Update on Gun Lake Casino Construction

From K’zoo Gazette via Pechanga:

Gun Lake Casino construction 1View full sizeShawano Cleary | Special to the Kalamazoo GazetteBob Ely, of Ace Steel and his partner, Riley Beight, work on the Gun Lake Casino in Wayland Township last week.
WAYLAND TOWNSHIP — Cooperative weather up until mid-December allowed work crews constructing the Gun Lake Casino in Wayland Township to get a bit ahead of schedule on the 83,000-square-foot facility.

Gun Lake Casino Artist renderingView full sizeHandout photo.Artist rendering of the exterior of the planned Gun Lake CasinoThe foundation has been laid and steel beams are being installed on the $157 million casino — less than half the size originally planned— off Exit 61 on U.S. 131, halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo on the former Ampro Products factory site. It is scheduled to open at the end of this summer. Continue reading

Gun Lake Band Casino Plans

From mlive via Pechanga.net:

Rendering courtesy Gun Lake TribeThe exterior of the new Gun Lake Casino in Wayland

After repeated roadblocks that delayed the Gun Lake Casino from becoming a reality, plans for construction of the project finally are in motion, albeit on a smaller scale initially.

“Everything’s a go,” said John Shagonaby, CEO of MBPI Inc., the economic development corporation of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

The federal government in August officially declared the casino site in Wayland a reservation, and a federal judge dismissed the final lawsuit to stop it.

A ground breaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 17.

Continue reading

A Reception to Benefit the National Indian Child Welfare Association

A Reception to Benefit the National Indian Child Welfare Association

You are cordially invited to attend a reception to benefit NICWA.
Come and learn more about NICWA’s efforts to improve the lives American Indian children and families, and how you can help.
Enjoy the company of party hosts, community guests, and NICWA staff for an evening of food, friends, and fun.

Date:
Friday, September 18th, 2009, 6pm – 9pm
Location:
Luella Collins Community Center
Address:
419 126th Avenue
Shelbyville, MI 49344

You can sign up here.

Gun Lake Reservation Declared

From DOI:

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk announced today that the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan’s reservation proclamation has been signed. Approximately 147 acres, more or less, will serve as the Tribe’s initial reservation under the authority of the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 986; 25 U.S.C. 467). The land is located in Wayland Township, Allegan County, Michigan.

“I am pleased to issue this proclamation and to exercise the authority delegated to me by the Secretary of the Interior to the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians,” Echo Hawk said. “The land is for the exclusive use of Indians on the reservation who are entitled to reside at the reservation by enrollment or tribal membership. These properties will provide opportunities for economic development, self-determination and self-sufficiency.”

A proclamation is a formal declaration issued by the Secretary, proclaiming that certain trust lands, acquired for an Indian tribe, are a new reservation or are being added to an existing reservation. The request for a proclamation must originate from the tribe. The parcel was acquired in trust under the authority of the Indian Reorganization Act.

The Gun Lake Tribe filed their initial land acquisition application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in August of 2001, requesting the Secretary of the Interior to take this land into trust and to proclaim the land to be the Tribe’s reservation. The application was processed in accordance with 25 C.F.R. Part 151 and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. On May 13, 2006, the Department of the Interior, BIA, published in the Federal Register, a Notice of Final Agency Determination to take the 147 acres of land into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe under 25 C.F.R. Part 151.

On August 10, 2009, Assistant Secretary Echo Hawk signed the proclamation for the Tribe’s initial reservation. With this proclamation the trust lands are now legally a formal reservation. The BIA’s Midwest Regional Office shall record the Federal Register’s notice and Proclamation in the Land Titles and Records Office, after which the Original Proclamation will be sent to the Tribe for their records.

The Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs has responsibility for helping the Secretary of the Interior to fulfill his trust responsibilities to tribal and individual trust beneficiaries and promoting self-determination and self-governance for the nation’s 564 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), which administers one of two federal school systems.

News Coverage of Gun Lake Casino Plans

From the K’zoo Gazette:

Plans for the Gun Lake Casino are quietly edging forward, despite what appears to be an impending bankruptcy filing by Station Casinos Inc., the company hired to manage its construction and operation.

The Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi is on track to release a schedule for groundbreaking, construction and hiring sometime this spring, according to those familiar with the situation.

The tribe declined to comment this week when asked about the status of the $200 million project, but it has said Las Vegas-based Station Casinos’ problems are not hindering the project.

Continue reading

Michigan House Approves Gun Lake Compact

From AP:

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state will get a slice of revenue from a planned Native American casino southwest of Grand Rapids, thanks to a deal approved by both chambers of the Legislature.

The House approved a resolution on the compact with the Gun Lake tribe by a voice vote Thursday. A similar resolution was approved by the Senate earlier this month.

The 2007 compact was negotiated between the tribe and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The federal government put 147 acres of land into trust for the casino in Allegan County’s Wayland Township this year.

Continue reading

ICT on Gun Lake Band Fee to Trust Victory

From ICT:

BRADLEY, Mich. – The Interior Department has formally taken 147 acres of land into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe, ending a decade of opposition from an anti-Indian casino group.

Interior’s action took place Jan. 30; nine days after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition from Michigan Gaming Opposition (MichGO) challenging the interior’s authority to take land into trust.

A few days earlier, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon tossed out a motion filed by former Wayland Township Trustee David Patchak, asking for a stay to stop the federal government from putting the tribe’s land into trust. Both actions were based on a highly controversial land into trust case – Carcieri vs. Narragansett – filed by the state of Rhode Island against the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Carcieri questions the interior secretary’s authority to take land into trust and whether land can be taken into trust for tribes that were not recognized in 1934, the year of the Indian Reorganization Act.

The two legal actions end any ambiguity about Gun Lake’s legal ability to move forward with its planned $200 million casino.

The tribe issued a press release with the exuberant headline “In land we trust.”
Continue reading

Gun Lake Band Casino Financing Should Not Be Affected by Stations Casino’s Bankruptcy

From the Vegas Review-Journal:

While Station Casinos plans to file for bankruptcy in March, a joint venture of the casino company plans to seek financing and break ground within weeks on a $200 million American Indian casino in Michigan.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said its tribal gaming contracts wouldn’t be affected by the restructuring because contracts are held separately from the casino company’s financing structure.

Station Casinos announced late Tuesday its plans for prepackaged bankruptcy pending approval from investors holding $2.3 billion of the company’s $5.4 billion debt load.

Dennis Farrell Jr., a bond analyst for Wachovia Capital Markets, agreed the pending bankruptcy would not affect financing for the new casino.

“It will be financed on its own and Stations will help support the project,” said Farrell, adding that the company will collect a management fee once the casino opens.

***The Michigan casino was able to move ahead when a 10-year legal struggle by the Gun Lake Tribe, also known as the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, ended Jan. 30. At that time, the U.S. Department of Interior authorized the placing of 146 acres into trust. That move was made possible when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Jan. 21 not to hear an opposition group’s petition to block the casino.

The tribe’s gaming compact should be voted on in the Michigan Legislature in the next few weeks, tribe spokesman James Nye said.

He said the tribe plans to break ground on the casino in the next “several weeks.”

It would take nearly 16 months to convert an old 192,000-square-foot factory and warehouse into a casino with up to 2,500 slots machines, 75 table games, restaurants and a buffet.