In California, the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians has agreed on an updated deal with local officials concerning its proposed $160 million off-reservation Barstow Casino And Resort.
According to a report in the Desert Dispatch, the Los Coyotes Band Of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians has been struggling for over a decade to take 23 acres of land in the small Barstow suburb of Lenwood into trust in order to build a casino. As part of the process with the Bureau Of Indian Affairs, it is required to complete a two-part determination to ensure the project is in the best interests of the tribe and the surrounding communities.
Monday night saw officials in Barstow unanimously approve the revised agreement between itself and the Los Coyotes Band Of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians concerning title exceptions and a municipal services agreement while city manager Curt Mitchell told the newspaper that the Bureau Of Indian Affairs had additionally asked the tribe to update its environmental documentation.
“They have done so,” said Mitchell. “The [Bureau Of Indian Affairs] is now reviewing everything. It doesn’t mean a decision is forthcoming. It just completes this process. Then it goes to Washington. Then it’s up to them to make a decision. Again there is no timeline for when they are required to respond.”
Mitchell explained that the new agreement was drawn up following a request from the US Department Of The Interior and specifies that the Los Coyotes Band Of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians provide infrastructure in accordance with the provisions of its municipal services agreement and municipal code.
As the site for the proposed casino, it is about 118 miles away from the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians’ reservation in San Diego County. The two-part determination has required the tribe to submit an application to the Bureau Of Indian Affairs under the Indian Reorganization Act. In addition, it has been asked to seek a determination of eligibility under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because the land being taken into trust is to be used for gambling. If the federal body approves both parts of the process, a final decision will rest with California governor Jerry Brown.
Earlier this month, a proposed off-reservation casino project near Spokane that had gone through a similar two-part determination ordeal was authorized by Washington governor Jay Inslee. The approval will see the Spokane Tribe Of Indians finally begin work on a $400 million development on 145 acres of land in the town of Airway Heights after over ten years of struggle.