Timbisha Shoshone Tribe sees warmer reception to casino bid

Supporters of a proposed casino in Ridgecrest, California, carried signs reading "I Support Jobs & Tourism #LetRCGrow" to a town hall to discuss a casino proposed by the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. Photo by Scott Leahy via Ridgecrest Timbisha Casino Working Group

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of California saw a much warmer reception to its proposed casino this week.

Opponents cited God and raised concerns about gambling addictions when the issue was brought up at a city council meeting in Ridgecrest last week. But a town hall on Wednesday brought out a larger group of advocates, as well as Chairman George Gholson, who explained why the tribe is pursuing a development more than 130 miles from its headquarters.

"We want to be part of society, we want to be productive," Gholson said at the meeting, The Ridgecrest Daily Independent reported.

Still, the issue remains controversial and the meeting itself ran for more than five hours. And the city council hasn't yet put a proposed municipal services agreement with the tribe back on its agenda, although the casino will be up for discussion at a May 4 meeting.

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe hopes to build a casino at this site along North China Lake Boulevard in Ridgecrest, California. Image from Google Maps

The tribe wants to build the casino at a site near the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. land-into-trust application will be submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe has a reservation in Death Valley National Park but it has to look elsewhere for economic development due to restrictions there. A provision in the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act envisions land being placed in trust and made eligible for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Get the Story:
Chairman explains tribe’s interest in casino (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 4/29)
Capacity crowd for casino town hall: Debate rages on (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 4/29)

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