Openings & Closings

Cowlitz Tribe welcomes big crowd to $510M casino in Washington

Live as we open the doors to ilani!

Posted by ilani on Monday, April 24, 2017

ilani on Facebook: 'Live as we open the doors to ilani!'

It took more than a decade but the Cowlitz Tribe finally opened the doors to its long-awaited casino in Washington.

The ilani Casino Resort was filled to capacity quickly after its debut on Monday, according to news reports. Traffic was backed up along a major interstate as the tribe welcomed visitors to its 152-acre reservation in Clark County.

“This is a triumphant moment for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe because it marks the end of a 160-year journey back to our homeland, and the beginning of a new journey,” Chairman Bill Iyall told The Seattle Times.

The tribe overcame numerous political, legal and regulatory hurdles in its quest for the casino. The biggest was a closely-watched land-into-trust case that questioned the status of the reservation.

But the tribe kept fighting and kept winning. The nation's highest court finally put the lawsuit to rest earlier this month in a major victory for Indian Country.

Read More on the Story:
Let the games begin at Ilani: Casino opens to crowds (The Columbian 4/24)
Double down: Huge crowds jam ilani Casino Resort (KOIN 4/24)
Cowlitz Tribes' big casino opens, causes big I-5 traffic jam (KTVZ 4/24)
Thousands Flock To Southwest Washington Casino Opening, Clog I-5 (Oregon Public Broadcasting 4/24)
ilani Casino open to public (The Battle Ground Reflector 4/25)
Cowlitz Tribe opening $510M casino complex they hope will draw 4.5M visitors (The Seattle Times 4/24)

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon v. Jewell (July 29, 2016)

Federal Register Notices:
Cowlitz Indian Tribe Liquor Ordinance (March 23, 2017)
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (November 13, 2015)
Land Acquisitions; Cowlitz Indian Tribe (May 8, 2013)

Department of the Interior Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

Related Stories:
Cowlitz Tribe enters law enforcement deal as casino debut nears (April 19, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe announces April 24 opening for long-awaited casino (April 17, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe unveils $32M highway project as casino debut nears(April 5, 2017
Indian Country secures victory with end to long-running land case (April 3, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe thanks Secretary Zinke as casino opening approaches (April 3, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe brings even more food options to forthcoming casino (March 31, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe brings Michael Jordan's Steakhouse to new casino (March 28, 2017)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (March 22, 2017)