Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti grew up and lives on the Rincon Reservation.
Following his father’s example, Mazzetti was elected Tribal Chairman in 2007, and is now serving his fifth-consecutive term of office. He served previous terms as Vice Chairman and Council Member.
Mazzetti serves as President of the San Luis Rey Water Indian Water Authority, a consortium of five tribes that have been engaged in political and legal activities for 40 plus years to secure water resources lost through federal granting of tribal water rights to local cities.
Mazzetti has been passionate about ending the settlement for the sake of his father, and other generations of tribal leaders, many of who have passed, and served their lifetimes on the San Luis Rey Water Authority Board, fighting to return the water. On December 10, 2017, President Obama signed the settlement agreement on behalf of the tribes, and the Vista Irrigation District and Escondido Municipal Water District.
“The struggle to finalize the agreement the tribes and water districts worked out was a nightmare of legal and bureaucratic wrangling with the federal government. Today, I am proud I can report to my elders that we have justice at last.”
A founder and active member of the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association (SCTCA), Mazzetti has been working with chairpersons in Northern and Central California to recreate a revitalized California Tribal Chairman’s Association.
Mazzetti is advocate of exercising economic rights that protect sovereignty and oversaw the victorious and precedent setting lawsuit initiated by Rincon against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad faith compacting and illegal taxation. He has recently been working with a coalition of tribal leaders and the state on returning tobacco and other state taxes that rightfully belong to the tribal governments.
Making a difference in Sacramento, Mazzetti has overseen initiatives such as placing a tribal staff in the Governor’s cabinet, and hiring of a tribal person as liaison to the state’s water authority. He serves on the Governor’s Drought Task Force, and as a chief organizer of Indian Day in Sacramento.
“One of the really meaningful commitments I made this last year was to be Honorary Chairman of the American Indian Alaska Native Veterans Memorial Committee,” noted Mazzetti. “It’s shameful that there is not one memorial honoring our veterans. So I volunteered to help organization raise funds for an exceptionally beautiful memorial installation in Riverside National Cemetery.”
The founding member and former executive director of the Reservation Transportation Authority (RTA); he now serves on the executive committee. Mazzetti has been a Board member on the California Department of Transportation’s Native American Advisory Committee since 1998.
Formerly employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California Agency in Riverside, Mazzetti served as the first Indian Community Affairs and Citizen Assistance Officer for San Diego County. A businessperson, he has owned and operated Mazzetti and Company, a reservation–based general building, engineering and well drilling company since 1979.
Mazzetti has received numerous awards including the California Indian Chamber of Commerce “Warrior Award,” and the “Anna Sandoval Leadership Award” from the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
He attended Laverne College on a football scholarship as a graduate of Orange Glen High School in Escondido; CA, and graduated from California Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Behavioral Science. Like his parents, who met while serving in the Navy in World War II, Mazzetti served in the United States Navy, and is a Vietnam Veteran.
Tishmall Turner is serving her first term on the Rincon Tribal Council, as Vice Chairwoman. She has served the Rincon Band in many capacities, which include combining the modern world of education and service beyond the reservation with her passion for her culture and identity as a tribal woman.
As an ambassador working to bring recognition and respect for the tribes within the non-Indian community, she has developed important relationships in the North County’s educational, medical and social services communities that serve the interests of the Rincon Band. One example is serving on the Palomar Hospital Foundation Board, where she is able to relate to medical staff on behalf of tribal members.
“I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Rincon. I grew up on the reservation with the intention of always being an active citizen of the tribe. Now that my intention has become a reality, I hope that my education, life experiences, and knowledge of Rincon will help our government and people to continue to thrive.”
Vice Chairwoman Turner has distinguished herself as a warrior for education, and has served as the first full-time California Indian Tribal Liaison in the California State University system, since 2007. As Tribal Liaison for California State University San Marcos, she provides guidance to the university president, other campus administrators, and faculty to improve institutional relationships with California tribal communities. In addition to her responsibilities as a liaison, she regularly mentors American Indian students, and conducts outreach to recruit and educated tribal youth about higher education.
“Reaching tribal youth and their families about the value of education and its relationship with ensuring our economic and political sovereignty, is at the heart of my personal and professional goals,” Turner stated.
Asked to speak about the importance tribal education and interface with the state government at the 2016 California Indian recognition day, in Sacramento, Tishmall joined other leaders, including Gov. Jerry Brown, who also spoke.
She serves on numerous boards and committees, such as the Rincon Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) Board of Directors, Palomar Health Foundation Board, and the National Museum of American Indian National Advisory Council.
As Chair of the Rincon Contributions and Sponsorship Committee, she was responsible for shaping the philanthropic policy of the band, and promoting the practice of donating to public education, community events and service organizations in the North County.
“I feel the work through the contributions committee, supporting the welfare of our neighbors and betterment of our respective communities, opens doors that allow us to communicate in very positive ways to others about who we are as tribal people. We also break down stereotypes and ignorance of tribes by personally developing relationships with other people in North County, who are also trying to making a difference,” she added.
