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SANDAG and Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association Convene the 2018 San Diego Regional Tribal Summit

San Diego County CA— SANDAG joined the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA) to convene the 2018 San Diego Regional Tribal Summit on Friday at the Pala Casino Spa and Resort.

Members of the SANDAG Board of Directors met with elected leaders of the tribal governments in the San Diego region to discuss regional policy issues and strategies that will be considered for inclusion in San Diego Forward: The 2019-2050 Regional Plan. The SCTCA is a non-profit consortium of 19 tribes in Southern California.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria delivered the keynote address. Attendees also included Assemblymember Marie Waldron, the Governor’s Tribal Advisor Christina Snider, and a representative from the office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“SANDAG and the tribal governments are working hand-in-hand to address regional planning issues,” said SANDAG Chair and Del Mar City Councilmember Terry Sinnott. “The SANDAG Board recognizes that the region’s transportation system must also support the needs of our tribal nations whose reservations are not always located near urban roads and highways.”

There are 17 federally recognized tribal governments with jurisdiction over 18 reservations in the San Diego region. Local tribal nations include four cultural/ethnic groups: the Kumeyaay/ Diegueño, the Luiseño, the Cupeño, and the Cahuilla.

“Our partnership with SANDAG is setting a standard across the nation,” said SCTCA Chairman Robert Smith. “Our region is home to the most federally recognized tribal nations in the United States. The work we do here gives others a roadmap on how to plan and grow.”

Many planning issues affect the Native American reservations, which make up approximately 4 percent of the region’s land base and are located in remote areas within the unincorporated eastern portion of the county.

The Summit is a forum for the region’s tribes to help shape the 2019 Regional Plan, particularly in areas related to tribal nations and regional transportation planning for roadways, transit, funding, and technical assistance. During the Summit, the tribal nations and the region’s local governments had the opportunity to look for mutually collaborative opportunities in other emerging areas, such as:

  • Energy: The tribal nations have formed independent energy plans and have embarked on renewable energy projects while local jurisdictions are looking at new options for energy production.
  • Environment: The region has comprehensive plans for habitat and environmental conservation and will take into consideration the impacts to tribal nations.
  • Emergency preparedness: Coordinated emergency preparedness has shown the importance of working together across jurisdictions, especially during major wildfires.
  • Economy: Tribes contribute significantly to the regional economy, and as their economies mature there are more opportunities for collaboration.

The Policy Discussion Paper provided the blueprint for discussion.


The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.