In northern Minnesota, the federally-recognized White Earth Band of Ojibwe has reportedly abandoned a plan that would have seen it spend approximately $130 million in order to build a casino near the small community of Dent.
Plan for a third tribal casino:
According to a Monday report from the Grand Forks Herald newspaper, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe is already responsible for Shooting Star Casino-branded gambling venues in the Minnesota towns of Mahnomen and Bagley and unveiled a proposal in 2015 that would have seen it construct the Shooting Star Casino Star Lake on 14.7 acres of tribal land in nearby Otter Tail County.
Proposal faced opposition:
However, the plan had immediately come under fire from local residents due to environmental and quality-of-life concerns while several tribal members had even reportedly voiced their unease at the financial implications of such a large project, which was to encompass a 180-room hotel alongside a casino with some 850 slots.
Tribal elections prove decisive:
This situation reportedly came to a head in June when casino critics, Leonard ‘Alan’ Roy and Raymond Auginaush, won seats on the White Earth Band of Ojibwe’s tribal council and immediately embarked efforts to defund the envisioned project.
These endeavors appear to have proved fruitful as the tribe used an official Friday press release (pdf) to declare that the Shooting Star Casino Star Lake project had been unanimously rescinded.
The White Earth Band of Ojibwe’s statement read…
“The White Earth Reservation Business Committee held a special meeting on Friday, August 31. During this meeting, members voted to rescind Resolution 001-16-004 by a unanimous vote of four to zero. This resolution had given tribal leadership the ability to pursue economic endeavors on Minnesota Chippewa Tribe trust land near Dent, Minnesota.”
Roy hails tribal ‘heroes’:
The newspaper reported that Roy used a subsequent Facebook post to call tribal members who had opposed the Shooting Star Casino Star Lake development ‘heroes’ before explaining that he would now seek ways to recoup the estimated $7 million that had been ‘wasted’ on expenses such as land acquisition, wetlands credits and planning and environmental fees.
Roy’s post reportedly read…
“This outcome proved that a handful of tribal members could stop a $130 million gaming machine. Tribal members banded together to advance the common good. Recuperating the resources wasted on this project will be a project in itself.”