SOURCE: Barona Band of Mission Indians

Barona Band of Mission Indians

April 27, 2010 18:24 ET

Edwin "Thorpe" Romero Named Top Influential in San Diego

Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians Carries on Family Legacy of Enhancing Tribal Members' Lives and Improving Community

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - April 27, 2010) -  Edwin "Thorpe" Romero, chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, was recently named one of San Diego's most influential people.

The award was bestowed by The Daily Transcript, one of San Diego's leading business publications. Since 1886, The Daily Transcript has seen and reported on many significant changes to San Diego's economic landscape, many of which stem from the remarkable ideas and numerous contributions of individuals. Each year the publication honors influential people in the major industry sectors that sustain San Diego's economy. Chairman Romero's was honored in recognition of his passion for the welfare of his Tribe, as well as the entire San Diego community. 

Always mindful of the past, but with an eye toward a better future, Romero says he's been most influenced by his Native American ancestors and their centuries-old commitment to sharing -- a core tribal value.

Few embody the deep-rooted spirit of sharing and traditional values like Romero, a lifelong resident of the Barona Indian Reservation in rural San Diego County, just north of Lakeside.

"I believe our lives are like a revolving wheel," says Romero, who has served on Barona's Tribal Council for 13 years and as its chair for over a year.

"We give thanks to our ancestors that have passed for what we have today. We take care of our elders and we educate our youth, who will take care of us in the future. It all circles back to giving thanks to our ancestors through what we do here and share now," he said.

According to Chairman Romero, the opportunities the Tribe has today wouldn't have been possible without the many wise steps that former Tribal leaders took to secure a bright future for generations to come.

"We are grateful for the brave decisions that our people have made to be among the first to open a major casino on reservation land in the early 1990s. Indian gaming is the cornerstone on which Barona has been able to rebuild our community and renew our culture," explains Romero.

Through Indian gaming revenues, he says that the Barona Tribe is able to provide its members with healthcare, housing, education and jobs.

Indian gaming also has made many improvements possible on the reservation, including the Barona Indian Charter School, the Barona Fire Department, the Barona Cultural Center & Museum, a children's park, a full-service community center, and major reservation infrastructure improvements and additions.

Beyond the reservation, Barona Resort & Casino is one of largest economic engines in East County creating jobs and contributing to infrastructure projects among many other benefits. It is also one of San Diego's major employers with approximately 3,000 staff members. 

"Many people don't realize that the positive impact of Indian gaming has reached far beyond the Barona Indian reservation," continued Romero.

Chairman Romero is proud of the contributions Barona has made in the community at large. Barona has donated to hundreds of charitable organizations over the years that support education, at-risk youth, senior programs, public safety, the environment, healthcare and medical research.

"Our Tribe owes much to our ancestors' leaders who kept the spirit of our culture alive and provided for our community through the years. We hope to continue that legacy for future generations."

About the Barona Band of Mission Indians

The Barona Band of Mission Indians, recognized by the United States government as a sovereign nation, has lived on the Barona Indian Reservation in rural eastern San Diego County since 1932. Prior to that, the Tribe lived on the Capitan Grande Reservation which was established by the federal government in 1875. Long before living on a reservation, the Tribe traveled across Southern California in tune with the seasons and what nature provided. Today, the sovereign nation, governed by an elected Tribal Council, is serving its Tribal members, their families, and sharing with the San Diego region. One of the most successful gaming Tribes in the country, Barona also owns and operates the Barona Resort & Casino, San Diego's leading gaming resort, casino and golf course. For more information, visit

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