates two RV parks. The Alpine Springs RV Esplanade was purchased in 1996 and appearance a clubhouse, pond basin and laundry. The Ma-Tar-Awa RV Park, Viejas’ aboriginal business enterprise, opened in 1976, is still actual accepted with campers.
Besides diversifying its business interests, Viejas knows its approaching depends on admonishment the accessible bearing to booty over the business reins. They realize, then, that education, whether academic or practical, is the agent to accomplishing that.
All affiliated associates are acceptable to participate in the two-year Viejas Administration Internship Affairs (VMIP). Interns apprentice how Viejas businesses accomplish by alive two to 24 weeks in every department, from restaurant and legal, to aliment and beverage. At the end of the program, interns are usually placed in a administration position in the administration of their choosing. Three affiliated associates are currently in the program, including Gina TeSam-Reading, who is additionally a affiliate of the Viejas Finance Committee.
TeSam-Reading explained the program’s benefits, “It will absolutely advice me because aback IT [Information Technology department] asks for $300,000 for a computer program, I’ll accept why. I’ll accept because I’ll accept already been in that department, so I accept what they do. And again aback I sit on this board … I can say, ‘I apperceive why they charge that …’”
Nikki Symington, Viejas accessible relations coordinator, said, “The point of the internship affairs is one: that every affiliated affiliate can apperceive all aspects of their business; two: it gives them an befalling to aces and accept careers in areas that absorption them; and three: which is appropriately important, move up into the administration of their business.”
Educational and cultural programs are accessible for all Viejas accouchement and adults at the reservation’s apprenticeship center. Some of the programs offered are:
* A two anniversary summer affairs on Kumeyaay culture, including games, crafts and language. Additionally cultural canning classes advise Kumeyaay basket-making and beadwork.
* An absolute abstraction affairs as an another to the approved aerial academy curriculum. A aggregation absolute the ancestor or guardian, a affairs coordinator and abecedary adviser and appraise the student’s progress.
* A academy and career centermost with advice on career options, university amount programs and vocational/technical academy training.
* Classes in ancestors development, basal computing, and sewing, as able-bodied as banking planning, decidedly for affiliated associates axis 18.
* Biweekly articulacy workshops for accouchement in grades K – 8 and their families.
* A scholarship affairs that pays all apprenticeship costs for every adolescent and developed affiliate to the column doctorate level.
Social and borough services
The Viejas Catch has a fully-equipped blaze base with a able fire-fighting aggregation of 15, including paramedics. Five blaze fighters, who additionally assure the surrounding non-reservation rural breadth at no added amount to taxpayers, are on assignment at all times.
Senior or ancient Viejas members, those 60-years old or older, are an basic allotment of the reservation. Mabel Velasquez, coordinator of the reservation’s Senior Center, said the association treasures their 13 elders. No one goes athirst or languishes in solitude. The centermost keeps the accumulation alive by alignment account outings, and ensures the elders accumulate able-bodied fed by carrying circadian meals.
Viejas additionally trains associates to antechamber for its interests at both the accompaniment and federal level.
Welch said her job is to brainwash legislators about Viejas. “We go in and acquaint them who we are … what we do, how abundant we accord to the association and how abundant we accord in our taxes … We apply a assertive cardinal of bodies – they pay their taxes. Our accomplishment are millions and millions of dollars …”
Viejas Chairman Anthony Pico and Symington after apprentice from the lobbyists which legislators were announced to and if they were a anemic or able adherent of the affair beneath discussion.
“We accept non-tribal lobbyists; we accept paid lobbyists,” Symington said. “But aloof as Viejas oversees their businesses … they accept the legislators are added absorbed in audition from the affiliated bodies – they are our lobbyists. Cardinal one: they accept added impact. And cardinal two: it’s their business to apperceive [the legislator]. If you aloof leave it to a lobbyist, you never apperceive what’s activity on. And … the alone being that has that accord [with the legislator] is the lobbyist, as against to the tribe.”
Viejas continues to body for a future. Welch said the association eventually would like to authorize a busline arrangement that would run amid the catch and the burghal of San Diego and body a auberge and assemblage centermost circuitous in Viejas Valley, area best of the affiliated members’ houses now sit. Essentially, this activity would army Viejas off the 1,600-acre reservation.
In such a case, the association would move arctic – aback to Capitan Grande Reservation, Welch said.
Viejas – the Kumeyaay – will accept again appear full-circle, aback to their affiliated homeland.
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