Future Wilton Casino site from Boyd Gaming on Vimeo.
The Wilton Rancheria is celebrating after a federal judge sided with the tribe and the federal government in a homelands case.
In a final decision, Judge Trevor N. McFadden on Monday granted judgment in favor of the tribe and the Department of the Interior. The ruling affirmed an action by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place a 36-acre site in trust for the previously landless tribe. The site will be used for a gaming facility in Elk Grove, California.
“We are gratified by the judge’s ruling to decisively reject dishonest arguments put forth by well-funded special interest groups that have tried at every turn to stop our project,” Chairman Raymond (Chuckie) Hitchcock said in a news release.
“We will continue to move ahead with our plans to build the resort and casino, which will create thousands of jobs and represents the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars by Wilton Rancheria in the City of Elk Grove and Sacramento County," Hitchcock said.
The tribe has been without a home ever since the termination era of the 1950s. It government-to-government relationship with the United States was also in limbo until the BIA restored the tribe's federal recognition in 2009.
The tribe then began pursuing the casino. The land-into-trust process took a little over five years to complete.
Additional milestones, such as the negotiation of a Class III gaming compact and approval of a management contract for the casino, were completed last year. The tribe has said it hopes to open the facility in late 2020 or early 2021.
Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Stand Up for California! v. Department of Interior. The plaintiff is Stand Up For California!, a group that has opposed numerous tribal projects and has stalled some through litigation and political campaigns.