Sonoma County to vote against Koi Nation Tribal Casino
April 8, 2022
The Board of Supervisors collectively denies Koi Nation of Northern California’s proposal to build a casino and resort outside Windsor on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
The board’s decision is backed up by the five federally known Sonoma County Tribes, who have written letters expressing their disapproval and opposition to the Koi Notion’s application. The five tribes are that is the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and Lytton Band of Pomo Indians.
James Gore, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, commented on the matter as he represents northern Sonoma County which includes the land on Shiloh Road where the $600 million casino and resort is planned to be developed.
“I respectfully oppose this development, but yet I just want to thank my colleagues for doing this in the right way,” he stated.
Gore also acknowledged and respect the five Sonoma County tribes who have publicly spoken out of their disapproval of the project.
“While we wholeheartedly support the rights of Native American tribes to establish sovereign lands, this application by the Koi Nation could set a series, negative precedent in allowing one tribe to establish trust land in the ancestral lands of another tribe,” said Gore.
Two women, Lina Williams and Cassie, who live in the Shiloh Road neighborhood said that it was not a suitable place for a casino because the area is for farming and homes, not for commercial use.
“The existing tribes have complied and cooperated with the Sonoma County General Plan in that their locations are appropriately located,” said Cassie in reference to the Graton Resort and Casino and River Rock Casino.
Williams added that the residents and herself included objects to the project because of public safety concerns like fire risk as they live 50 feet from where the casino was initially located.
“They’ve been blindsided by this proposal,” Williams said. “Just like the community have been blindsided, just like our (elected) representatives have been blindsided.”
She also added that the neighborhood is with the “local indigenous tribes who have collaborated with the community and each other for decades,” correlating with the Koi, whom Williams said has not been cooperative.
The official public relations spokesperson for the Koi Nation, Sam Singer, responded to the local's concerns about the project with an apology and welcomed anyone to contact the tribe at anytime.
“We’re sorry that individuals feel that way, but our doors are open,” said Singer, “lines of communication have been open since the beginning and will remain that way.”
More about Koi Tribe
The casino is planned to have 2,500 slots with other assortments of gaming machines, a 200-room hotel, six restaurants, and food court, a meeting place, and a spa. It has collaborated with the Chickasaw Nation, a larger tribe with more than 73,000 tribal members and the owner of 22 casinos in Oklahoma.
The Koi tribe leaders said that their ancestors have been forced out of their land through genocide, enslavement, and diseases that impacted the Pomo people and other tribes. It is one of the 109 federally recognized Indigenous tribes in California and part of the Southeastern Pomo people, with 90 of its members living in Sonoma County.
“We chose instead to give thanks to the creator, and to the earth and sky, for the bounty of food, shelter and other basic amenities they provided. This difference was used against us by a legal system imposed on us by force by the colonizers, and as a result, we became landless,” the tribe said.