By Richard Chang
The Indian tribe that plans to build a casino in Elk Grove announced that the federal government has taken 36 acres that it purchased into trust for the tribe.
The action means the land is now considered sovereign tribal ground, which paves the way for the casino to be built without the approval of the City of Elk Grove or other local authorities.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning during a press conference by the Wilton Rancheria tribe at the site of a half-built mall near the Elk Grove Auto Mall off Highway 99.
"After six decades of being landless ... we now have a home," said Raymond Hitchcock, tribal chairman.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper, who represents Elk Grove, praised the project as an "economic driver" for the city.