portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government | human & civil rights | indigenous issues

Cowlitz Indian Tribe and who is behind stopping the from building a Casino.

Those hiding in the background who do not want a Casino built at La Center, Washington. The Utlra neo-christain community aka the Republican Party of South Western Washington.
There is much debate going on as to who is really behind not wanting a casino built at La Center, Washington amongst tribal members. The story going out of the tribal office is that there are e-mails floating around from tribal members as being the reason for the land not moving into trust. The truth of the matter is that a State Senator and State Representatives are the one?s responsible for the land at La Center, Washington. These are Republicans that are what one would refer to as being neo-christain conservative?s of Southwest Washington. The State Senator was found to have illegally applied for and received unemployment compensation during his run for a US Congress set last year during the 2002 election cycle. He ran a book store in Vancouver, worked as a State Senator and drew unemployment at the same time. Now he is just one of many neo-christain conservatives who do not want a Casino in their back yard. When I moved up from California 2 years ago I was privileged to hear from others in Lewis County who do not want the tribe to move ahead. They were terrified at the thought of the tribe buying the St. Mary?s complex in Toledo, Washington. They thought the tribe was going to build on this property, thinking a casino would be built there. I listened to this over a time of say, 6 or 7 months before anyone realized I was connected to the tribe. Yet, the tribe is feeding these same people once a week at the St. Mary?s Complex. Groups from Windloc, Chelhalis, Centraila and other communities come for food, but under their cloak of dishonesty hide their real attitude towards the tribe. Their real intentions of hindering the tribes advancement as a Nation of First People. This is from the Daily News Article concerning who is really responsible for not wanting the land to move into Federal Trust: ?"We hope you'll carefully inquire and review the intentions of the Cowlitz Tribal nation regarding the use of this land and ask that they be specific in economic, social and environmental impacts of their proposed use," Craig Anneberg, chairman of the Longview-Kelso chamber, wrote to Clark County commissioners Sept. 9. Anneberg and the La Center/North County Chamber of Commerce told the commissioners that an untaxed tribal enterprise could become a formidable competitor to existing businesses. "With their power and influence and a good development plan, the Cowlitz Tribe could jeopardize not only our business community, but also the cities and businesses of Ridgefield, Battle Ground and Woodland as well," chamber president Jeffrey Kassel wrote in a Sept. 2 letter. The 18th District's state legislators, who represent parts of southern Cowlitz County and northern Clark County, urged the Bureau of Indian Affairs to require a more detailed plan of how the tribe intends to use the property before granting "trust" status to the 152 acres. Without specifics, officials can't adequately gauge the economic, environmental and other effects of the tribe's plans on Clark and Cowlitz counties, according to a Sept. 10 letter from State Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Vancouver, and state Reps. Ed Orcutt, R-Carrolls, and Tom Mielke, R-Battle Ground.? These three, State Senator Zarelli, Reps. Orcutt and Mioelke who are ultra neo-conservative christain republicans, are what is holding up the land transfer to trust, not some e-mails floating around by tribal members as the tribal office wants everyone to believe.
regarding 'grey wolf's' article about Cowlitz Tribe building at La Center 07.Feb.2004 22:02

La Center Citizen

Grey Wolf - aka Tribal Member,
I noted in your article that you repeated refer to those opposed to the casinos at the junction as 'neo-christians' and also question the intregrity by offering some mudslinging to influence your readers. Wouldn't you be better served to simply offer reasons why a casino would be beneficial to the Cowlitz Tribe, rather than stooping to this level.
From my perspective as a long time resident of La Center and a member of the Puite tribe, just as a FYI, I believe the reasons that the casino has been held up is that the Cowlitz Tribe has refused to be upfront about their intent for the land. Although they applied for a gaming compact, which is now on hold, when they contacted the feds for approval for land trust, the application was turned down for it's vagueness and lack of explanation as to what they would use the land for. Same case with the Clark Board of Commissioners. They denied the MOU because the tribe did not specify what they would be using the land for even though everyone pretty much already knew.
I laughingly called it the 'c' word because no one from the Cowlitz Tribe seemed to want to discuss it.
Repeatedly, their representative, Mr. Barnett refused to comment on whether or not a casino would be built, when in fact, at the time he was being asked, they had applied for a gaming compact.
I don't care what you call yourself...native american or just plain ol' regular american, atttempting to hide your intent is never a good way to gain trust from those you seek to negotiate with. And...how ironic that native americans would be the ones on the other end of the stick, honesty wise.
If the Cowlitz Tribe wanted to build a casino, so be it. But, the mistrust they instilled in many citizens who sought some 'real' answers as to intent, the Clark County offiicials and apparently even the feds, is not anyone's fault, certainly not Senator Zarelli, Ed Orcutt, or Tom Mielke, rather it is the fault of those in the tribe who sought to hide the truth of their ultimate intent. Once people realized that someone was trying to pull the wool over their eyes, so to speak, it becomes pretty hard to convince them later about how much intregrity you have. If you want to blame someone for 'holding up' the Cowlitz Tribe in all of these negotiation, I'd start with 'your own people' as so many minorities like to say and something I find quite offensive. Don't quote 'honor' to me if you aren't willing to stand behind it, even if it means turning your back on millions.