Tejon Tribe focus of Kern County Historical Society program

Feb. 15—The Tejon Indian Tribe is set to build a casino south of Bakersfield, but the tribe's history is just as interesting as its future.

On Saturday, the Kern County Historical Society will welcome guest speaker Sandra Hernandez to discuss the tribe.

Hernandez has served as executive council secretary since June 2019.

Kern County's only federally recognized tribe, the tribe's reaffirmation was received in 2012 after spending more than a decade petitioning the federal government for recognition.

Reaffirmation gives a tribe the authority and the standing to act as a sovereign government, allows it to reach inter-governmental agreements with the state and county, and enables it to receive and allocate state and federal resources, and fund its government.

In November, the tribe received final approval to move forward with a casino set to serve as the centerpiece of a $600 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which is expected to create more than 2,000 permanent jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars per year in local economic benefits.

Prior to her current role, Hernandez served as secretary for the council of the 1,200-plus-member tribe. She will discuss the tribe's rich history as well as where it goes from here during her talk.

The program starts at 11 a.m. Saturday in Pyrenees Bakery building, located south of the Howell House, on the grounds of the Kern County Museum, 3801 Chester Ave.