New Mexico’s Indian tribes are ganging up against the Jemez Pueblo in opposition of its bid to partner with a Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters to build a $55 million hotel and casino in Anthony, New Mexico, along the Texas-New Mexico border, reported the Associated Press.
The proposal was previously rejected under the Bush Administration in 2008, possibly because the trust lands are located more than 300 miles from the pueblo, which is nestled in northern New Mexico between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. But the federal government is once again considering the application, re-opened last year by the Obama Administration. It stands a much stronger chance due to a decision yesterday by Interior Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Echo Hawk rescinded a controversial 2008 memorandum by the Bush Administration that effectively banned off-reservation gaming.
But working against the Jemez Pueblo, the New Mexico Indian Gaming Association Inc., which represents tribal casino operators, recently filed documents opposing the plan with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Mark Chino, president of the Mescalero Apache tribe, which operates Inn of the Mountain Gods resort and a casino in the Ruidoso area, told the AP.
“First of all, we don’t believe that the project is going to benefit the people of the Jemez Pueblo, because as we argued back then that the developer is the one that appears to be the major beneficiary of the project as opposed to the Pueblo of Jemez and the people of Jemez,” said Chino, whose tribe is the most threatened by the potential hotel and casino in Anthony among all New Mexico Indian gaming operators, reported the AP.