The Bureau of Indian Affairs has given the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians the thumbs up to open a new casino & hotel in Indiana after agreeing to place 165.81 acres of land into trust.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has given the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana the green light to open a new hotel and casino in South Bend, Indiana.
The announcement came in the form of an impassioned letter of approval written by Lawrence S. Roberts, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretay of Indian Affairs and sent to John Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
The letter apologised profusely for the Federal Government’s treatment of the tribe before stating that Warren was ‘honoured’ to accept 165.81 acres of land, located in the city of South Bend Indiana, into a trust. The tribe first put their hand up about this subject more than four years ago.
It’s fantastic news for the tribe. 2014 estimations set the population of the tribe at 5,000 people living scattered between Indiana and Michigan. 34% of the tribe lived below the poverty line, and 50% didn’t possess health insurance.
By admitting the land into trust, the tribe can focus on ploughing more than $400m into the new project that will see them create a new set of government offices, over 40 houses, new health services and a hotel and casino that will create 140 temporary jobs and more than 2,000 permanent.
The tribe have forecast revenue more than $600m per annum, with 2% heading into the coffers of the city of South Bend. There is also a caveat to spend $5m on local community projects.
The tribe is an experienced casino operator. In 2007, the tribe opened the Four Winds New Buffalo in Michigan. With over 400 rooms and 135,000 square feet of gaming space, it is one of the largest casinos in the US. To put things into perspective, the Chicago Tribune once said if the Four Winds Buffalo were in Las Vegas it would be the second largest on The Strip. In 2011, the tribe opened a second Four Winds Casino in Hartford. Two years later they opened their third in Dowagiac.
The tribe will hold a press conference in midweek to respond to the news and provide an update on the next steps.