Members booted from Rolling Hills tribe for not meeting ancestral criteria

Apr 22, 2014 8:14 PM

A major shake-up has taken place within the tribe that owns Rolling Hills Casino in Corning.

Less than two weeks ago, an annual meeting of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians was held at the casino.

The band, made up of more than 300 members, has a rich and rooted history in the area now known as Tehama County.

They were restored and revived in the early 1990s after receiving full tribal status by the U.S. government.

A little more than 100 members showed up for the meeting (April 12th), but nearly half, including one tribal leader, were asked to leave by Tribal Chair Andy Freeman.

“It bothered him and a lot of things were brought to his attention and he acted on it,” said Tribe Treasurer Ambrosia Rico.

What bothered Freeman is that there were members of the “Henthorne/Pata” family not meeting the criteria for tribal membership.

The criteria is to have direct ancestral lineage to the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.

Other current tribal members and operators of Rolling Hills tell us they do not know how this family became part of this band around the time Rolling Hills Casino was built.

Their application was denied twice by an expert in anthropologic and genealogy investigations and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

While some may not have expected the family to be booted at this particular meeting, Rico said it was a long time coming

“The family specifically has had a lot of power over the tribe and membership. And it is a relief to now finally have our tribe back.”

Rico calls the new council, and the new leadership, the next generation of the tribe.

The Paskenta Band's leadership acts democratically, so the other family has not been officially "disenrolled" yet. They have been suspended, and they'll have a chance to appeal this decision to the new council at a date to be determined.

Rolling Hills operators tell me they can't foresee anything changing as a result of this tribal transition.


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