POINT ARENA, Calif., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians announced its opposition today to the Point Molate casino project, a plan to build an Indian gaming facility in the heart of the urban San Francisco Bay Area.
The Point Molate project calls for a lavish $1 billion gaming facility that will be owned by the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians. The land slated for development in Contra Costa County is 120 miles from the Tribe's ancestral homelands and their existing tribal trust lands in Mendocino County.
"The Tribe's non-Indian developers clearly see dollar signs at Point Molate," said Manchester Point Arena Band's Chairman, Nelson Pinola. "We Pomo people know very well that Contra Costa County is not within our aboriginal territory. It has always been the home of the Miwok, Ohlone and other native peoples, while the lands of our Pomo people have always been in the areas now called Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties."
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act prohibits gaming on land taken into trust by the United States government for a tribe after 1988 unless the tribe meets one of the exceptions to that rule, which so far has been rare. In the case of Point Molate, the Guidiville Band is trying to use the "restored lands exception." Federal regulations say that in order for a tribe to qualify for that exception, it must have a "significant historical connection" to the land in question.
"Guidiville has no historical or cultural connection whatsoever to Point Molate, and it must not be allowed to proceed with its casino plans there," Pinola said. "If Guidiville is allowed to proceed, and build a casino in an urban San Francisco community, others are sure to follow – Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego – in any location that seems profitable.
"The Point Molate project would seriously undermine the sovereignty that all tribes have struggled to keep and to enhance."
SOURCE Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians