Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians announces $700M casino

A Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians gathering in California. Photo by Scotts Valley TANF

The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians is seeking federal approval for a $700 million casino in California.

The tribe filed a land-into-trust application in August. Plans call for a 400,000 square-foot casino with a hotel at a site near the intersection of Interstate 80 and Highway 37 in Vallejo, KPIX 5 reported.

“Our goal is to have a homeland for our tribe,” Vice Chair Crista Ray told the station. “Our tribe has been landless for 150 years, minimum.”

The tribe previously sought a casino in Richmond but the Bureau of Indian Affairs rejected it in 2012. According to the agency, the tribe failed to demonstrate a connection to the site, which was about 103 miles from its headquarters.

The tribe hopes to avoid the same fate this time around. The Vallejo site is about 85 miles from its headquarters.

"You have people telling you where you’re from, who you are. And being a tribal person in California, it’s been that way for a long time and a lot of our history they we’re taught here isn’t correct," Ray told KPIX 5.

The tribe was restored to federal recognition in 1991. Typically, that means the tribe can engage in gaming on newly acquired lands under an exception in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The Section 20 regulations that were finalized by the Bush administration in 2008 require newly recognized tribes to demonstrate a modern connection, a historical connection as well as a temporal connection to a proposed gaming site. To qualify for the exception, a land-into-trust application must be submitted within 25 years of recognition.

The Scotts Valley Band appears to be quickly running up against that deadline -- 2016 marks the 25th year since restoration.

Read More on the Story:
Vallejo Leaders Surprised By Plans For Large Tribal Casino (KPIX 5 10/17)
Tribe seeks to build casino in Vallejo (The Vallejo Times-Herald 10/13)

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