Koi Nation plans to build a $600 million casino and resort in California

The casino will include a hotel, spa, restaurants and more

On Wednesday, the Koi people, who are located in Sonoma County and are federally recognized as the Southeast Pomo Nation, announced that they would exercise their federal sovereign rights to purchase land north of Santa Rosa for $12.3 million. County territory is unincorporated and the Koi Nation will reclaim the tribe's land base. The Shiloh Casino proposal will include a 200-room hotel, casino floor, catering areas, spa, conference centre and six restaurants. Prior to the purchase, the property was a winery located ten miles from Pomo Territory's historic land in California. The sellers were Cynthia and Randall Clifton.

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According to the tribe, Shiloh Casino and Resort will employ over 1,100 people when it is fully operational and will provide many benefits to the Sonoma community. By supporting local organizations and working with community members to determine their needs, as well as working with the federal government, Koi Nation expects that a portion of the revenue will be shared with the community, which is a fantastic move that will help make numerous contributions, as well as a new measure regarding gambling in California .

Moreover, the tribe describes the casino and resort as an economic engine that will create many jobs for construction workers and other skilled workers. Tribal chairman Darin Beltran said the Koi Nation is fighting harder to regain its sovereignty than any other tribe.

He went on to say that even with this treatment, he had managed to withstand the pressure and now it was time to take control of its destiny and realise its rights as a federally recognised Tribe.

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Koi Nation is in talks with investors and potential partners

Although Koi Nation will be the main developer of the project, the tribe is in talks with potential partners and investors, according to a spokesperson. The design of the project has been provided by Dale Partners.

The spokesperson also added that the tribe has already applied for the transfer of the purchased land to the federal fund, which will give it the right to gamble under the Federal Gambling Regulation Act of India (1988). Then the next step will be an environmental review and a period during which the public can comment. This step will begin in the next 60-90 days.

Speaking about the casino and its services, the representative also noted that the tribe has great respect for Sonoma County and is currently negotiating with the County Board of Supervisors as well as other communities and elected members because they want to have a healthy relationship.

Tribes continue to seek redress

According to the National Congress of American Indians, when the Indian Reorganisation Act of 1934 was passed, 80% of the 90 million acres of land in the US that had been taken from the tribes without any compensation was reacquired in trust. The purpose of said act was to stop the sale of reservation lands and to reserve them. The National Congress of American Indians was created to support land restoration.

These days, many tribes do not have enough land for housing and self-government. Were it not for the latest purchase, the Koi Nation would have remained one of the Pomo Nation tribes who had no land for most of the last century and a half.

Before it was taken over in the 1870s, the Koi Nation's ancestral land was on Clear Lake Island. The tribe was then relocated to various communities on the Russian River. It was also later relocated to Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. A federal court ruling in 2019 restored the rights and recognition of the Koi Nation as a tribal entity. The right to have a sovereign land base was also included.

Beltran said that with the land and casino it plans to build, the tribe is taking steps to preserve its historical and cultural integrity and ensure a bright future for new generations. Not only that, but the success of the casino would also benefit the communities in the regions where the tribe's people have lived for many years. He concluded by saying that the Koi Nation was confident that it would receive support from the community as it seeks to realise its indigenous Indian rights and regain its independence.

Buying land is just one of the many steps that need to be taken before the resort becomes a reality. It is not a good start either, as several politicians have already expressed concern and opposition. California Senator Mike McGuire believes that "Sonoma County doesn't need another casino." Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore said he is "personally opposed to new casinos" in the county, but understands that he must "abide by the existing process."

 

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