Anti-casino group concerned about federal recognition reform

Artist's rendering of the proposed North Fork Rancheria casino. Image from North Fork Casino Environmental Impact Statement

An anti-casino group in California is worried that reforms in the federal recognition process could lead to more tribes in the state.

Stand Up for California claims the Bureau of Indian Affairs proposal to revise the Part 83 rules will lead to 34 new tribes in the state. Conceivably, all 34 could try to open casinos, but the group claims at least 22 could be on the way.

“The federal government has provided absolutely no analysis on the projected effect of these changes on our communities,” Cheryl Schmit, the group's director, said on a conference call, The Victorville Daily Press reported. “The government has given no reason to justify this drastic change to long-standing national policy.”

The group has a history of misrepresentation when it comes to gaming. At one point it claimed 40 tribes were seeking seeking off-reservation casinos in California but a review by Indianz.Com in 2006 found just a handful.

One of those proposals was for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, whose off-reservation casino took years to gain approval. Stand Up For California is now backing Proposition 48, a ballot initiative to repeal the tribe's Class III gaming compact.

Even if 34 tribes, or more, gain federal recognition, the process for opening a casino takes many steps and typically takes at least 10 years. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria gained federal recognition in 2000 and it took 13 years for the tribe to open a casino.

Elsewhere in the state, the Tejon Tribe was placed back on the list of federally recognized entities in January 2012. The tribe has yet to acquire trust land and only announced plans for a casino last month.

The Mishewal Wappo Tribe could gain federal recognition as a result of a court case, not through the BIA's process. The tribe hasn't decided whether it will pursue gaming.

Get the Story:
Group fears plan could bring more casinos (The Victorville Daily Press 7/10)
Indian gambling opponents criticize proposed change to federal tribe recognition (The Sacramento Bee 7/10)
A Casino in Napa Wine Country? (Wine Spectator 7/10)

Federal Register Notice:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (May 29, 2014)

Relevant Documents:
Proposed Rule | Press Release | Comparison Chart (comparing current rule to proposed rule) | Response to Comments on June 2013 Discussion Draft | Frequently Asked Questions

Related Stories
Comment period on BIA federal recognition closes on August 1 (05/29)

Join the Conversation