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Money Changes Life for Tribe

A Mercedes Benz is on display inside the new Chumash Casino in the Santa Ynez Valley, owned and operated by the Chumash Indian tribe. It is one of the largest employers in the valley. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Kenny Kahn. a member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Business Committee, and other tribe members celebrate the opening of the new casino with a private party. Their new hotel will be built soon. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Chumash Indians greet patrons after the midnight opening of the tribe’s new Chumash Casino. The reservation near Solvang is expanding dramatically this year. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Benjie Wyatt, 28, washes his new Ford truck outside his family’s home on the Santa Ynez Indian Reservation near Solvang, California. The Chumash Casino has brought the tribe new prosperity. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Adelina Alva Padilla is the spiritual leader of the Santa Ynez band of Chumash Indians. The tribe is celebrating 100 years of federal recognition this year and is opening a new casino. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Chairman Vincent Armenta, the Santa Ynez Chumash tribe Chief representative, received a ‘thank you’ award for a large donation to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department while at the group’s Annual Citizens Recognition Luncheon. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Chumash Elder, Eva Pagaling, 79, photographed with portrait of her grandmother, Florencia Armenta, the stern Chumash matriarch who died in 1982 at age 90. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
A 1979 photograph shows Toni Zavala and two children (not identified) standing on reservation property in the Santa Ynez valley. (Santa Barbara News Press)
A view of an early bingo advertising sign on the Santa Ynez reservation, circa 1984. (Santa Barbara News Press)
An ariel look at the Chumash Casino and spa resort, a major presence next to the town of Santa Ynez. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
Gracie Pacheco is an Elder in the Santa Ynez tribe of Chumash Indians. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)
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