The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians occupies a 5,000-acre reservation in Valley Center, CA. Recognized in 1875 as a sovereign government by the United States of America, the Rincon Band has powers equal to a city, county, or state. Rincon has a “Trust Relationship” with the federal government, and, like state governments, is responsible for enforcing all applicable federal laws on the reservation, from environmental to taxation.
Rincon Tribal Council members, which include a Chair, Vice Chair, and three Council members, are democratically elected by a majority vote of tribal members. Not only do they serve as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government, but they possess the legal authority and responsibility to protect and promote the welfare of its tribal members and jurisdiction over the Reservation land.
Tribal Council elections are held every two years, with three officers elected in one election cycle and two in the next. The Tribal Council has an obligation to hold regularly scheduled meetings with the entire membership to discuss businessand policy decisions. As a matter of tribal tradition and practice, Rincon tribal members expect to play a role in their government; they expect to be informed of council decisions and consulted on major developments.
In addition, the Tribal Council serves as the board of directors for tribal enterprises, including, Harrah’s Resort SoCal, one of the premier resorts and casinos in Southern California.
The Rincon Band owns Harrah’s Resort Southern California and uses profits from this and other commercial enterprises to provide government services such as police and environmental enforcement; health, youth, seniors, recreation and culture programs; economic development; and a tribal court. The government also funds a highly respected and well-equipped tribal fire department, ambulance, and paramedic unit, as well as contracting with the San Diego Sheriff, delivering increased patrols on the Rincon Reservation and in Valley Center community. At no cost to taxpayers, Rincon’s public safety operations respond to emergencies in the neighboring communities, with more than a majority of calls generating outside the Reservation.
Rincon’s tribal enterprises are significant contributors to the North San Diego County economy through job creation, purchase of local products and services, and tax generation. In the interest of sharing and being good neighbors, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians awards hundreds of thousands of dollars, annually, to regional non-profits and public agencies that support quality of life programs.