Oneida Nation stands by 'Wizard of Oz' theme for Class II casino

Artist's rendering of the Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango, New York. Image from Oneida Nation

The Oneida Nation of New York is sticking by its decision to build a new gaming facility based on the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The Yellow Brick Road Casino will be located in Chittenango, the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the Oz creator who called for the "extirmination" of Indian people just days after the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Ray Halbritter, the tribe's leader, doesn't have problems with the connection because Baum's descendants have apologized for the racist sentiments.

“I think that’s a wonderful message — that we’re able to overcome by repentance and by forgiveness,” Halbritter told The Washington Post. “It’s looking forward rather than backward.”

The facility, which also features a bingo hall, is due to open this spring. The tribe operates Turning Stone Resort Casino, a Class III facility, about 18 miles away.

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