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Amador County Fights Proposed Casino

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November 26, 2007

AMADOR COUNTY - The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians want to build a new casino and hotel about 40 miles southeast of Sacramento. The casino will be located on Coal Mine Road near Highway 88 and will feature 2,000 slot machines and 80 gaming tables.

In 1985 the U.S Department of the interior granted federal recognition to the tribe, and in 2004 it approved a state compact with the tribe. In 2005 the National Indian Gaming Commission approved the reservation for a casino. It found that tribal members had lived at the proposed casino site since 1905.

However, Amador County is fighting the tribe in federal court to block construction of the casino. The county has filed new charges in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington DC challenging the tribes historical ties to the proposed site and challenging its tribal status. It claims the Buena Vista Rancheria property was never an Indian reservation and the Buena Vista Rancheria band was never a tribe on that land.

The original case began 18 months ago and a decision is pending on a recent motion by the Interior Department for dismissal. The judge will now have to decide whether or not consider the new claims filed by the County. If the case is dismissed, the County will file a new lawsuit against construction of the casino.

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