Five U.S. senators, including Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, are calling for more scrutiny of granting Indian tribes non-reservation land that could be turned into gaming sites.
That would include the proposal to build a mega-casino on Point Molate in Richmond, where a former Navy site would be granted to the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians.
The senators, a group that also includes John Kyl of Arizona and Harry Reid and John Ensign of Nevada, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that called transferring lands for gaming “an abuse of the land into trust process" that "violates the spirit of the (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act).”
The letter says casinos are springing up on land that could be used for schools or housing without taking into consideration the needs and concerns of local communities.
In the case of the Point Molate proposal, the tribe, which is part of the Guidiville Rancheria Tribe, does not have a reservation and can request to have land deeded as such by the federal government.
To make the casino happen, the land will be transferred from the city of Richmond to the developers to the federal government, which will put it in trust for the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians. That means the tribe has control of the land, but the federal government would own it.