Protesters surrounded the tribal gates at the Chukchansi Indian Reservation, armed with signs and slogans. The group, led by Morris Reid, took over the tribal office early Monday morning.
Tribe member Ruby Peterson said, "We just came in, it was easy, they can't do anything, it's our right to be here."
The protesters are fighting for membership and power over tribal council. Back in November, they say 200 people were kicked out of the tribe. Reid says he was voted into council to put a stop to it but the defeated candidates refused to leave office.
Reid said, "We are the true council and we're going to stand our ground."
Reggie Lewis stands against Reid's group. He was on the tribal council but admits he was voted off. He says proper procedures weren't followed to replace him. Filling a seat requires a motion, a second and finally getting sworn in by the chairman of the elections committee.
Lewis said, "That wasn't done."
He has a bigger issue with the way the group took over. "Things have been broken, the fence has been cut and the sheriff back-peddled a little and he's calling this an internal problem."
The sheriff's department showed up just to keep the peace. California law doesn't apply on Indian land, unless laws are broken. But Reid said the root of the problem here is disenrollment and his group won't leave until Reid takes his seat.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs said it will not step in. It's up to the tribe to resolve it's own issues.