Jeff Koble, a former member of the Darrington School Board in Darrington, Washington, can be seen on the far left with other school board colleagues. Photo:Darrington School District

'Drunk Indians and government handouts casino': School board member insults tribe

A public school board member in a small community in Washington resigned after making a derogatory comment about the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe and its forthcoming casino.

Jeff Koble quit the Darrington School Board after his comments about the tribe and the Last Chance Casino and Bingo came to light. The facility is due to open in September.

“On the Indian Casino how about calling it Drunk Indians and government handouts casino,” Koble wrote on social media, The Daily Herald reported. He then said he "made a mistake in sending this out,” the paper reported.

In a post on Facebook, Superintendent Buck Marsh said he found out about the "offensive remarks" on the afternoon of June 15. Koble resigned later in the day.

"The views expressed by this individual DO NOT represent the views of the Darrington School Board or of the Darrington School District," Marsh wrote in the post.

Koble had just joined the school board in January, The Daily Herald reported at the time. He was appointed to a vacant seat and wanted to run the district more like a business, the paper said.

This afternoon, I was saddened to discover offensive remarks on social media that were made by a member of our school...

Posted by Darrington School District on Friday, June 15, 2018

The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe already runs one business in the community and is continuing its efforts with the new casino. Contrary to Koble's portrayal of the project, no "government handouts" are being used for it.

Instead, the facility is being developed in partnership with the Willapa Bay Enterprise Corporation, the economic development arm of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe.

"Sovereign nation helping sovereign nation; it's just the right thing to do," Johnny Winokur, the chief executive officer of Willapa Bay, said in a press release.

The Herald covered the casino in a story posted early in the morning on June 15. Koble made his derogatory comments that day, apparently through a Facebook messenger post to another user.

The town of Darrington is small -- about 1,400 people live there -- but Native Americans represent nearly 4 percent of the student body in the Darrington School District, according to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Sauk-Suiattle Reservation, where the casino is being built, is a few miles north of Darrington.

“I’m very glad that we have history going in with the casino. The entire tribe is excited about it; it’s going to be a combination of art and culture,” Nino Maltos, the general manager of Last Chance, told The Everett Post.

Read More on the Story:
School board member quits after making slur against tribe (The Everett Herlad June 26, 2018)
Last Chance Casino: Balancing Commerce and Culture (The Everett Post June 27, 2018)

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