Ten years ago on May 15th, a casino in Tuolumne City opened their doors for the first time.
Ron Patel, Black Oak Casino General Manager, was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
“The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians were up against the clock on our compact agreement that we had with Governor Grey Davis to open the first temporary building.” Patel said, “It was built where the parking structure stands now”.
Thirty-eight employees (or team members) that began with Black Oak Casino on that first day, are still there today.
Black Oak Casino is one of the top three employers in Tuolumne County, currently with a little more than eight hundred full or part-time employees. The number has fluctuated over the past decade and depending on economic times, Sonora Regional Medical Center and the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown employee more people.
In the long term, Black Oak Casino would like to expand by building a hotel, a golf course and less than a hundred brand new homes.
Meanwhile, ground has already broken on a gas station/convience store, being built in the south parking lot. It will open later this year.
To help celebrate, both this Saturday and Sunday, dozens of Native American artists, speakers, demonstrations, and fireworks will be featured at this year’s Indian Market. The Indian Market, which is an annual event attracting hundreds of people, will also feature fireworks after 8:30pm on Sunday, May 15th.
The event will also feature a tribal blessing and songs, and more than 40 exhibiters from more than a dozen different tribes throughout California selling native traditional and contemporary artwork. There will be a number of speakers from noon to 1pm on Saturday.
Speakers include Vincent Randall, Past Chairman of the Yavapai Apache; Ernie Stevens, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association; Kevin Day, Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Tribal Chairman; Patel; and Laurie Sylwester, former County Supervisor.
Native American artists will demonstrate the art of basketry, acorn processing, and soapstone carving as well as Native American games. There will be food such as Indian Tacos as well as books on the Native People of California.
Admission is free to the event. This market is the first of its kind in California, featuring only California native traditional and contemporary artwork. The California Indian Market is sponsored by The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and Black Oak Casino.
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.
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