In northern California and the Ione Band of Miwok Indians may soon be allowed to open a tribal casino after reportedly prevailing in its 15-year struggle to get 220 acres of land near the small city of Plymouth placed into trust.
According to a Monday report from The Sacramento Bee newspaper, last week’s land-into-trust grant by the Bureau of Indian Affairs means that the federally-recognized tribe is now free to commence negotiations with the state regarding its plan to bring a casino to the Amador County plot it purchased in 2012.
The newspaper reported that the casino proposal from the Ione Band of Miwok Indians had been facing concerted resistance from numerous local residents and officials since 2004. These opponents purportedly argued that the immediate vicinity already features two such venues in the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort and Harrah’s Northern California and that another would likely bring even more unwanted traffic to the community of just over 1,000 people.
The Sacramento Bee reported that area voters recalled a trio of Plymouth officials in 2004 over their support for the casino plan while Amador County even went so far as to file a federal lawsuit over claims that the tribe had no historical ties to the area. However, a 2015 ruling in the matter purportedly found that the Ione Band of Miwok Indians was ‘a recognized Indian tribe under federal jurisdiction in 1934’ and that there existed no legal justification for invalidating the 2012 land acquisition.
Sara Dutschke, Chairperson for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, reportedly told the newspaper that her tribe has ‘waited a very long time for this’ as its 750 members can trace their ancestry in what later became Amador County back many generations.
Dutschke reportedly told The Sacramento Bee…
“For the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, this isn’t just about the development of a gaming operation, this is really about restoring the land base we can use to support our members in the future.”
Dutschke reportedly moreover told the newspaper that her tribe now intends to start speaking with California officials regarding a gaming compact although the ongoing coronavirus outbreak ‘has thrown a wrench into our plans’ and made it increasingly hard to predict when such talks may start.