Still No Movement on Barstow Decision

The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians in San Diego County and the city of Barstow, in the middle of the desert, are awaiting a decision from the federal government on whether it will put land into trust for the tribe, so that it can build a casino.

The city of Barstow, in southern California and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians more than a hundred miles away in San Diego County are still waiting for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to rule on the tribe’s request to put land into trust so the tribe can build a casino.

The decision requires a “two-part” determination because the tribe would be putting land into trust far from its traditional homeland. Such determinations are rare, but can happen if the BIA determines that it will benefit both the tribe and the surrounding community.

An environmental report on the casino estimates it could bring $160 million in investments to the city and create 1,000 construction jobs. It would also produce about $126 million in revenue each year.

Another tribe, the Chemehuevi, have tried to get the city interested in their project, which includes a non-casino element. The tribe currently owns 40 acres in the area. It already has a gaming compact with the state allowing it to deploy 2,000 slots and maintains that it has ancestral connections with the area.