Rep. Huffman Introduces Lytton Rancheria Tribal Land Legislation

February 28, 2019
Bill would take land into trust, ensure implementation of Sonoma-Lytton agreement to prohibit gaming

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) reintroduced the Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act, a bill to take lands owned by the Lytton Rancheria in Sonoma County into trust for housing and other purposes as part of the Tribe’s reservation, permanently prohibit the Tribe from using those lands and or other land in Sonoma County for casino gaming, and to uphold the memorandum of agreement between the Tribe and County. 

“The bill I introduced today reflects and strengthens the extensive stakeholder meetings and negotiations between the Lytton Tribe, Sonoma County, and local agencies,” said Rep. Huffman. “This legislation would allow the Lytton Tribe to return to their homeland while upholding locally negotiated agreements, including the Memorandum of Agreement that reflects strong opposition to new casinos in Sonoma County. My bill reflects a model for functional, respectful, productive relationships between local governments and tribes, and I am appreciative of all the negotiations and collaborations that have brought us to this point.”

In 1958, the Lytton Rancheria, a federally-recognized Pomo Indian tribe, lost its homeland when its legal relationship with the federal government was terminated. That termination was later found to be unlawful, and in 1991 the Tribe was restored to federally-recognized status. However, the stipulated judgment in the case did not include restoring the Tribe’s reservation on its ancestral homeland. 

Sonoma County and Lytton Rancheria signed a memorandum of agreement on March 10, 2015, that details the development and management of the land in Sonoma, currently owned by the Tribe, that will be taken into trust by the United States. That memorandum of agreement was amended in 2018 to prohibit the Tribe from conducting gaming activities county-wide. To reflect this new agreement, Huffman’s legislation has been updated from the previously introduced bill and now permanently prohibits the Lytton Rancheria from conducting gaming in Sonoma County.

Huffman’s bill is supported by Lytton Rancheria and the County of Sonoma, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and the Windsor Fire Protection District and Windsor Unified School District.

Huffman serves as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over matters including natural resources and land management, ownership, and leasing, to development of reservation economies and enhancement of social welfare, and other initiatives on tribal lands.