City of Ridgecrest on YouTube: City Council Meeting - 08/15/2018 [Timbisha Shoshone Tribe Discussion Starts Around 2:15:51]

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe wins approval for update to casino agreement

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe won approval for an updated casino agreement but not after some heated discussion at a city council meeting in Ridgecrest, California.

The council voted 3-2 on Wednesday evening to approve the changes, which include a prohibition on commercial cannabis development on any lands placed in trust for the tribe. Chairman George Gholson noted that the changes were made at the request of concerned residents.

“This is what you guys asked for, if I remember right,” Gholson said at the meeting, The Ridgecrest Daily Independent reported. “We did what you asked. I would expect that you would support what you asked for.”

Despite the narrow approval, the tribe still has a long way to go for the proposed casino. A land-into-trust application for the 26.5-acre site has been pending at the Bureau of Indian Affairs for more than two years with no answer in sight.

According to the tribe, the BIA is required to place the land in trust under the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act. But a senior Trump administration has refused to commit to following that process, The Daily Independent previously reported.

The tribe also was told that any management contract for the casino has to be cleared by the National Indian Gaming Commission, as required by federal law, the paper reported. That means an rigorous environmental analysis that the tribe hoped to avoid with a mandatory land-into-trust application would have to be conducted anyway.

The tribe has a reservation in Death Valley National Park in California but has to look elsewhere for economic opportunities due to restrictions on development within the park, a federal facility. The mandatory land acquisitions provisions were included in the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act as a result.

The location of the proposed casino in the city of Ridgecrest is more than 130 miles from tribal headquarters in Death Valley.

Read More on the Story
Ridgecrest City Council passes casino municipal services agreement amendment 3-2 (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent August 17, 2018)
Council to discuss casino MSA amendment Wednesday (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent August 11, 2018)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe faces hurdles in Washington for casino bid (April 11, 2018)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe faces attack from anti-Indian gaming group (March 7, 2018)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe refutes rumors of marijuana at casino (February 12, 2018)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe anticipates uphill battle with Trump team over casino (October 23, 2017)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe hints at news regarding gaming project (March 31, 2017)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe wants land swap for off-reservation casino (February 3, 2017)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe secures approval to buy land for casino (September 8, 2016)