Robert H. Smith serves as Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, a position he has held since 1990. Chairman Smith successfully negotiated the first Tribal-State compact in California with Governor Pete Wilson in 1996, and subsequently supervised the opening of Pala Casino, creating thousands of jobs for tribal members and area residents. Chairman Smith’s work for the Pala Tribe includes providing health, vision and dental insurance for all members, creating a $1.5 million home loan program, launching a $300,000 scholarship fund for higher education, purchasing additional land for the Tribal cemetery and securing 24-hour on-site ambulance, firefighter and paramedic service for the Pala Reservation. Chairman Smith is also responsible for the opening of the Pala Library and Pala Child Care Center.
Chairman Smith is a member of the California Tribal Business Alliance, San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority, Southern California Tribal Chairman Association, San Diego Association of Governments, Indian Health Council for North San Diego County, Pala Housing Authority, Pala Fire Department, National Fire Protection Agency, California State Fireman Association and the Cupa Cultural Center. He also serves as Chairman of the California Indian Manpower Consortium and the California Fee-to-Trust Consortium. Chairman Smith is a delegate on the National Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Leaders Budget Committee, the National Indian Gaming Association and the National Congress of American Indians and the National Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Board.