from Jamul Action Committee - Jamulians Against the Casino Facebook page
"Remembrance Rally" in Jamul, March 7, 2015
A long-controversial casino under construction in Jamul has found a new set of opponents: members of the tribe building it.
Local residents have been fighting against the casino for over a decade. More recent attempts to block the facility have included a 2013 lawsuit challenging the tribe's authority over the land, and another that charged environmental law violations.
The former suit was settled last week, with a judge refusing to enter an injunction blocking the construction, which actually began in early 2014. The latter case is still pending in a state appeals court.
Now, two members of Jamul Indian Village are suing the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Penn National Gaming, claiming that a 452,000-ton earth-moving project improperly included historical burial grounds comprising 4 acres of the 20-acre site.
"No permit has been posted by defendants to excavate soil from the cemetery and deposit it on state property," reads an excerpt of the complaint posted by Courthouse News Service. "Nor have they notified the San Diego County coroner of their intent to disturb human remains on the site."
The grading of the site in preparation for the casino's installation resulted in the remains of plaintiffs Walter Rosales and Karen Toggery's ancestors being excavated and "unceremoniously dumped" on a Caltrans highway construction site, according to their account.
The suit also repeats claims made against the tribe by anti-casino activists, including the assertion that the tribe is unqualified to construct a casino on the reservation, which has not been the residence of any tribal members since the 1970s.
Rosales and Toggery seek punitive damages of $4 million. While they claim to be tribal members, they say they do not expect to realize any income as a result of the casino's opening.