COUNCILMAN – JAMES CUERO III
James Cuero III currently serves as a Tribal Councilmember for the Jamul Indian Village. With a passion for preserving Kumeyaay culture and advancing the economic self-reliance of the Tribe, James is proudly leading the Jamul Indian Village on a new path to cultural preservation and self-sufficiency.
With a background in casino operations at the Avi Resort and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, James has been a strong advocate of pursuing a more aggressive strategy for growth and development of the Tribe’s Jamul Casino. In just his first term as a Councilmember, the Tribal Council successfully transitioned the casino from a management company into a self-managed operation, giving the Tribe independent control over their economic future for the first time. His goal is to see the casino’s expansion into a resort destination for the Southern California community.
As a councilmember, James strives to teach and promote the Tribe’s traditions and culture. For more than 20 years, James has studied and practiced the traditional bird songs of the Tribe’s Kumeyaay ancestors. Since studying with Dr. Paul Cuero of the Campo Reservation, James has participated in pow-wows and gatherings throughout the American Southwest. In 2004, he sang at the grand opening of the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American in Washington D.C., and he has also sung at the Smithsonian archives in Virginia.
Growing up, James remembers visiting his great-grandmother Mary Cuero’s house at the Jamul Indian Village, and the tangerine and lemon trees she grew. While the reservation has changed over the years to allow for the development of Jamul Casino, one of James’s major goals is restore the reservation and put more land into the Tribe’s trust so the membership can move back home to their ancestral land.
James is a graduate of Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley, California. He is devoted to his wife, Heather Rae, a member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, and his four children. He enjoys traveling to traditional Tribal gatherings and pow-wows, playing the ancient Kumeyaay game of peon, playing video games, and taking his family to amusement parks.