HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 13South Bend Council Issues Support for Pokagon Project

On Monday, April 13, 2015, the South Bend Common Council voted unanimously on Bill No. 15-22, a resolution to support the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ (“Tribe”) federal proposal to take certain land in Northern Indiana into trust for the benefit of the Tribe. In its description of the resolution, the council noted the importance of continued cooperation between the Tribe and the municipality, the potential for 1400 construction and 200 permanent jobs in the community, and the ability for the Tribe to offer increased services for its membership.

The Tribe is seeking to place 18 parcels of land totaling over 165 acres into trust with the BIA in order to improve access to governmental services, provide land for housing projects, to increase economic development opportunities, and to begin development of a Class III casino with hotel, restaurants, and other amenities. The Tribe currently holds the land in fee, and placing the land into trust with the BIA is a necessary step in allowing the land to be eligible for certain tribal gaming activity under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Regarding its interactions with the Tribe, Councilman Oliver Davis noted that “we want to show that we welcome them, so therefore we have put together a resolution [to welcome the Tribe].”  The resolution is non-binding on the city, which is currently working with the Tribe to negotiate its future development plans. Community members also expressed a desire to welcome the Tribe to the community, as well as the possibility for a future tribal casino to create jobs and economic growth, praising the Tribe for its tradition of community outreach efforts and cooperation with local groups. Other public comments noted support for tribal developments, but expressed concerns that were focused solely on the possibility of a tribal casino, such as potential social harms associated with expanded gaming.

The Tribe has approximately 5,000 members, as well as over 2,800 acres of land in Michigan held in trust by the BIA for the benefit of the Tribe. The Tribe also owns the Four Winds casino brand, which includes three successful casino properties located in southwest Michigan. To review reports and documents related to the Tribe’s request, please visit the project’s website at: http://pokagonsouthbendeis.com/.



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