California | Casino Stalker | Land Acquisitions

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe wants land swap for off-reservation casino




The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe is based in Death Valley in California. Photo: Kristi Cole-Smith‎

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe appears to the beneficiary of yet another last-minute Obama administration action.

According to The Ridgecrest Daily Independent, the tribe entered into some sort of agreement with the Interior Department for a land swap. The land would then be used for an off-reservation casino.

Details, though, are scarce. City council members in Ridgecrest, where the casino has been controversial, discussed the idea at a public meeting on Wednesday but their materials did not include a copy of a letter in which Chairman George Gholson outlined the proposed swap.

The letter, though, was dated January 23, The Independent reported, indicating that the tribe signed the agreement before the end of the Obama administration on January 20.

If the new Trump administration goes ahead with the swap, the tribe might not have be required to follow the land-into-trust process, according to the paper's account of the public meeting on Wednesday.

The tribe's reservation is based in Death Valley National Park, about 122 miles from Ridgecrest. But development options are extremely limited there due to restrictions in federal law.

The Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act anticipates that the tribe might look elsewhere for land. A provision requires the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work with the tribe on selecting a "parcel mutually agreed upon" that can be placed into trust.

Read More on the Story:
Casino land swap plans revealed: Change in environmental process leads to questions from council (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 2/3)
Martin on casino land swap plans: 'Smoke and mirrors and attorneys' (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 2/3)

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