Unrecognized in California
Federal Acknowledgment and the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians
- PUBLISHED: May 2024
- SUBJECT LISTING: Native American and Indigenous Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 216 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 6 b&w illus., 1 map
- SERIES: Indigenous Confluences
- ISBN: 9780295752846
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
With the largest number of Native Americans as well as the most non-federally recognized tribes in the United States, the state of California is a key site for sovereignty struggles, including federal recognition. In Unrecognized in California, Olivia M. Chilcote, member of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians of San Diego County, demonstrates how the state’s colonial history is foundational to the ongoing crisis over tribal legal status. In the context of the history and experience of her tribal community, Chilcote traces the tensions and contradictions—but also the limits and opportunities—surrounding federal recognition for California Indians. Based on the author's experiences, interviews with tribal leaders, and hard-to-access archives, the book tells the story of the San Luis Rey Band's efforts to gain recognition through the Federal Acknowledgment Process. The tribe's recognition movement originated in historic struggles against colonization and represents the most recent iteration of ongoing work to secure the tribe’s rightful claims to land, resources, and respect. As Chilcote shows, the San Luis Rey Band successfully uses its inherent legal powers to maintain its community identity and self-determination while the tribe's Luiseño members endeavor to ensure that the tribe endures. Perceptive and comprehensive, Unrecognized in California explores one tribe's confrontations with the federal government, the politics of Native American identity, and California's distinct crisis of tribal federal recognition.
Authors & Contributors
Olivia M. Chilcote (Luiseño, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians) is assistant professor of American Indian studies at San Diego State University.
""Chilcote explains the impacts of lack of federal recognition—in material, psychological, and cultural terms—and simultaneously offers a relentlessly empowering perspective, articulating that sovereignty is inherent and exercised continually by her tribe and other non–federally recognized tribes in California.""- Beth Rose Middleton Manning, author of Upstream: Trust Lands and Power on the Feather River