Anna Prieto Sandoval, the former leader of the Sycuan Band of Mission Indians and a pioneer of the Indian gambling movement, died on Oct. 28 due to complications of diabetes.
Sandoval became the leader of the Sycuan Band of Mission Indians in 1972. Two decades later, when she stepped down, the Sycuan tribe had risen from poverty to become a national model of tribal self-sufficiency, a transformation, which according to the Washington Post, she came to regret.
With the construction of a 68,000-square foot casino on the reservation just outside of El Cajon Southern California, unemployment no longer existed and the Sycuan tribe became one of the richest in the nation. But Ms. Sandoval was ambivalent about its effects stating in an interview, “I guess it’s good, in a way, but when you lose your traditions, you don’t know who you are, what you are.”
Ms. Sandoval is survived by her brother, two sons and 15 grandchildren.
References: The Washington Post: November 10, 2010