After years of work, Cowlitz Tribe opens casino this week
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is opening its new $510 million casino this week, an effort years in the making.
While Cowlitz officials hope the Ilani Casino Resort will draw about 4.5 million visitors a year, providing an economic boon to the tribe and the region, others are not so optimistic.
The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde own the Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon’s Coast Range, and they fear Spirit Mountain could lose 41 percent of its revenue when the Cowlitz casino opens Monday near La Center, Washington.
Cowlitz Tribal Chairman William Iyall told the Seattle Times (http://bit.ly/2p9NRfY ) that opening day is a victory for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. “This is a triumphant moment for The Cowlitz Indian Tribe because it marks the end of a 160-year journey back to our homeland, and the beginning of a new journey,” Iyall said.
In 1855, Cowlitz tribal leaders refused to sign a treaty and move into a proposed reservation site. Over time, members of the tribe scattered, and it took decades of campaigning to persuade the federal Interior Department in 2000 to grant the Cowlitz legal status as a tribe.