During her term on the REDCO Board of Directors, the tribe invested in a number of “firsts” in economic diversification on the Rincon Reservation. Adding to the Tribe’s major economic investment – Harrah’s Resort Southern CA, the REDCO board composed of tribal members negotiated and opened the first 7-Eleven franchise on a reservation, and the first American Indian brewery—SR76Beerworks. The group is currently ready to implement plans for a recreational vehicle park.
Tishmall’s professional memberships include the National Indian Education Association, Leadership North County Alumni Association, California Tribal College, and an honorary membership in the All Tribes American Indian Charter School Future Farmers of America. She has assisted in publishing children’s books and annual calendars in the Luiseño language among other cultural projects. Her contribution to the forthcoming “On Indian Ground,” book series will share high impact practices in parent and tribal community education efforts in California. She currently holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration.
Her recognitions and awards include:“Dream The Impossible” Native Youth Conference Advisor, 10 years of service (2016); San Diego American Indian Pow-Wow Honoree, Balboa Park Centennial Celebration (2015); California State Assembly Resolution by 75th District Marie Waldron (2015); California State University San Marcos President’s Native Advisory Council for10 years of service (2015); and appointment to the California State University System-Wide Native Initiative Steering Committee (2015-current).
Steve Stallings is an elected Tribal Council Member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians. He is the Council delegate to the Tribal Enterprise Board, which oversees the tribe’s gaming business, Harrah’s Resort Southern CA, one of the largest tribal resort hotels in California.
"My passion has been economic development for Tribal Nations, especially for my own Tribe. Building healthy communities requires an economy to sustain our people,” stated Stallings.
Stallings serves on the Tribe’s Investment Committee and its private equity investments. He is Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), an industry group made up of 33 tribal governments operating gaming businesses.
A major contribution to economic transparency, as well as the benefits Indian gaming brings to California, has been a bi-annual CNIGA fiscal and social impact analysis of Indian gaming, a project initiated by Stallings.
“The tribes made promises to voters in 2000, when the public voted to make casino gaming legal in California. We said, ‘Gaming would take tribal members off welfare, allow tribal governments to assume financial responsibility for our people and lands, as well as create jobs within our mostly rural communities,” Stallings remembered.
“We want voters to know we kept that promise, and are willing to provide a report card on our industry for public scrutiny.”
The latest CNIGA report performed by Beacon Economics in 2016, confirmed that tribal promises were more than fulfilled, including additional benefits, that resulted from tribal government hiring and purchases, along with major philanthropic donations and service partnerships with local governments.
For example, in 2014, according to the independent economic research group, California Indian gaming governments infused $7.8 billion into the state’s economy, of which $2.9 billion represented earnings of casino employees, holding 63,000 jobs statewide. The entire “California Economic Impact Study of Tribal Gaming” is available on line for public dissemination and distributed to the media and business and government leaders.
Retired as Senior Vice President and director of Native American Banking Services at Wells Fargo, where he worked for 20 years, Stallings provided financial services to Indian tribes in gaming, commercial banking and community and government relations. Prior to his tenure at Wells Fargo, he served for 20 years as the President of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED).
A Director of the Board and Treasurer for the American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC), Stallings was recently honored for his contributions to Native American higher education. He has also received “Life Time Achievement Awards” for community service by the Phoenix Indian Community, the California Native American Chamber of Commerce, and the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA).
In 1978, Stallings received a BS degree in business with an emphasis in management from California State University at Long Beach, CA, and in 1980, he attended the University of Southern California for graduate study in entrepreneurship and venture capital management.
Laurie E. Gonzalez is serving her fourth-term of office on the Rincon Tribal Council. Among the many interests she brings to the government are expertise in entrepreneurship, as result of her career in business, and a passion for her culture and the living legacies of Luiseño Indians.
Experienced in corporate business dealings and social protocols, Gonzalez was employed for 16 years as administrative support to the CEO/COB of Occidental Petroleum, Dr. Armand Hammer, as well as former Post Master General Marvin Watson and Board members such as Vice President Al Gore, Sr.
“As a member of the Tribal Council, one of my goals is to find ways to bridge, and use the opportunities the business revenues have created to advance our culture and recognition of our place and contributions to San Diego history. At the same time, from point of view of advancing economic development, I believe our culture and traditions have much of value to offer others in these modern times,” Gonzalez statedHer concerns about preserving the tribal past, includes protecting archeological artifacts of the Luiseño people, has led to the creation of the Luiseño Cultural Resources Advisory Group (LCRAG) – a new voice in the cultural arena.
The LCRAG is tasked with monitoring and protecting cultural resources, by walking sites under development with environmental consultants, contractors and construction crews.
“We can’t protect all the property our people inhabited, or our sacred sites, but we can work to reclaim and require cooperation and consultation with developers and other governments to work with us to respect and protect what is historically belongs to our ancestors,” she explained.
Other efforts undertaken by Gonzalez to introduce tribal culture to the guests of Harrah’s Resort Southern California can be viewed in the west wall of the resort’s convention center, and along a special trail. The trail, a vision of Gonzalez, is actually a nature walk, connecting the resort to the tribal museum, where guests may exercise and walk about, learning about native plants and creatures, and ultimately visiting the museum to explore and experience the tribe’s rich history and culture.
