Cowlitz Tribe still waiting on BIA to place gaming site in trust

Artist's rendering of the proposed Cowlitz Casino Resort in Washington
Artist's rendering of the proposed Cowlitz Casino Resort. Image from Cowlitz Indian Tribe Environmental Impact Statement

The Bureau of Indian Affairs could place a gaming site in trust for the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington as soon as next week, a local attorney said.

Last October, the BIA filed a notice in federal court that said the 152-acre would be placed in trust as soon as January. That date has passed but the attorney for the city of La Center believes action will occur soon, The Battle Ground Reflector reported.

The tribe has been pushing for the Cowlitz Casino Resort for more than a decade. Opponents -- including the the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon -- hope to derail the casino by bringing up the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The ruling restricts the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934. The Cowlitz didn't gain federal recognition until 2000 but the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted a two-part test to determine whether the tribe qualified.

On December 12, Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein issued a 57-page decision that upheld the BIA's analysis. Opponents, however, are taking the case to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Get the Story:
La Center amends comp plan, revamps language concerning Cowlitz Tribe (The Battle Ground Reflector 3/4)

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