North Fork Rancheria saddened by rival tribe's anti-casino efforts

The North Fork Rancheria plans to build a casino at this site along Rd 23 near Madera, California. Image from Google Maps

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians has spent more than a decade securing federal and state approvals for an off-reservation casino in California.

Victory seemed to be at hand when Gov. Jerry Brown (D) approved the project and the California Legislature ratified the tribe's Class III gaming compact. But the casino has effectively been grounded by the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, whose leaders have spent millions of dollars on litigation and public relations campaigns against the new development.

The efforts are all the more puzzling because the Chukchansis have gone through significant internal and external battles that resulted in the 14-month closure of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. The tribe also has spent much of the last decade removing hundreds of people from the rolls.

"It’s sad for Indian Country to watch all the trials and tribulations Chukchansi has gone through over the last few years,” North Fork Rancheria Maryanna McGovran told The Sierra Star. “They are North Fork’s relatives and it’s sad to think that in the end, all of that tribal money will be wasted when it could have been better spent fulfilling the true promise of Indian gaming ... helping Indian people and building strong tribes and communities.”

Despite the rival efforts, the North Fork Rancheria continues to see success by sticking to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved Class III gaming procedures for the tribe last week, marking only the second time that's happened in California.

The tribe plans to build a casino on a 305-acre site in Madera County. The project has local support.

More on the Story:
Mono tribe gets approval (The Sierra Star 8/3)

Class III Gaming Procedures:
Bureau of Indian Affairs Letter | Secretarial Procedures | Mediator's Compact

Tribal Leader Opinions on H.R.5079, the California Compact Protection Act:
Maryann McGovran: Don't be fooled by efforts of 'wealthy' tribes (5/13)
Claudia Gonzales: Off-reservation gaming fuels attacks on tribes (5/13)

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

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming (October 22, 2013)
Land Acquisitions; North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

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