A pitted gravel road snakes through the forest to the Enterprise Rancheria of the Maidu Indians’ sole piece of tribal land about 15 miles east of here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Broken trailers and a hot tub rejiggered to irrigate a garden sit in a clearing, the few acres of flat land where a handful of people live in houses in disrepair.
To pull itself out of poverty, the tribe applied in 2002 to build an off-reservation casino at a spot with more economic potential, near towns and highways about 35 miles south of here. After the federal government gave its approval last year, the final decision now rests with Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to decide on the fate of the Enterprise casino and another tribe’s off-reservation proposal by an Aug. 31 deadline.
But plans for the two casinos are drawing fierce opposition and last-minute lobbying in the state capital from an unexpected source: nearby tribes with casinos that they say will be hurt by the newcomers. Leading the fight against Enterprise is the United Auburn Indian Community, whose casino, Thunder Valley, has become one of America’s most profitable and has brought the formerly destitute tribe unimaginable riches.
ENTERPRISE SHOULD NOT RECEIVE CASINO GAMING
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