From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Tribal Casino Reservation Shopping Hurting America

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net  
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Tribal Casino Reservation Shopping Hurting America

For National Release – 40,000 recipients.

American Land Rights has decided to get into the Indian Casino issue.

Networking has begun with dozens of existing groups around the country who are concerned with Indian Gaming and the mass expansion of tribal casinos.

The Stop Tribal Casino Coalition has been started to stop a casino land grab in the Ridgefield, Washington area.  

We don’t want to step on the toes of any existing group and will work with others going in the same general direction.

Your help is needed.

What is Reservation Shopping?  

It is where a tribe decides to buy a piece of land for some purpose having little or nothing to do with their heritage.

Recently tribes have begun shopping for reservation land close to freeways and off ramps with an eye to setting up massive casino operations.

If you are concerned about the runaway reservation shopping, the conversion of fee land to tax exempt tribal reservation land (fee to trust), unfair competition, abuse and intimidation by certain Indian tribes, then we want to hear from you.

We want to know about those on our e-mail list who have concerns about the Indian Casino issue.  We want to hear from you, whether you agree with us or not.

In a local case, the Cowlitz Tribe has decided to convert 160 acres of farmland in the middle of a farmland area into a giant Casino.  The first phase will be a	n eight story casino in an area where there isn’t a two story business for miles.

This is a rural area where people live, farm and enjoy their families.

The Cowlitz have no connection to this land.  They just want it because it is close to Portland, so it has suddenly become sacred.  Because it is close to a freeway and an off ramp, it has amazingly taken on sacred characteristics.  This is an abuse of the system.  

If they are successful, the land will be removed from the tax rolls and the Cowlitz Tribe can do anything they want regardless of the impact on their neighbors or local land use laws.  In fairness, the Cowlitz are seeking to make deals with local jurisdictions in order to cut down on the opposition.  But once the cancer invades the area, it will spread as it has in so many other areas.

We’re not crazy about some of the land use laws locally, but to be fair, everyone should have to play by the same rules.  That is not what will happen here.  There will be a new special class of citizen in Clark County and America that can do pretty much what they want.

A lot of people don’t know that the two largest casinos in the world are in little communities in Connecticut and are only seven miles apart.  They have dramatically changed those communities in just the past few years.  

Many local businesses and landowners have been negatively impacted.

Action Items:

-----1.  Send us a reply with your contact information and that you are interested in the Indian Casino issue.   Respond to ccushman@landrights.org

-----2.  If you have a mailing list for people who are concerned with Indian Gaming, please add us to it.  

-----3.  Send us copies of any news articles and any other material you may have.

-----4.  Write a letter to your Congressman and Senators expressing your concern about this massive expansion of tribal casinos.  Try to keep your letter to one page.  They’re less likely to read it if it is longer.

Senators:  Honorable ________, US Senate, Washington, DC 20510
You may call them at (202) 224-3121.  It is better to call them and send your letter by fax because of the Anthrax delays.

Representatives:  Honorable _______, US House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.  You may call them at (202) 225-3121.

-----5.  Write a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton expressing your concern.
Phone:  (202) 208-3100.  E-mail:  webteam@ios.doi.gov.  Fax:  (202) 208-6956 or (202) 208-5048.  

-----6.  Call your bookstore or go on the web to get  “Without Reservation” by Jeff Benedict.  This is the story about how a very small Indian group with dubious tribal connections in Connecticut developed their casino into the worlds largest casino operation.  They started small and just kept expanding and expanding.  This is the pattern with tribal casinos.  Ask your city, county and other local officials to get a copy of this book.

-----7. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29th and 30th.  Western Governors Association, Executive Summit on Indian Gaming.  Denver, Colorado. If you are interested in this issue, you should go.  Or get someone in your group to go.  Call (303) 534-7309 or dkinsley@westgov.org  or go to http://www.westgov.org/wga/meetings/gaming.htm

Issue summary and background:


In a local example of a national problem, the Cowlitz Tribe has decided to build a HUGE casino operation in Ridgefield, Washington, despite objections by many in the community in Clark and Cowlitz Counties.   They want to make it their reservation.  

