Plans for a new tribal casino resort in Sonoma County, California, are stirring the pot of tribal interests in the state, opposing one tribe, Koi Nation, against another five, reported abc7news. The county already has two casinos.
Sonoma County Vote to Reject or Approve the Project
The $600 million Shiloh Resort and Casino project put forward by the Koi Nation tribe of Northern California will be subjected to voting before the Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors and tension is building as five other tribes are opposing it.
According to Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, the five tribes opposing the casino resort are “united” and the Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors is “kind of standing in solidarity with them.” And while the board would not want to “step on the tribes’ issues of establishing their homeland,” the casino issue is a huge one for the county, and “the land-use” is always going to be a big concern, he added.
The project was initially proposed in September last year when the tribe purchased 68 acres of land located north of Santa Rosa in an unincorporated area and announced it would be building a casino resort with a 200-room hotel, spa-casino, and six restaurants near Shiloh Road and Old Redwood Highway, as well as re-establish its tribal land base there.
“Since our fee to trust application was filed on Sept. 15, 2021, the Koi Nation has actively reached out to local elected and community leaders to have an open discussion and inform them of our resort and casino plans.”Koi Nation
The Issue Is the Tribal Land Base Re-Establishment
It is the Koi Nation’s intent to re-establish its tribal land base that is concerning the tribes as all five letters question the historical connection of the Koi Nation tribe to Sonoma County, claiming the ancestors of the tribe are in Lake County, 50 miles away from the land proposed for the casino resort.
Indeed, Koi Nation’s original land was on a Clear Lake island before it was seized in the 1870s, and since then the tribe was displaced several times, initially to various communities in the Russian River, and later on, to Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.
Koi Nation’s recognition as a tribal entity was restored in a federal court ruling in 2019. The ruling also recognized the right of the tribe to establish its sovereign tribal land base and according to information published on the Koi Nation’s website, the tribe is claiming its people have lived in Sonoma County for more than 100 years.
“We are surprised and troubled that this resolution was placed by Sup. Gore on the Board’s agenda without any notice to us. The Koi Nation has been, and will continue to be, open and transparent throughout the process of taking our land into trust for the benefit our members and the entire Sonoma community.”Koi Nation
Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisor’s vote would not be the final hurdle the tribe should overcome to see its casino resort project green-lighted for development. Considered federal land, developments on Indian reservations require final approval from the federal government.