BIA formally declares reservation for Cowlitz Tribe casino

The Cowlitz Tribe finally has a place to call home. A sign was installed along Interstate 5 in Washington on July 20, 2015, to mark the reservation. Photo from Facebook

The Cowlitz Tribe of Washington is still planning to break ground on its long-awaited casino early next year, Chairman Bill Iyall said.

The tribe announced plans for the Cowlitz Casino and Entertainment Resort more than a decade ago. But administrative appeals and litigation have delayed construction of the $510 million facility.

A key hurdle was cleared in March when the Bureau of Indian Affairs placed the 156-acre gaming site in trust. The decision confirmed that the tribe was "under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934, an issue raised by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

Now there's another milestone to celebrate. The BIA formally issued a reservation proclamation for the site on Friday, The Longview Daily News reported.

“It’s phenomenal because it is the final action and it adds a whole lot of assurances going forward,” Iyall told the paper.

The proclamation is the only the second that the BIA has issued for a recently-recognized tribe in the post-Carcieri era. The other is for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts.

Get the Story:
Land formally recognized as reservation for Cowlitz Tribe (The Longview Daily News 11/8)

Federal Register Notice:
Land Acquisitions; Cowlitz Indian Tribe (May 8, 2013)

DOI Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

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