Timbisha Shoshone Tribe casino discussed at another meeting

Young members of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe are seen in Furnace Creek within Death Valley National Park sometime in the 1930s. Photo by Burton Frasher, Sr. Neg. No. 4759, Death Valley National Park Archives

It's been about a month since news broke about a potential tribal casino in Ridgecrest, California, and the community keeps talking about it.

There's been so much talk in fact that supporters of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe are wondering when it will all end.

"Is there a time limit as to how long this discussion can go on? How many weeks in a row can we do this?" a resident said at a town hall on Wednesday that lasted five hours, The Ridgecrest Daily Independent.

There have been four meetings in four weeks on the project, the paper noted. The first one largely drew opponents -- one of them even invoked a higher power when a municipal services agreement with the tribe first came up for discussion.

“Do we want to risk the displeasure of God for $395,000 a year?” Pastor Wayne Porter said at a city council meeting last month, the paper reported at the time.

Supporters have since packed the three additional meetings in hopes of convincing their leaders to enter into the agreement. The issue is once again on the agenda for a May 18 meeting.

The tribe hopes to open a casino near the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. A land-into-trust application will be submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe has a reservation in Death Valley National Park but it has to look elsewhere for economic development due to restrictions there.

The Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act requires the BIA to place certain lands in trust but in the event a particular parcel in Nevada can't be acquired, the law says a "another parcel mutually agreed upon" by the tribe and the federal government can be placed in trust.

Additional information about the project can be found in an agenda and a supplemental agenda from last month.

Get the Story:
Lucky number? Fourth casino discussion in four weeks (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 5/13)
City staff gives project backstory (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 5/13)
And the casino debate goes on ... (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 5/7)
The values question (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 5/7)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Casino: Yes, Location: No (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent 5/6)

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