Off-Reservation Casino Objections Run Deep In Arizona

An Arizona Indian tribe’s planned casino near Phoenix is adding weight to calls for a change in federal policy on off-reservation gambling.

The Tohono O’odham Indian Nation’s plans to develop a resort casino near Glendale, Ariz., are opposed by local participants in a tribal coalition seeking a revised federal policy in order to protect aboriginal lands.

The Gila River and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian communities contend Tohono O’odham’s proposal to establish a reservation in the Phoenix suburbs for the purpose of building a $300m hotel-casino would be an encroachment on their shared ancestral territory.

“We definitely view this as encroachment of our ancestral lands,” said Alia Maisonet, director of public relations for the Gila River Indian Community.

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