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About Smith River Rancheria  

The Smith River Rancheria is a federally recognized Indian Tribe of Tolowa Indians. The Rancheria is located 3 miles south of the Oregon-California border in Northwest California. The Tribe’s general membership consists of 1,569 members governed by a 7 member Tribal Council elected by the general membership. Tribal Council members are: Kara Brundin-Miller, Chairperson; Denise Padgette, Vice-Chairperson; Loren Bommelyn, Secretary; Joel Bravo, Treasurer; Marian Lopez, Marvin Richards and Joseph Giovannetti, Council Members.

Tribal operations are administered by the Tribal Administrator, Russ Crabtree. Other departments include; Fiscal, Environmental Programs, Housing, Language Preservation, Native American Graves and Repatriation (NAGPRA), Community and Family Services, Grants and Contracts, Maintenance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Enrollment and Clerical Support.

Smith River Rancheria property holdings include a drinking water system, Tribal Administrative Offices, Gaming Agency Offices, Senior Apartments, Howonquet Cemetery, Prince Island, UIHS Medical/Dental Clinic, Howonquet Head Start and Day Care and the Howonquet Hall Community Center. Other lands are reserved for future use.

Enterprise holdings include: Lucky 7 casino, Lucky 7 Fuel Mart and Howonquet Day Care Center. Plans are underway for development and construction of a Recreational Vehicle (RV) park and quality hotel on Tribal land. 

Cultural Identity

Our enrollment consists of people who are descended from the native inhabitants of the tribe’s ancestral territories; specifically, the land bounded by Wilson Creek to the south, Sixes River to the North, Point St. George to the west and the Coastal Range watershed to the east.

The Tolowa people have survived a history of continued removal, genocide and discrimination within thier homelands by the explorers, settlers, miners and ranchers who “colonized” the area.

In 1906 the “Landless California Indians Act”, also called the “Rancheria Act” was established. The Act made appropriations for the purchase of lands for landless Indians; but in 1960, the Federal trust relationship with the Tolowa people was terminated and community lands were allotted to individuals.

Economic Contributions

In 1983 the Tillie Hardwick class action lawsuit was settled; overturning the “termination” of 1960. The center of the decision rested on the fact that the Tolowa people in Smith River, along with 13 other Tribes, never stopped acting as a government.

Our Government, Culture and Traditions survived colonialism and termination because we persisted and never gave up our identities. We continue our traditions of strong government with comprehensive Tribal programs and our Culture with traditional activities.

Smith River Rancheria and it’s subsidary operations contributes to the local economy in several ways.

Lucky 7 Casino, Lucky 7 Fuel Mart, House of Howonquet Resturant, Howonquet Day Care and Tribal Administration employ approximately 200 people. The combined gross annual payroll exceeds 4 millions dollars. Our employees pay all applicable local, state, and federal payroll taxes. The Tribe also contributes to the community in the form of direct donations.