Sunday, 01 August 2021

Twin Pine Casino celebrates groundbreaking

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Tribal members officially break ground on the new Twin Pine Lodge on Saturday. Photo by Voris Brumfield.


 


MIDDLETOWN – The Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians held a groundbreaking for a new facility at its Twin Pine Casino in Middletown on Saturday, and announced a new alliance with the Mohegan Tribe.


Middletown Rancheria's new alliance with the Mohegan Tribe will allow the Middletown tribe to construct a 90,000 square foot expansion, including a new hotel and casino facility to replace the current temporary structure.


The new facility will include 50,000 square feet of gaming space to accommodate up to 700 gaming slot machines, 12 table games, 10 poker tables, a 60-room hotel, retail space, a wine tasting room and three food areas.


Twin Pine Casino currently offers 12,000 square feet of gaming space, with 438 slot machines and 8 table games.


The relationship between the two tribes is part of the overall Native American initiative in the United States for economic self-reliance and an improved sense of community and communication, according to a report from Middletown Rancheria. The alliance also shows the far reach and concern between Native American peoples, stretching across the nation for cultural and economic enrichment for both tribes.


Tribal Chief Jose "Moke" Simon III led the proceedings which included blessings, songs, dance, groundbreaking and food.


“We are very fortunate that a connection was made with the Mohegan Tribe and hope that other tribes perceive this unity and support as a strong bond within our tribal communities regardless of stature or location,” Simon said.


Middletown Rancheria established Twin Pine Casino in November 1994 and with the economic opportunity, the tribe has provided many social services for its members, such as full health benefits, educational assistance, housing, elders/disability program and minor trust savings. The casino has also provided many jobs to the small community of Middletown, as well as numerous monetary donations and sponsorships in our surrounding area.


Simon said in a statement that he is delighted to announce this long-awaited historic event for the tribe and a major stepping stone that will secure the future for generations to come.


“It has always been a priority of this tribal council to enhance and protect the economic development for our people,” he said. “In hopes that our future generations will not endure the struggles we have faced, we are grateful that we are able to fulfill the goals and dreams of our casino expansion project.”


After its federal recognition in 1994, the Mohegan Tribe created Mohegan Sun, the world’s largest and most successful casino destinations. Located in southeastern Connecticut on land that has been returned to Native American ownership, it opened its doors in October of 1996, and has been continuously owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe since that time.


Mohegan Sun is currently involved in Project Horizon, the third phase of continued growth in just over a decade. The business has created a more secure economic base for Mohegan tribal members, with comprehensive medical and educational benefits.


The tribe’s federal recognition has also paved the way for the revival of Mohegan culture and language, and for more social interaction among the tribal membership, seen most dramatically at the tribe’s annual Wigwam gathering every August.


Bruce Bozsum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said he is especially pleased about the new relationship between the Mohegan Tribe and Middletown Rancheria.


“The mission of the Mohegan Tribe has always been to respect the land, improve the community, and to create a self-reliant, proud population,” said Bozsum. “We are happy to be part of the plan to help the Middletown Rancheria reach their goals, and it’s an honor to join with them as we work together on a path to continued success for all our Native American nations.”


Middletown Rancheria's building project is estimated to take 14 months to complete.


The tribe thanked Supervisor Ed Robey, who helped coordinate a turn lane with Caltrans and a hookup to the LACOSAN sewer system that serves Middletown.


Middletown Rancheria was established with the purchase of 110 acres of land, initiated by members of the tribe in July of 1910, and appropriated Congressional Act for California landless Indians in 1906.


The original people of the Middletown Rancheria, also known as Lake Miwok Indians, found themselves landless and homeless during the 1800s, when newcomers settled in the area of Middletown and throughout Lake County.


With the establishment of the rancheria at the turn of the century, members of other tribal groups, such as Pomo, Wappo and Wintun, joined with the people of Middletown, either through marriage or customary adoption.


From the original five families, the present tribal membership is composed of 96 adult voting members of the General Council, with five elected members of the Tribal Council and 75 minor children.

 

 

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