Janet K. Bill, Chairperson, Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians

Janet K. Bill, Chairperson
Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians

Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino – Coursegold, CA

CHALLENGES/REWARDS: It has been a rewarding year for the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians. Legislatively, we testified on behalf of the enforcement of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the importance of returning cultural and historical remains to tribes. Additionally, we made strides in addressing the opioid epidemic by donating funding to the Fresno Police Chiefs Foundation to acquire several K-9s that are trained in fentanyl detection.

We have also made significant progress with our landback efforts this year with fee-to-trust land acquisitions. Two properties, known as Hawkins Valley and Chapel Hill, total over 370 acres of land in Coarsegold, CA. Hawkins Valley is thought to be the site of our original Chukchansi tribal village. The acquisition of these lands allows us to reassert jurisdiction over our ancestral lands and preserve important cultural resources that are of tremendous significance to our tribe.

Our tribe also remains committed to ensuring the preservation and revitalization of our language. This year, we hosted our inaugural Chukchansi Language Conference at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino’s Chukchansi Conference Center. Our event allowed Yokuts, Miwok, and Mono linguists to discuss and present language preservation approaches and techniques. We are honored to share that our tribal elder Holly Blossom Wyatt received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from California State University, Fresno. Dr. Wyatt has worked with the Linguistics Department at Fresno State for decades and continues to preserve our Chukchansi language.  

PROMOTING LEADERSHIP: Our tribe encourages strong leadership within our casino and all our entities. From our tribal youth education and scholarship programs to our internship opportunities, we recognize the importance of creating leadership development initiatives for our tribal members. Within our casino, we offer excellent benefits, competitive wages, and employee perks that lead to strong employee retention rates. By creating advancement opportunities and career growth pathways for current employees, we strive to maintain a culture of dedication and purpose.

FUTURE PROJECTS/INITIATIVES: The tribe’s Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino prioritizes making a positive difference through charitable giving in the areas of local community, health and human services, culture, and education. The casino carries out these philanthropic efforts through its Chukchansi Cares program. Since its inception in 2021, Chukchansi Cares has donated nearly $500,000 to positively impact our local community.

The most exciting upcoming initiative for our tribe is a new tribal court system. We are eager to further the development, operation, and enhancement of our tribal justice system. The new tribal court system will allow us to exercise jurisdiction over all issues regarding our tribal members. Creating a self-sufficient justice system will allow our tribe to better serve our members and better address any concerns or issues that may arise.