California Governor condemns federal rejection of tribal-state gaming compacts

California Governor Gavin Newsom has criticised the Federal Government’s disapproval of two tribal-state class III gaming compacts, a decision he labelled arbitrary.

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The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has rejected agreements between the State of California and two tribal authorities: the Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria and the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians.

In response, Newsom issued a scathing statement in which he accused the DOI of endangering the welfare of tribal communities.

This is the second time the DOI has disapproved gaming compacts between the tribes and state, compacts which Newsom said were “carefully negotiated” and “in compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

“Despite the tribes’ efforts to meet with the Interior and changes negotiated with the State of California to address concerns expressed by the Interior, the Department chose to disregard the interests of the tribes and arbitrarily disapprove the compacts,” said Newsom.

“The disapprovals threaten the ability of these and other tribes to invest and maintain jobs in many of California’s economically disadvantaged communities.”

Jose “Moke” Simon, Chairman of the Middletown Rancheria, was likewise disappointed by the DOI’s disapproval, and said he feels “betrayed” by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

“While California has taken great steps forward, sadly, the betrayal we feel from Secretary Haaland is something we have come to expect from the Federal Government,” he remarked. “The path forward is now paved with stones that will make it difficult to navigate our tribe’s future.”

Looking ahead, Newsom said the State of California would work with both tribes to “rectify” the DOI’s decision and “avoid its negative impacts.”


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