Madera County Sheriff's Deputies are still on high alert Wednesday, making sure violence doesn't errupt on an indian reservation. A command post is set up on Highway 41 and Road 417.
The law enforcement presence started Tuesday afternoon after the sheriff's department got word that internal conflict with the Picayune Rancheria Chukchansi Indians could turn violent. Erica Stuart, spokesperson for the sheriff's department, says there's strategy in visibility.
"Make our presence known, to let them know, this is going to be resolved peacefully. There is not going to be a repeat of last year," said Stuart.
One year ago, the conflict turned violent and bloody. Three people were injured and dozens of deputies intervened. Tribal chairwoman Nancy Ayala says last week, three council members were suspended. She won't say why, but it sparked the latest conflict.
"We, like any other government, have internal differences of opinion," said Ayala.
An associate professor at Fresno State, Kenneth Hansen, is hosting a forum Thursday night. They'll discuss the root issue Chukchansis and other tribes argue about.
"There's a dispute over who actually belongs to the tribe. And of course, if you don't know who belongs, you don't know who votes in the elections and you don't know who has the legitimacy to govern," said Hansen.
He says the tribe needs a referee. Sheriff John Anderson hopes the Bureau of Indian Affairs will sit in on a resolution meeting. It's tentatively scheduled for Friday in Sacramento.
"Until that happens, we have no choice. We're staying put," said Stuart.
Wednesday night's presence isn't expected to be as dramatic as Tuesday, when dozens of officers from around the valley responded. In spite of the activity, Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino says business has not been effected.
"Folks should not worry too much about what's going on across the street and enjoy themselves here," said Roger Salazar, the casino's spokesperson.
Residents who live in the Indian Lakes community should still be prepared to show identification tonight as they go home. Other law enforcement agencies are on standby Wednesday night.