The legal fight over the Cowlitz Indian casino is officially over.
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied to hear an appeal challenging the tribe’s right to have a reservation on 156 acres of property near La Center.
The decision comes just weeks before the scheduled opening of the tribe’s brand new, $510 million Ilani Casino Resort on the reservation, which is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to the area.
The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde and Clark County dropped out of the case in November, following the City of Vancouver’s withdrawal earlier in 2016. That left opponent group Citizens Against Reservation Shopping, La Center card room owners and three private landowners in the suit.
While the Cowlitz Tribe was a party in the case, the suit was actually filed against the U.S. Department of the Interior, which took the land into “trust” on behalf of the tribe in 2015. The action turned the land into a reservation.
“This is a triumphant moment for The Cowlitz Indian Tribe because it marks the end of a 160-year journey back to our homeland and the beginning of a new journey, where centuries of Cowlitz Tribal heritage and traditions will unite and thrive, here, on our own reservation,” said a press release from Cowlitz tribe chairman William Iyall.
“Now, in leading large-scale, privately-funded investments in economic growth, the tribe looks forward to delivering on our commitments to our 4,100 members, employees and the community where we live and work.”