In northern California, the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians has reportedly signed a deal that will see local authorities agree not to oppose its land-into-trust application in exchange for an assurance that the federally-recognized tribe will not seek to bring a casino to the 500-acre site.
Tribe hoping to return to Sonoma County:
According to a Tuesday report from The Press Democrat newspaper, the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians lost its federal recognition in 1961 but initiated a court battle that saw this decision reversed some 30 years later. It subsequently opened its San Pablo Lytton Casino in Contra Costa County while endeavouring to secure a reservation in its traditional homeland located across San Francisco Bay in Sonoma County.
The newspaper reported that the proposed site for the new reservation lies just west of the Sonoma County town of Windsor with the tribe hoping to bring approximately 147 new homes to the parcel along with a 200-room resort featuring a winery that would be able to produce up to 200,000 cases a year.
Local opposition to reservation request:
However, numerous local factions have reportedly long opposed the reservation project over fears that the land could eventually feature a casino. As such, 2015 saw the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians court support by signing a deal that saw it agree not to operate a gambling facility anywhere within Sonoma County for at least 22 years.
Federal legislation pending:
The Press Democrat reported that the federal legislation necessary for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians to realize its land-into-trust vision has already been ratified by the United States House of Representatives and is now scheduled to be put to a vote before the United States Senate.
Being supported by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, this legislation would purportedly protect and recognize ‘the validity’ of Sonoma County’s previous deal with the tribe and prevent any challenges from the United States Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Casino ban extended in perpetuity:
The newspaper reported that the latest agreement between the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians and Sonoma County extends the 2015 deal in perpetuity in exchange for assurances from county supervisors that they will join with their municipal counterparts from Windsor in agreeing not to oppose the tribe’s land-into-trust application.
Deal ‘works for the tribe’:
Larry Stidham, an attorney working on behalf of the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, told The Press Democrat that the latest deal represents ‘a good agreement’ that ‘works for the county’ and ‘works for the tribe.’
He moreover declared that the arrangement is a ‘plus’ for casino opponents as its will instigate ‘a permanent gaming ban in Sonoma County.’