About 50 members of the San Pasqual Indian Band were denied voting privileges because of a longstanding feud over their blood ties, it was reported Tuesday.
Angela Martinez-McNeal said she and her family were prevented from voting in a tribal election Sunday because tribal Chairman Allen Lawson and his supporters instructed sheriff's deputies and the tribe's own security officers to keep them out, The North County Times reported.
About 300 people belong to the Valley Center-area tribe, which runs Valley View Casino. In 2007, membership rights of every descendent of Marcus R. Alto Sr. were abruptly suspended because Alto was adopted and not biologically tied to the tribe.
About 50 Alto descendants lost their tribal jobs and their share of casino revenue payments.
The member have fought the decision ever since, and the federal government has tentatively sided with the Alto descendants, the Times reported.
Jim Fletcher, superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Southern California, told the newspaper that not allowing the family members to vote may have violated their American Indian civil rights and he will be looking into the matter.
Lawson, who apparently won re-election Sunday, declined to comment, as did the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, which referred all questions to the tribe, the Times reported.
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