The mission of the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) includes educating the public about issues important to Native American cultures, and by extension, to all of us who presently live on the land. As part of this mission, NACC has begun a new series of educational web pages on casinos, a topic most frequently associated with indigenous cultures in California. To highlight the unique issues surrounding ‘Indian Gaming,’ we have selected the Graton Rancheria Project at Sears Point as our case study.
Through an examination of key issues in this proposed project, which the tribe ultimately withdrew after intense pressure and at times vitriolic racism, we hope to help citizens and indigenous people make effective decisions together. We also hope to provide teachers and students with materials that will help them form interesting study guides. As an ongoing series, more web pages will be added as time and resources allow.
On the following pages you will find visual images that will help add important context to the tribes’ proposal. Most people have not explored the land extensively, and know it only from a passing car, or from what they have heard. Through a better understanding of the land as it is today, the tribal proposal, and the ensuing public debate, we hope to help build awareness and informed discussion about Native Californians and sovereignty issues.
Shown above is the site map provided by the tribe and its chosen developers. Highway 37 is the strong diagonal line from the lower left to the upper right. The bay is at the bottom of the image, with Tubbs Island in the lower right.
Purple: the middle of the property is designated as the site of the casino (392 acres)
on the south side of State Highway 37.
Blue: the southern end of the property is designated as restored wetlands (447 acres)
next to the bay.
Green: the northern end of the property is designated as open space (1,243 acres)
with public trails in the hills and along both sides of Lakeville Highway.
Other features to look at:
Infineon Raceway (formerly known as the Sears Point Race Track) is in the upper left of the image with heavy land recontouring visible to the west of State Highway 121.
Railroad tracks visible are the old North Pacific route, roughly parallel to Highway 37.
Under the ‘Railroad’ locater is land currently used by a gun club for bird hunting (tan).
Port Sonoma Marina is visible in the lower left. Between the marina and the proposed restored wetlands is another wetlands area (grey blue).
A vineyard is sited east of the casino site and south of the 37/121 interchange (dark blue).
Hills and open space are sited to the east and north of the open space site (brown).
Farm and grazing lands are sited to the west of the open space site.
Along Highway 37 and west of the proposed casino site is farmland that is currently for sale (500 acres) and signed as potential residential or commercial space (grey yellow).
The railroad easement connects to the proposed Marin/Sonoma rail transit line, and continues north to Sonoma and Napa.
Port Sonoma is being studied by the Water Transit Authority as the core water taxi site for Sonoma County.
Sonoma County recently (April 03) cut bus service that traveled along Highway 37, despite rush hour car traffic problems.