Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians announced Saturday afternoon at their tribal membership meeting, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has agreed to allow a proposed casino in Fruitport Township, Michigan to be reviewed by the US Department of the Interior – Indian Affairs, which can put the land into trust that will allow for casino.
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Ogema Larry Romanelli made a surprise announcement at the tribe's Fall Membership meeting shortly before 2:00 pm Saturday afternoon.
“We are ecstatic that Governor Snyder has made this move in support of consideration of our project in Muskegon. Our tribe is excited about the potential of our proposed resort to help the people of the Muskegon area and Fruitport in particular an area hard hit by economic challenges over recent years,”
commented Tribal Council Speaker Virg Johnson, in response to Ogema Romanelli’s surprise announcement.
Up until Saturday’s announcement, the Michigan governor has voiced his opposition to the proposed casino.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is based in Manistee, Michigan. The proposed casino is located approximately 90 miles south of the Tribe’s headquarters. Fruitport Township is located in Muskegon County. The Muskegon region is home to a large concentration of Little River Band tribal citizens who, along with all units of government in the area, actively support the casino project.
The Tribe purchased the land where a closed-down Great Lakes Downs horse race track in 2008 just off the intersection of I-96 and US 31. During the intervening years, the majority of structures that made up Great Lakes Downs have been demolished and tribal officials spent several years garnering local governmental support.
So, the Governor’s okay looms huge for the Tribe. However, gaining the US Department of Interior – Indian Affairs can be prove to be a lengthy process.
The Little River Band currently owns and operates the Little River Casino & Resort across the highway from its tribal headquarters in Manistee.
updated 11:20 pm edt; posted October 14, 2013 8:40 am edt