Scotts Valley Band envisions casino as part of new homeland

A Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians gathering in California. Photo by Scotts Valley TANF The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians is hoping to restore its homeland and build a casino on ancestral territory in California.

The tribe purchased 128 acres in Vallejo in March, The Vallejo Times-Herald reported. The property is located in an area that was promised in a treaty that was never ratified, Chairman Gabriel Ray wrote in an op/ed for the paper.

“It was because the United States dishonored its commitment in the treaty to provide a reservation that our people were left scattered and homeless,” Ray wrote of an agreement that was kept hidden from the public. “In short, we are looking to reestablish a home for our people and we intend to do so as productive partners with our neighbors and our community."

The tribe submitted a land-into-trust application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the site. In addition to a casino, Ray said the property will be used for headquarters, housing and other development.

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:
Pomos seek to create long-needed homeland, casino, in Vallejo (The Vallejo Times-Herald 10/27)

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