Calif. casino tribes kick members out

SUDHIN THANAWALA Associated Press Published:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Two casino-owning tribes in California have thinned their membership ranks, cutting off people from a share of casino profits and other benefits of tribal membership.

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, owners of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in the Sierra foothills near Yosemite National Park, have expelled dozens of members since around November. The Pala Band of Mission Indians in northern San Diego County -- owners of the Pala Resort and Casino -- expelled more than 150 people on Wednesday.

Tribal official say the former members' ancestral blood lines disqualified them.

Critics, however, have a different explanation: greed.

They accuse tribal officials of trying to increase their share of profits from their casinos, a charge that tribal officials vehemently deny.