Santa Ynez Band of Chumash
The land known as Camp 4 on the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash reservation in California is one step closer to being put into federal trust. The tribe plans to build housing for members on the land.

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash One Step Closer to Placing Land Into Trust for Housing


The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians welcomed the passage earlier this week of legislation that would give the tribe the ability to take nearly 1,400 acres into federal trust on which it plans to build 143 houses.

“We were pleased with the Committee vote,” said Santa Ynez Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn in a statement. “The members of the House Committee on Natural Resources understood the importance of placing our land into trust in order to help us build a stronger community.”

The committee voted 29–1 on July 13 to pass the Santa Ynez Land Transfer Act of 2015, HR 1157, which involves 1,390 acres. The dissenting vote came from Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, according to Santa Ynez government and legal affairs representative Sam Cohen in the statement.

"The strength of this vote coming out of the Natural Resources Committee demonstrates that Congress fully understands progress needs to be made to address the desperate housing situation facing the members of our tribe,” said Kahn. “To that end, the leadership of our tribe remains committed to working with the county in finding common sense solutions to the issues of concern to both of our communities.”

The Santa Ynez Band bought the land in 2010 and has been taking a two-pronged approach to getting the land into trust. A federal trust application is pending before the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the legislation is wending its way through Congress. The tribe is financially successful, with the Chumash Casino Resort, two hotels and two gas stations employing 1,800 Santa Barbara County residents. But it lacks enough housing for its members, most of whom live off the reservation, the band said on its website about the trust proposal.

“The need for housing on our reservation is serious and needs to be addressed immediately,” said Kahn in the statement. “Today’s vote represents one more step toward accomplishing our goal.”

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