Chukchansi tribe members call 48 hour truce

FRESNO, Calif.

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The war of words and violence has ended for the moment. The tribal offices were evacuated and a 48 hour truce was put in place.

Late Tuesday afternoon deputies from Madera and Fresno counties escorted about 70 tribal members out of the tribal offices. They had been staking their claim and refusing to leave since Monday morning.

Sheriff John Anderson says he's been hesitant to get involved in the internal feud until now. With each hour hostile words became criminal acts. "Started out broken windows, escalated to pepper spray, escalated to starting a fire and the next thing was shooting a fire extinguisher, and then physical violence."

Security guards from two different companies are now standing guard making sure they remain vacant.

The Madera County Sheriff says local congressmen are helping to get in touch with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help resolve the issue.

ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said it's unlikely the federal government will intervene. "They will only get involved if there's an issue between the tribe and the federal government. That's not the issue here, the issue is among the tribe," said Capozzi. Capozzi believes instead, the government should assign a mediator to help the tribe work out the conflict.

While the dispute continues, Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino continues to operate as normal. Though the resort briefly interrupted its hotel reservations Monday, they resumed as normal Tuesday.

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