The federal government on Thursday took a
The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, which previously had no land in its name, plans few immediate changes but ultimately intends to convert the card room into a Nevada-style casino, representatives said.``We are ecstatic to have a tribal land base again and look forward to beginning a new chapter in our history,'' Margie Mejia, chairwoman of the Healdsburg-based tribe, said in a written statement.She said the casino promises the 253-member tribe ``economic self-sufficiency and bright futures for generations to come.''
The Lyttons are one
Alan Titus, an attorney representing the card rooms, called the U.S. Interior Department decision Thursday to accept the San Pablo land into trust -- a requirement for gaming -- for the Lyttons ``a farce.''
``Laws recognizing Indian sovereignty were intended to protect Indians when they lived on separate reservations, and were not intended to give them special privileges in operating commercial businesses in the middle of cities,'' he said.
The card rooms, which tried unsuccessfully in court
to prevent the land from being taken into trust, are pursuing a separate
federal lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the Lyttontribe.Congress
directed the Interior Department to accept the land into trust, a position
supported by the city of
But Tony Cohen, the Lytton's
attorney, said the tribe was entitled to the 9-acre property under
legislation acknowledging and atoning for the tribe's termination
in the 1950s.He said the tribe
``We're sure the tribe won't be disregarding the city's wishes,'' he said.The tribe used a $21 million loan from Austin, Texas-based Multimedia Games Inc. to gain title to the land.Until it negotiates a gaming compact with the state, the tribe is limited primarily to adding high-stakes bingo to existing card games.
Though Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger has no track record, Cohen said the tribe was ``encouraged'' by his openness to gaming, provided tribes contribute their fair share.