Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California

The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California is a federally recognized tribe of Miwok in Amador County, California.[1][2] The Buena Vista Miwok are Sierra Miwok, an indigenous people of California.[3]

Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( California)
English, historically Northern Sierra Miwok language, Central Sierra Miwok language, and Southern Sierra Miwok language
Related ethnic groups
other Miwok tribes


The tribe conducts business from Sacramento, California.[3] The tribe is led by an elected council. The current tribal chairperson is Rhonda Morningstar Pope.[4]

Tribal staff includes Dr. Roselynn Lwenya, the environmental resources director, and Arnold Samuel, the General Counsel. Tribal enrollment is based in lineal descent from original tribal members;[4] that is, the tribe has no minimum blood quantum requirements.

The federal acknowledgement of "Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians," is being challenged by a lawsuit that is currently awaiting scheduling in the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals in San Francisco in "Friends of Amador County, et al. versus Ken Salazar, et al." [5]


The Buena Vista Rancheria is 67 acres (0.27 km2) parcel of land, located just outside the census-designated place of Buena Vista. The land once belonged to the Oliver family and was purchased by the federal government to establish an Indian rancheria in 1927.[6]


Harrah's Northern California is a tribal casino owned by the tribe and located on its reservation. Caesars Entertainment manages the casino and licenses the Harrah's name to the tribe. The casino has 71,000 square feet (6,600 m2) of gaming space with 20 table games and about 1,000 slot machines.[7]

The tribe won its legal fight against Amador County to allow the development of the casino in 2016.[8] In 2018, the tribe sold $205 million of high-interest junk bonds to finance the project, and struck its development agreement with Caesars.[9][10] The casino opened on April 29, 2019.[11]


The rancheria was unilaterally terminated by Congress, along with 42 other rancherias, under the California Rancheria Act of 1958. The tribe has been federally recognized since 1985. In 1970, President Richard Nixon declared the Rancheria Act a failure. The Buena Vista Rancheria tribe joined 16 other native California tribes in a class action lawsuit, Hardwick v. United States to restore their sovereignty, and in 1987, the tribes won their lawsuit. On 22 December 1983 the Buena Vista Rancheria tribe ratified its constitution.[6]

See also


  1. Pritzker 135–6
  2. "Tribal Office Locations." California Department of Transportation: District 10. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  3. "California Indians and Their Reservations: Miwok." San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2011 . Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  4. "Tribal Government." Archived 27 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  5. Sacramentopress.com: "Protest_of_Casino_Development_at_Buena_Vista_Rancheria" Archived 22 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "History." Archived 14 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  7. Vicki Gonzalez (16 April 2019). "New Amador County casino plans for grand opening". KCRA-TV. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  8. Peter Hecht (29 June 2016). "Brown signs gambling agreement for Amador tribe". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  9. Davide Scigliuzzo (7 March 2018). "California tribe pays sky-high yield on casino bond". International Financing Review. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  10. Wade Tyler Millward (13 April 2018). "Tribe, Caesars to bring Harrah's casino to Northern California". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  11. Doug Johnson (29 April 2019). "Thousands rush to Harrah's Northern California casino for soft opening". KTXL-TV. Retrieved 30 April 2019.


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1

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