Members of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians will decide in a special referendum Wednesday, Sept. 19, whether or not ot pursue an off-reservation gaming project on tribally-owned land in Shullsburg.
The LdF Tribe originally filed an application with the federal government for a casino in Shullsburg in 2003. In 2008, that application was rejected by the bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) after a rules change. Last year the BIA rescinded that rules change and tribes are once again submitting trust land applications for gaming purposes
“The tribe has long believed that building an off-reservation casino can go a long way toward helping us meet our unmet needs,” Tribal Chairman Tom Maulson said. “That is why we originally submitted a fee to trust land application for a casino in Shullsburg.
Lac du Flambeau has had a formal working group studying this issue and their findings have been presented to tribal members in a series of six informational meetings and two public hearings. Their work has been compiled and is linked directly to the tribal website at ldftribe.com.
“We’ve carefully examined the viability of the Shullsburg opportunity, including recent actions by the BIA, conducted new financial and market feasibility studies, evaluated prior work product, and held talks with Shullsburg officials,” work group leader Duane Chapman said. “Our focus has been on due diligence and reopening a dialogue with the people of Shullsburg.”
A referendum in Shullsburg prior to the initial application passed by 87 percent. A formal Shullsburg Citizens Group Committee led by Shullsburg Mayor Tom Lethlean is currently lobbying their elected officials in support of the new project.
“The Wednesday vote is to let the people decide the issue,” Maulson said. “The decision is up to the voters. No one believes that BIA approval will be an easy accomplishment, but what will happen if we do nothing?”
The tribal polls are open Wednesday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Information packets are available at the Tribal Center reception desk or via the tribal website at ldftribe.com.
For more information, call Joseph Hunt, 715-439-3706, or send an email to Josephh2004@yahoo.com.