The Tachi Yokut Tribe near Le Moor on Tuesday introduced its casino expansion with rhyming drums to match the fiery sage and chanting voices. It’s the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino.
“We’re opening a new page here in the valley, not just in tribes and Santa Rosa Lanceria,” said general manager Adam Gonzalez. “This is a great way to start this.”
The additional facilities, including 200 new slot machines, a 1,200-seat bingo hall, a table game, a coyote grill, and a sunset lounge, are part of a $125 million expansion. Mr. Gonzalez said the 255-room hotel accounts for about 60 percent of the project’s cost.
Gonzalez, whose great-grandfather once owned land under the new casino, said moving into a more modern facility symbolizes another step toward tribal self-sufficiency and new identity.
Tuesday’s ceremony and renaming (abolishing the Palace Indian Gaming Center) speak to the tribe’s identity. A sense of culture is also evident in the expansions, for example, of the traditional basket designs painted on walls and carpets with tulle leads.
Tribal members say economic diversification is part of progress towards continued self-sufficiency of the tribe.
Elmer Thomas, vice president of the tribe, said, “Already, the tribe has stakes in the stadium football team, the Central Valley Coyotes, the Sequoia in Hanford, and other properties in the Kings County area.”
In addition, the tribe plans to build an indoor event center and parking structure at the casino in five years, Thomas said. 안전놀이터
Chairman Clarence Atwell said the tribe had considered opening an outlet mall and had access to building a recycling plant that could create 50 to 60 jobs.
For the tribe members who knew what it was like before the bingo shop opened in 1983, the expansion brought back memories.
Treasurer Dena Baga was a teenage mother making a living at the time. At one point, her family of eight lived in her grandmother’s garage.
Mr Bagga said casinos (Electronic slot machines appeared in the palace in 1994) support cultural and educational programs. The money goes toward the health insurance of 765 tribal members and other needs.
“I know a lot of people think the tribe is making a lot of money,” she said. “If they knew who we were and who we used to be, they would think twice about judging us.”
She estimates that 40 percent of its members still abuse drugs and alcohol. That’s down from 90 percent before the bingo hall opened.
Dena’s sister, Anita Baga, is taking classes at Phoenix University using an educational program.
Anita Baga said, “There is nothing unattainable about living in a sanctuary today.” In stark contrast to when she was growing up, being Indian is no longer something she wants to hide. Watching table games and rows of slot machines creaking and spinning, she said, “It’s nice to be Indian today.”