Sault Ste Marie Tribe will likely vote soon on proposed Lansing casino project

Mar 6, 2012

 Members of an Upper Peninsula Native American tribe may vote in the next few months on a proposal to build a casino in Lansing.

 The vote could upend the controversial casino project in Michigan’s capitol city.

 The leaders of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced their plans to build a $245 million  casino in downtown Lansing in January.

The proposal immediately drew opposition from the governor, state attorney general and other Native American tribes that already operate casinos within easy driving distance of Lansing.

The plan also drew complaints from inside the Sault Ste Marie tribe.   Not the plan to build the casino, but how revenues from the casino would be allocated.

The tribe’s board today accepted a petition brought by members of the tribe to put the casino proposal up for a vote.   The vote will take place probably within the next 60 days.

Several officials with the tribe expect the proposal will win the support of the rank and file members of the Sault Ste Marie tribe.

But if the proposal is voted down, the tribal chairman says the development deal in place would be invalidated.