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Battle for control of Dry Creek Pomos

A struggle for control of the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians played out Monday in Santa Rosa as two candidates for tribal office challenged their pending disenrollment.

The candidates, daughters of previous tribal leaders who themselves were disenrolled four years ago, appealed to the five-member Dry Creek board of directors to reverse the decision to kick them out of the tribe.

"It's a political thing. There's no reason I should not be qualified to run," said Laila Elgin DeRouen, who was informed in October she no longer qualified for tribal membership after declaring her candidacy for secretary-treasurer of the board.

"What I presented was the truth," she said after emerging from her appeal hearing at the Dry Creek administrative offices off Airport Boulevard. "They should never have questioned my membership to begin with."

Disputes over membership in tribes have increased since Las Vegas-style gambling was legalized on Indian lands in California a dozen years ago.


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