Wilton Rancheria leaders spoke at the April 29 lunch at the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce. They addressed the history of their tribe and hopes for the future as their Sky River Casino project is expected to open this fall.
Guest speakers at the meeting at the Valley Hi Country Clubhouse announced that they had no updates for the development of the casino project.
“I burst your bubble and say I have nothing interesting to show you,” said Dahlton Brown, executive director of Wilton Rancheria. “I don’t have a big opening date.”
Then he joked when he saw “broken hearts” in the dining room.
Sky River Casino is being built on a 36-acre lot near Kammerer Road and Highway 99 south of Elk Grove. Features planned for the $ 500 million project include a 110,260-square-foot game room, 2,000 slot machines and 80 gaming tables. Wilton Rancheria is collaborating with Boyd Gaming on this project.
Brown and Chris Franklin, the executive director of economic development at Wilton Rancheria, focused most of their speeches on the origin of their tribe and why they cared about regaining their federal recognition in 2009 after being lost for 50 years. They highlighted the work of their tribe to achieve “economic self-determination.”
Brown said there are 900 members of the Wilton Rancheria in the Sacramento area. He spoke about his challenges with high unemployment, lack of health insurance and his limited access to ancestral history. Franklin said his tribe wants to expand educational services to its members and that they are also considering a rehabilitation facility and a community center for them.
In his speech on the history of the Wilton ranch as well as the Indigenous peoples of the Sacramento Valley, Brown detailed the tragedies that affected them and warned the audience of the “challenging story” they would hear.
He spoke of the enslavement of Spanish missionaries in the San Jose Mission, the violation of U.S. government treaties, Indian children being forced into boarding schools, and the mistreatment of Indians by California pioneer leader John Sutter.
Brown read a testimony that Sutter forced hundreds of Indian slaves to eat from a trough.
“This has been the reality for communities that have gone through so much in this area,” Brown said of the oppression.
In his presentation on the Wilton Rancheria, he said that the federal government had set aside a 38-acre lot for his tribe in Wilton in the late 1920s. Congress passed the Rancheria Act in 1958.
“And then there’s a kind of white space where communities have moved around the area: some people have stayed in the ranch, others have moved to work where they could,” Brown said of life after the Ranch Act.
He noted that during the 1980s through the 2000s, Wilton Rancheria elders sold pow wow fried bread and other fundraising events against federal government in order to restore federal recognition of Wilton Rancheria.
House members applauded when Brown said they regained that recognition in 2009. The Wilton Rancheria is now the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County. Franklin said they can form their own government and enact their own laws through a tribal judicial system.
“We’re here, we’re thriving and we’re getting stronger,” he said.
As for the casino project, Brown showed a short video featuring aerial shots of the play. He noted that there will be entrances on all four sides of the casino and said parking lots were left with streaks.
“The balloon in the back of my head is swelling with pressure,” Brown joked about the pressures to complete the casino project.
After his presentation, he told members of the House about the opportunities for vendor partnerships at Sky River Casino and to visit the casino’s website for contact information.
Wilton Rancheria leaders reach out to Elk Grove Chamber members | News Source link Wilton Rancheria leaders reach out to Elk Grove Chamber members | News