North Fork Rancheria blames rival tribes for holding up compact

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

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians is banking on voters in California to approve Proposition 48 at the polls next month.

The tribe won state and federal approval to open an off-reservation casino in Madera County. That normally would be the end of the story but rival tribes were able to secure enough signatures to put the Class III gaming compact to a statewide vote.

"This delay is punishing our tribe, and increasing the money we have to spend in attorney's fees, and eventually in increased construction costs," Vice Chair Maryann McGovran told The Fresno Bee. "It's so hurtful to have other Native Americans fighting against us, all because of casino competition."

The Table Mountain Rancheria, the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians and the United Auburn Indian Community are leading the campaign against the new casino. The three tribes and their backers have spent nearly $16 million to convince voters to reject the compact.

But even if Proposition 48 goes down at the polls, the North Fork Rancheria still plans to use the 305-acre site, which is already in trust, for a casino. The tribe could offer Class II games or try to gain approval for Class III gaming procedures from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"No on Prop 48 accomplishes nothing," Charles Banks-Altekruse, a spokesperson for the tribe, told the Bee. "It doesn't create jobs or change a single Indian law or regulation ... or even stop a casino from being built."

Get the Story:
Voters to decide fate of Mono casino agreement (The Sierra Star 10/22)
Madera Community Split On Proposition 48, Casino Plan (KVPR 10/21)
Proposition 48: Jackpot? (The San Francisco Weekly 10/21)
Election 2014 FAQ: Prop 48 — Indian gaming compacts (SCPR 10/21)

Some Opinions:
Editorial: Yes on Prop 48 (The Sierra Star 10/22)
Dan Walters: Prop. 48 is new episode in California’s long-running Indian saga (The Sacramento Bee 10/22)

California Court of Appeal Decision:
Picayune Rancheria v. Brown (September 24, 2014)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet: North Fork Rancheria Decision | Section 20 Determination: North Fork Rancheria

Related Stories
North Fork Rancheria won't give up off-reservation casino plan (10/21)

Join the Conversation