The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has fought long and hard in an effort to secure a reservation for the  tribe which was officially recognized in 2000. The tribe’s efforts finally paid off when the Bureau of Indian Affairs signed all the required documents that will now give the tribe its first reservation.

A 152 acre property in Clark County Washington has been successfully acquired by the U.S. secretary of the interior and handed over to the tribe. The tribe confirms that they will construct a casino on the reservation that is expected to be around 134,000-square-feet near the Interstate 5 west of La Center. The tribe also proposes to construct a 250 room hotel along with retail shops and restaurants.

The casino and hotel project is expected to take around 24 months to complete and will create over 3,000 construction jobs for the local population. The casino will also provide employment to members of the tribe and help boost tribal economy.

There have been a few appeals filed against the tribe and until those appeals are reviewed and won by the tribe, the construction of the casino will have to be on hold. In a statement, Tribe Chairman Bill Iyall said “It is very much a historic moment for the Cowlitz people, who have been waiting 160 years for the return of part of their homeland.

Iyall stated that if all the appeals were won, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe would immediately begin construction and look to turn the new reservation into a “prosperous property for the Cowlitz people”.