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No. 84: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary

84. Lynn Valbuena

Lynn Valbuena, has been the chair of The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations for 25 years, and is an influential figure in tribal issues, in California as well as nationally. TASIN, a coalition of 13 federally-recognized southern California tribes — a mix of both casino-owning and non-gaming tribes — was formed in 1995. The association’s member tribes generated over $2.5 billion in total economic output in 2019 and employed over 16,000 Californians — many in rural and underserved communities. We haven’t seen financial numbers for 2020, but we are told that they were catastrophic; both casino income and room rentals at tribal resorts plummeted. Valbuena, generally known as a peacemaker, took the U.S. Department of the Treasury to task over the initial $8 billion allotment for tribal governments reserved in the CARES Act, which she characterized as inadequate to the needs of Native people and ignorant of the history of genocide and treaty violations that left tribal communities particularly vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic.

Updated Aug. 25, 2021

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