A Mechoopda grave site in Chico, California. Photo: mtnbikrrrr
California | Litigation | Opinion

Sara Trechter: County wastes more than $600,000 battling Mechoopda Tribe casino

It's hard to believe but the Mechoopda Tribe has been trying to build a casino in California for more than 15 years. After spending more than $600,000 on litigation, officials in Butte County continue to fight, with professor Sara Trechter of Friends of the Mechoopda calling for an end to the war:
Why has Butte County wasted over $600,000 in court costs fighting the federally granted right for the Mechoopda to develop a casino on the tribe’s land over the last 10 years? Why does the Board of Supervisors continue to squander taxpayer resources on a legal dead end? And what can we as a community do about it?

Despite community opposition (including editorials in the local press opposing the board’s actions and supporting the Mechoopda’s rights) and losing another legal battle last summer in federal court, the county filed a new appeal in January without holding a public forum. Such an insulting move also demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the historical place of the Mechoopda in our community.

The Mechoopda tribe is both a sovereign nation recognized by the U.S. government and integral to Butte County. Its right to self-determination is guaranteed by federal law. The Mechoopda have obtained all the required permits to build a casino and develop 91 acres out of a 625-acre parcel. If the county’s appeal succeeds, it thwarts the Mechoopda’s economic development plans to provide funding for education, healthcare and eldercare from casino revenues.

Read More on the Story:
Sara Trechter: Waste of money, insult to tribe (The Chico News-Review August 10, 2017)

Also Today:
Chico parcel only bit of former rancheria that a Mechoopda member was able to keep (The Chico Enterprise-Record August 4, 2017)

District Court Decision:
Butte County v. Chaudhuri (July 15, 2016)

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Butte County v. Hogen (July 13, 2010)

Federal Register Notice:
Land Acquisitions; Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria of California (February 27, 2014)

National Indian Gaming Commission Indian Lands Opinions:
January 24, 2014 | March 14, 2003

Related Stories:
Mechoopda Tribe offers olive branch on casino but county refuses (August 3, 2016)
Mechoopda Tribe aims to work with county on delayed casino (July 21, 2016)
Mechoopda Tribe wins decision in long-running casino litigation (July 18, 2016)