SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — On Tuesday, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors rejected the Koi Nation of Northern California’s attempt to build a casino.
County leaders unanimously voted to adopt a resolution opposing attempts to place land southeast of Windsor into trust to build a casino.
The Board and local tribal councils say that the Koi Nation lacks the necessary significant historical connection to the lands at 222 East Shiloh Road.
The Koi Nation applied with the U.S. Department of the Interior to have the land placed into trust to become sovereign tribal land.
“While we wholeheartedly support the rights of Native American tribes to establish sovereign lands, this application by the Koi Nation could set a serious, negative precedent in allowing one tribe to establish trust land in the ancestral lands of another tribe,” said District 4 Supervisor James Gore, Chair of the Board of Supervisors.
The board’s action supports the five federally recognized Sonoma County tribes — including the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, who all wrote letters expressing their opposition or have passed resolutions in opposition to the Koi Nation’s application.
In September 2021 — the Koi Nation bought the 68.8-acre parcel near Shiloh Ranch Regional Park and soon after announced its intention to develop the land for a hotel and casino.
As a Southeastern Promo tribe, the Koi Nation’s historic and ancestral lands sit in Lake County.
Should the Tribe’s application to have the land placed into trust be approved by the federal government — the property would become the sovereign land of the Koi Nation.
The state and county do not have civil regulatory jurisdiction over trust lands, which include zoning laws.
However, the state and county do have the power to enforce criminal laws on trust lands.
The resolution adopted Tuesday and the letters of the five federally recognized Sonoma County tribes have been used to file a petition to the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has the authority to deny, approve, or condition the taking of land into trust for gaming.