Pala tribal chairman Robert Smith has returned to the Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group.
A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Feb. 25 approved his appointment to the sponsor group. Smith was recommended for the appointment by Supervisor Bill Horn after the Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group recommended on Feb. 4 that Smith be appointed to the seat vacated by the resignation of Bill Winn.
“Having worked with Chairman Robert Smith on a number of occasions in his capacity as tribal chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, I look forward to having him serve on the Pala-Pauma Community Sponsor Group as a member,” Horn said.
Although Indian reservations are not part of community planning areas, a sponsor group member does not need to live within the boundaries of the sponsor group’s planning area.
The Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group has sought to improve relations with nearby reservations by including tribal officials on the sponsor group.
In April 2012, Smith was appointed to the sponsor group to fill a vacancy, although he sought not to seek a full term and was replaced by Rincon tribal vice-chair Stephanie Spencer. Five reservations – Pala, Pauma, Rincon, San Pasqual, and La Jolla – are neighbors of the Pala-Pauma planning area.
“I have the experience and knowledge necessary to successfully represent the Native American population in the region. There is currently only one tribal representative sitting on the board and with my extensive knowledge of tribal issues, I feel I would make a great addition to the board and the community as a whole,” Smith said.
Smith has been Pala’s tribal chair since 1990 and was previously the tribal vice-chair for three years. He also serves on the Indian Health Council and California Indian Manpower Association boards.