On the Pamunkey Reservation in Virginia. Photo: Will Parson / Chesapeake Bay Program

Pamunkey Tribe announces plans for $700 million gaming facility

The Pamunkey Tribe wants to join the Indian gaming industry.

The tribe envisions a $700 million resort in Virginia, The Newport News Daily Press reports. The project could create between 3,000 to 5,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs, Chief Robert Gray told the paper.

“We want partnership,” Gray told the paper. “We’re simply business people trying to figure this out, as an Indian tribe that wants to do its best for our people and for the commonwealth.”

The tribe has a reservation about an hour east of Richmond, the state capital. But Gray said his people would seek land elsewhere for the casino.

Acquiring land would be a huge hurdle for the tribe, whose federal recognition was affirmed through the Bureau of Indian Affairs process. The major issue is the U.S. Supreme Court decision Carcieri v. Salazar.

According to the ruling, the BIA can place land in trust only for tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. The Pamunkeys didn't complete the acknowledgment process until 2016, long after that date.

Since the 2009 decision, opponents have filed legal challenges to tribes seeking land for new casinos. While the lawsuits aren't always successful, they have resulted in slowing down projects considerably.

The Cowlitz Tribe, for example, had to go through the land-into-trust process twice in response to a Carcieri challenge. Some 17 years elapsed between federal recognition in 2000 and the debut of ilani in Washington last year.

Others in the post-Carcieri remain in limbo. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is also going through the land-into-trust review a second time -- it's been more than 10 years since federal acknowledgment in 2007.

Read More on the Story:
Pamunkey Indian Tribe planning $700 million resort, gaming facility (The Newport News Daily Press March 15, 2018)

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