Placeholder Imagephoto credit: Marc Albert/KRCB
Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris arrived on heavy equipment


Dignitaries, including local political leaders and the lieutenant governor joined tribal members and union construction workers in Rohnert Park Thursday, as the Federated Indians of Graton Ranchiera broke ground on a major expansion of the tribe's casino and resort.

Ebullient, following a just announced Supreme Court ruling in a controversial case involving adoptions and native people, Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris noted that in a decade of operation, the existing facility has defied the expectations of naysayers and become an important asset.

"I know that for so many people, the idea of a casino resort and

Placeholder Imagephoto credit: Marc Albert/KRCB
Chairman Greg Sarris with Rohnert Park councilmembers


environmental stewardship and social justice seemed antithetical. Ten years later, we have proved it is not, it doesn't have to be. We promised to help our people. In our tribe, we have turned around, in the last ten years, an 80 percent drop-out rate to 100 percent graduate from high school. For our federal and state grant programs for education that serve just to support our tribe, we have added to those grants and funds with casino revenues so that we don't just serve Indian children in our tribe, but all American Indian children in Marin and Sonoma Counties," Sarris said to applause.

The expansion will allow additional slot machines and game tables, but will also include a hotel, restaurant, another parking garage and a thirty-five hundred seat performing arts space. The expansion will create two thousand temporary construction jobs and six hundred permanent positions once completed, Sarris said.

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