Feds still back Cowlitz reservation, casino

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Attorneys for the federal government have reaffirmed the right of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to establish a reservation in Clark County and build a casino.

The Columbian reports the federal government had to decide by Friday whether it would defend itself in federal court, or rescind a 2010 Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to allow the Cowlitz to take 152 acres near La Center into trust. It chose to proceed in court.

The tribe applied in 2002 to establish the reservation with the goal of building a $510 million casino-hotel complex. The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the application in 2010.

Several opponents appealed the decision, including Clark County, the city of Vancouver, property owners, the operators of four La Center cardrooms, and a citizens' group. They challenged the tribe's ties to the parcel west of the Interstate 5 interchange in La Center.