Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin, 70, first elected chairman in the 1980s, retired June 29.
Martin was at the helm in 1987, when the Morongo and Cabazon tribes won the Supreme Court decision that led to the development of tribal gaming across the continent. He served a total of 18 years as chairman and an additional 11 years on the council.
Martin did not seek reelection. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey as I worked with our Tribal Council, our membership and leaders in all branches of governments to advance self-reliance and tribal sovereignty,” he said in a statement. “I’m proud of the great progress our tribe and our Tribal Council have made together during my tenure as we created new economic and educational opportunities for our members, our region, and all of Indian Country.”
Referring to the landmark 1987 court decision, California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Morongo tribe said in a statement, “That watershed decision fueled an economic and social renaissance that brought roads, clean water, housing, health care, jobs and education to reservations across the U.S.”
Martin’s successor Charles Martin (no relation) praised the retiring leader.
“Hardworking, engaging and entrepreneurial, Chairman Robert Martin’s leadership transcended generations and cultures. He is an inspiration and a role model for tribal leaders everywhere, and we look forward to benefiting from his continuing wisdom and counsel for many years to come.”