The Cowlitz Tribe has no historical connection to the land in question.  They just want to build a tremendous gambling operation.  It appears they have time after time understated their intentions until pressed for the full picture.  No one is sure of the ultimate future size of this monster complex.  Eight stories plus is just the start.

The Tribal Casino will make Clark County similar to parts of Seattle.    It will hurt many local businesses and do great damage to the socio-economic structure and culture of the local area.   Monster traffic jams will be the result with a change in the quality of life so large that many people will be forced to relocate. 

Satellite businesses will be added around the casino, some of which would not be acceptable in neighborhoods where there are children.  The schools will be devastated.   There will not be enough housing or infrastructure to deal with the massive number of employees, a good many of which are likely to be from other areas.   

Employees will mostly have to live and buy their living necessities outside the area or force prices up by competing for existing housing.   In either case, the demographics of Clark County, Washington will dramatically change.  The environmental impacts will be substantial. 

Some say this is a property rights issue and the tribe ought to be able to do what they want with their land.  What about the property rights of their neighbors and small communities in the area?  

There is arrogance about what the Cowlitz Tribe is planning.  They seem to be intimidating local elected officials and have tried to give the impression they have so much money, there is no use fighting them.  Some believe that.  It’s not true.  

But they appear to be bullying local officials and running roughshod over local concerns.

They have partnered up with the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut which is one of the two largest casinos in the world.  They do have money to throw around and threaten people with.  It appears the casino would actually be run by the tribe from Connecticut so local concerns will likely go out the window.

This is a battle that will be fought out in Clark County or your local area but it will be won or lost at the Interior Department and the Bush Administration in Washington DC.  The Interior Department must decide whether or not to allow the Cowlitz and many other tribes to change land they buy from fee to Tribal Trust Reservation land.  That means non taxable and no local government control.

That is where you can help.


The Cowlitz Tribe and other tribes can be stopped.   The key is to build a strong networking and coalition process in which you get involved if you care about the quality of life in Clark County and nationally.  

Local areas need to network together.  Individually we don’t have much power, but by teaming up, we can change anything.  Businesses and neighborhoods need to band together.  You should join one of the number of existing coalitions like Stand Up For Clark County Citizens, One Nation United, Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) or other groups as well as support Stop Tribal Casino Coalition and American Land Rights Association.  I helped form the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) in the early 80’s.

In a future e-mail newsletter we’ll publish the names, e-mail addresses and publications of other groups and resources for you to connect up with.  A number of websites are printed below.

The ticket to success is to focus our combined efforts on the Interior Department and the Bush Administration.  The Cowlitz Tribe and their big investors suggest their win is a foregone conclusion.  It’s not.  This is just an example of partnerships between huge Casinos and small tribes that is being used to expand casinos across America.   It is a way for tribal casinos to place casinos almost anywhere they want.

This is a political decision.   The Bush Administration and Congress would like to bring a Republican back to Clark County.  The same for the Senate from Washington State.  They need to see that approving the Cowlitz Tribal Casino is a liability to their long-term goals.  With enough of an uprising here, you can make that happen.

They need to see that supporting the tribes across the country against local communities is building to a backlash.

The Cowlitz Tribe will likely accuse us of being a casino front.  We’ve taken no money from casinos.  Then they’ll probably accuse us of racism.   That seems to be their normal operation. You should know that I led the successful fight to save the Osage Indian Tribe from losing their land in Oklahoma to the National Park Service in 1986.

I might add that Cowlitz Tribal Council Chairman, John Barnett, worked with us on a wetlands issue in Clark County in the early nineties and has been a member of American Land Rights.  We worked with a local group called the Washington Private Property Coalition.  

There are many people nationally who are concerned about the abuse of Indian reservations as a tool to ignore local land use laws.  The tribes seem to have the feeling that we all owe them this.  I’m sure we owe them something.  Is damaging or destroying our lifestyle and the future of our families proper payment?

National Networking List.

Here are just a few contacts.  As other groups contact us, we add more.

http://www.onenationok.com  These two organizations have merged to become One Nation United.  Their website is under construction and will be available at 

http://www.citizensalliance.org  (Citizens Equal Rights Alliance)

www.nocasinoinplymouth.org  (Plymouth, California)

www.speakupcitizens.com  (Clark County, Washington)

www.landrights.org  (American Land Rights Association)

Please forward this message as widely as possible.


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