Tucson Casino Cleared for Construction After President Biden Signs Pascua Tribal Act

Pascua Yaqui Tribe
Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Arizona’s Tucson area could soon become home to another Native American-owned casino. That’s after President Joe Biden signed legislation over the holidays that clears the way for the gaming project. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Deer Dancer statute stands outside the tribe’s administration offices in Tucson, Az. The Arizona tribe has been granted federal approval to build a tribal casino on land that was deemed sovereign through Congress and President Joe Biden. (Image: Arizona’s Pascua Yaqui Tribe received federal recognition in 1978. But the federal government’s acknowledgment of the tribal community’s origins and rooted ties to the Tucson area 45 years ago did not include a 40-acre parcel of land the tribe has owned since the 1920s. Known as Old Pascua, the land was donated to the tribe by several tribal families.

Old Pascua has been considered a sacred ceremonial site since. But the tribe recently sought the feds’ approval to deem the land as sovereign and place the property into the federal trust.

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs typically handles land into trust matters. But changing presidential administrations and a pandemic have greatly held up the Pascua people’s wishes to have Old Pascua deemed sovereign. US Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona) last year took matters into his own hands by introducing federal legislation that instructs the DOI’s Indian Affairs Bureau to immediately take Old Pascual into trust for the benefit of the tribe. Biden Signs Old Pascua Act

Grijalva authored HR4881 — the “Old Pascua […]

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