“The Rincon Council works hard and is involved in making very significant decisions, and I am honored to represent the Rincon members as we plan a sustainable future for our grandchildren.”
Gonzalez moved to the reservation in 1994, and worked at the Tribal Head Start for six years. In 1999, she began working at Harrah’s in Human Resources, as a national and international employment recruiter. In this position, she also trained her recruits and prepared them to work on the casino floor. She served on the board of The San Diego Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities, finding jobs at Harrah’s. This resulted in awards and recognition for Harrah’s such as “Employer of Choice,” and recognition from the Governor’s office.
“It was very rewarding to help connect people to good jobs and to know that I was also helping to contribute valuable team members for Rincon’s enterprise,” she noted.
Active on a number of committees, Gonzalez serves on the Culture Committee. She is also the Tribal Council Admin/HR liaison, sits on the board of The Intertribal Recovery Foundation, and is the Vice Chair of the Intertribal Court of Southern California’s Judiciary Committee.
Gonzalez was a recent recipient of the Intertribal Recovery Foundation’s “Leadership Award.”
With a governing style of quiet persuasion and perseverance, she makes a difference, and creates a continuing awareness of tribal culture and history in decisions and actions undertaken by the Council. When not on call for government business, she is available as a cultural resource and speaker.
A student at El Camino and Palomar community colleges, Gonzalez also attended San Diego State University, where she took gaming-specific classes, which included Casino Marketing and Human Resources. In addition to volunteering to educate the community about the Luiseño people and Rincon, she is busy making memories with her grandchildren and supporting projects about which she is passionate.
Alfonso Kolb Sr.
Alfonso Kolb, Sr., ran unopposed in 2016, and is now serving his second term of office as a Rincon Tribal Council Member. The son of Howard and Ruth Davis Kolb, his grandparents are Charles and Corpentina Kolb. Before moving back to the reservation, he had previously been living in Washington State, where he was employed in the lumber business. His real love and talent however, is making music. At two years, he got his first drum; at eight, he got his first real sticks. Today, Kolb is an award-winning performer, starring on the drums in many of Native Americans’ most popular bands.
“Our Native music is an expression of who we are… of our sovereignty,” said Kolb, adding that drums, long used by Indians to communicate, are medicine for the soul, and for him, “A relief and an outlet.”
Kolb played in a number of bands, finally finding a home with his best friend, Jim Boyd and the Jim Boyd Band. The band, one of Indian Country’s top entertainers, starred in major music acts across the country and won eight Native American Music Awards (NAMA). Kolb’s many awards shared with the Jim Boyd Band include awards for “Best Compilation Recording,” a recording for the sound track from the movie, “Smoke Signals; “Best Pop/Rock Recording,” 2003; “Record of the Year” in 2002, 2004, and 2016; “Song Writer of the Year;” “Best Short Form Video/DVD;” and “Artist of the Year” in 2008.
“Music has a life of its own, the majority of songs,” Kolb explains, “have their own power. The drummer has a big responsibility to lock down the meter, find the groove, and pocket. I can always feel the audience, whether it’s 15-20 people, or 70,000. Playing for an audience that’s with you, and you are playing to perfection, is a peak experience. It’s completely gratifying -- a dream fulfilled.
“Music has given me a mission: To impress on our youth – that they have a right to dream, they need to dream, and, like me, they can fulfill that dream.”
While performing with the Winterhawk Band, Kolb played on many Indian reservations and at Indian boarding schools in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Arizona, trying to reach the youth musically about their lives.
It was while playing at the boarding schools and seeing the problems and challenges faced by Indian youth, that Alfonso began advising and encouraging Indian kids to get their education and not give up on following their dreams.
When moving back to the Rincon Reservation, Kolb joined the Rincon Recreation Department... As Recreational Coordinator, he spearheaded programs to combine recreational and educational services for youth.
“Being Recreation Coordinator was the perfect opportunity for me,” noted Kolb, “Because it provided me with the chance to work with Rincon youth.” On Council, he continues to stay involved with the issues facing Indian children.
“I was very thankful for the chance to be Recreation’s Coordinator, and carry on with a mission to address what’s happening with the youth,” said Alfonso. “I’ve tried to be a positive example to the local kids by providing them with an optimistic outlook about where they can go with their lives.”
Kolb, was born on the reservation, and lived on family land that is now part of the Pauma Reservation. At ten years of age, he moved back to Rincon, where he lived until his late teens. He attended Pauma Elementary School and Fallbrook High School, later earning an AA degree in General Business from Spokane Community College, in Washington State. He is married to his wife of 30 years, Antheres Calac Kolb. They have four children, James Curo, Jr., Alfonso Kolb, Jr., Robert, and Morrissa. A proud grandfather, the family of Alfonso and Antheres Kolb includes seven grandchildren from 2 years to 14 years of age: Devin and Adriel Kolb; Kaya, Jasmin, and Javyin Curo; Nikolai Kolb, and Benjamin Harring.