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Soboba Band to hold meeting on P.L. 280

SAN JACINTO, Calif. - The Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, whose turbulent relationship with local sheriffs reached a tense high point earlier this year, is holding an open forum to assess the adequacy of a 1950s law that gives jurisdiction of criminal offenses to the state.

Indians, BIA officials and legal scholars are expected to attend the event, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 11 at the Country Club at Soboba Springs, said Mike Hiles, public information officer for the southern California tribe.

''We were forced to deal with Public Law 280 in the 1950s; but we're now in 2008, and a lot of reservations and rancherias are expanding and have more economic development than back then - they are more self-sufficient,'' said Soboba Tribal Chairman Robert J. Salgado in a statement. ''Maybe it's time to take a look at P.L. 280 and think about retrocession or partial retrocession, operating our own tribal government.''

The event comes after violence between tribal members and Riverside County sheriff's deputies left five Sobobas dead within a six-month span at or near the 6,000-acre Soboba reservation. Salgado and Riverside Sheriff Stanley Sniff signed a somewhat tenuous agreement in July meant to decrease tension and improve cooperation.

''In light of recent tragic events on our reservation, and in follow-up to the subsequent mediation agreement between our tribe and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, the urgency and importance of this discussion cannot be emphasized strongly enough,'' Salgado said in the statement.

Among those expected to attend is University of California - Los Angeles law professor Carole E. Goldberg, a leading scholar on P.L. 280, Hiles said.