Cowlitz native tribe invested US$500 million in its casino Ilani in Washington.
US.- Cowlitz tribe revealed yesterday the name and the design of its future casino, Ilani. The 368,000-square-foot gaming salon will be located in the Cowlitz reservation in Washington state and it will be opened by next spring. Future operators announced the installation of 2,500 slot machines, 80 gaming tables, 15 different restaurants, bars and retail stores and a convention room.
Ilani Casino, located about 17 miles north of Vancouver, will generate over 1,000 job positions in Washington. The name refers to “sing” in native language and, as explained Cowlitz spiritual leader, Tanna Engdahl, “Ilani” has a deeper meaning. “It is the memory of the songs we sang throughout the centuries on the long journey to this time. And it means so much to us to know that in all of our songs, we did not have a song for defeat – so we never learned how to give up,” commented Engdahl.
The native tribe was able to build the gaming salon after ten years of legal battles against the city of Vancouver and Clark County. The casino is the result of a 12-year-long partnership between the Cowlitz and Mohegan tribes and it is inspired by the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, according to Cowlitz Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall. “This is a culmination of 160 years, truly, of effort to get our land base. But also to return an economic base for the future, a very prosperous future, of our Cowlitz people,” expressed Iyall.