On August 31, 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown officially concurred with the September 1, 2011 U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (DOI/BIA) favorable “two-part” determination on the North Fork Rancheria proposed gaming project in Madera County. Governor Brown’s concurrence allows our Tribe to move forward with its federal application to acquire new Indian trust land for gaming.
The Governor also announced the signing of two amended tribal-state gaming compacts with the North Fork Rancheria and the Wiyot Tribe of Humboldt County. The revised compacts update agreements originally signed by the tribes and former Governor Schwarzenegger in March 2008 that directly linked the interests of North Fork's 1,900 citizens and the Wiyot’s 800 members. Taken together, these new compacts will benefit one of the largest populations of tribal citizens ever impacted under California’s state-tribal gaming agreements.
The compacts must still be ratified by the State Legislature and reviewed and approved by the federal government. Additional information is available on the Governor’s web site at www.gov.ca.gov and on this home page (see Downloads, News Releases, and Recent Coverage items).
On September 2, 2011, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Mr. Larry Echo Hawk, issued a favorable two-part determination on the North Fork Rancheria’s proposed gaming project. Specifically, the Assistant Secretary determined that gaming on the proposed site would be in the best interest of the Tribe and not detrimental to the surrounding community.
The decision is an important step in the rigorous federal process to take land into trust for purposes of tribal-government gaming but not the final step before we can begin construction. Several important steps remain, most notably Governor Brown must concur with this decision. Following that, the DOI/BIA would be in a position to move forward with the final administrative steps in the process by issuing a Final EIS Record of Decision (“ROD”) and notice of determination to take land into trust.
The Tribe is delighted with this favorable decision and eager to complete the remaining approval steps. This announcement is important because it reaffirms both the positive economic impacts of the project to the local community and the Tribe as well as the Tribe’s historical connection to the proposed gaming site. Significantly, the announcement also signals the Department of Interiors intent to take the land into trust pursuant to the Governor's concurrence of the two-part decision.
This decision moves us one step closer to our goal of bringing jobs, business opportunity, and economic growth to Madera - and to the nearly 1,900 tribal citizens of the North Fork Rancheria. Our Tribe looks forward to continuing our work with local and state leaders in a collaborative, respectful and transparent manner that respects both tribal sovereignty and the spirit and letter of the law.
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