Enough is enough

It’s time for the county to back off on litigation to stop a Mechoopda casino

Butte County clearly doesn’t want the Mechoopda tribe to build a casino. At least not along Highways 99 and 149, which is the location of land the tribe has been told it can build on by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For over a decade, the county has engaged the Chico tribe in court, filing appeal after appeal—and racking up over $600,000 in legal bills in the process. Enough is enough.

Due to the illegal disbandment of Native American tribes in the mid-20th century, the Mechoopda lost the majority of their rancheria, which occupied about 25 acres in the heart of Chico. So, they designated land that their ancestors felt tied to as an adequate alternative location for a casino to help members of their tribe and add to the economic vitality of the region.

The successes of Feather Falls and Gold Country casinos should be a case in point—they provide much more than just blackjack tables and slot machines. The brewery at Feather Falls is a destination in its own right, as is the steak house at Gold Country, and both venues provide meeting spaces for large conferences and stages for big-name entertainers that aren’t available elsewhere. Plus, providing jobs for not only tribe members but also others in our community would only be a boon to the local economy.

Should the tribe and county proceed with caution when it comes to building a casino? Absolutely. The natural landscape, traffic impacts and public safety all must be taken into consideration with care. But let’s stop this expensive and, frankly, offensive attack on the Mechoopda’s right to this land.