Lower Brule Tribe Plans New Casino
By Victoria Wicks
The Lower Brule Tribe is planning to build a 34 million dollar casino and travel center on 91 acres of trust land near Oacoma, according to online news reports. The tribe has been meeting with local towns, counties, and other tribes before submitting a proposal to the Department of the Interior. But the South Dakota Governor has final approval.
The state of South Dakota fought the Lower Brule tribe for years to prevent them from putting their off-reservation land into trust.
A few years ago, South Dakota lost the battle, and the tribe started planning how to use its land near the Missouri River and Interstate 90.
Now Lower Brule has secured funding for the first phase of a project that will eventually include a casino, travel center, hotel, and water park.
That’s if Governor Dennis Daugaard agrees.
“Well, first of all, I’m not sure South Dakotans want additional off-reservation gaming,” he says. “I know the Constitution limits it right now to the Deadwood area.”
Daugaard discusses the tribe’s plans at a weekly legislative news conference: “The tribe, as I understand it, is starting to engage the Crow Creek Tribe, which is within 25 miles, the city of Oacoma, the city of Chamberlain, other cities within that 25 mile radius, the county governments within that 25 mile radius, to talk about the positives and the negatives.”
After the tribe consults with local entities, it then submits a plan to the Department of Interior. If that agency agrees to it, the file goes to the governor.
Daugaard says his decision cannot be appealed.
At the weekly news conference, Senator Jason Frerichs says he favors development opportunities for rural areas, even if the state won’t get sales taxes as it would for non-Indian developments.
“If you look at this location out there, where it obviously is probably a place that’s… you could say underdeveloped in an area of the state,” Frerichs says. “Obviously we ought to be as supportive as possible. At least I am,
anyways, from my standpoint.”
However, Frerichs points out that the legislature doesn’t have control over the situation.