Supreme Court ruling hurts La Center casino project
March 11, 2009
LA CENTER, WA - Last week’s Supreme court ruling will affect the hopes of the
Cowlitz Tribe to build a casino complex near La Center, Washington.
The court found the federal government does not have the authority to transfer
tribal lands into trust if the tribe was not recognized in 1934 per the Indian
Reorganization Act enacted that year.
The Cowlitz were federally recognized in 2000. They are a landless tribe that
has applied to the U.S. Department of Interior to transfer 152 into trust for a
reservation and a $510 million mega casino. Their application is pending with
the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Philip Harju, vice chairman of the Cowlitz Tribe, made a preliminary comment
”We've just received the decision and have not fully digested it.
… (but) we're confident it's going to happen.”
The Cowlitz are partnering with the Mohegan Tribe of Wisconsin on the project.
The Mohegans were recognized in 1934 an will develop and manage the casino for
the first seven years.
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