September 9, 2011

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Hosts American Indian Tourism Conference

The 13th annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) is will go from Sept 11-14 at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort, located near Fountain Hills, Arizona.   AITC, sponsored by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), is the premier education and networking venue for tribal tourism professionals.   This year’s theme is Tribal Tourism: An Economic Force in Indian Country, stated an AIANTA press release.

“Tribal tourism is growing despite the economic downturn because we continue to reach out and educate national and international tourism markets about the distinct and diverse experiences offered by tribal destinations,” said AIANTA President Tina Osceola (Seminole Tribe of Florida) in the press release.  “We invite tribal tourism programs and businesses to share their experiences at our conference—so together we can build on the many opportunities and meet the challenges of welcoming more visitors while preserving our cultures.”  She added:  “We love being back in Arizona for the first conference since 2003, when AITC was held at Gila River Indian Community.”

The conference program will be opened by AIANTA President Osceola on Tuesday morning with the Fort McDowell Veterans Color Guard.  ”There will be a tribal leaders round table discussion with Margo Gray-Proctor, Chairwoman of NCAIED and Christopher James, Assistant Administrator, Office of Native American Affairs, U.S. Small Business Administration, followed by a keynote address from Chairman Tex Hall, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes and Scott Russell, Secretary, Crow “Apsáalooke” Nation,” the press release stated.

The topic at the Tuesday luncheon will be Positioning Indian Country with 21st Century Media. The keynote speakers will be Len Sanderson of the Washington, D.C. public relations firm Sanderson Strategies Group and Valerie Taliman, West Coast Editor of Indian Country Today.  ”Together, Len and Valerie have more than 50 years’ experience in branding and positioning clients, campaigns and strategies within the media marketplace,” the release stated.

A variety of topics will be covered in breakout sessions, including social and traditional media in promoting tribal tourism, indigenous foods, international tourism development and markets, building tourism businesses and cultural and intellectual properties.

For more information about AIANTA go to www.aianta.org

Or visit their AITC website at www.aianta.org/aitc2011

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September 19, 2011

Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Host PGA Tour Tournament

Filed under: News Alerts,Sports — Tags: , , , , , — ICTMN Staff @ 11:30 am

On September 19 through 25, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians will host the Soboba Golf Classic at The Country Club at Soboba Springs in San Jacinto, California.  This marquee event is an official part of the PGA Tour, and is currently the second largest purse on the Nationwide Tour, at $750,000.  This four-day, 72-hole stroke play competition begins with 156 players, and, after cuts, ends with around 60 players competing for the first place prize of $135,000.

It wasn’t long ago, however, that the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians could only look at the gorgeous golf course that bordered then reservation and dream of what they might do with it should they own it. Then, way back in December of 2004, the tribe bought the Soboba Springs Royal Vista Golf Club from Waterhouse, Inc., a Honolulu based company.

Their plans to develop the course began almost immediately.  They contracted golf course architect Cary Bickler to redesign the course, and redesign he did.  The bunkers were renovated (25 newly placed bunkers were added, filled with August White bunker sand), teeing areas were laser-leveled, with each hole receiving additional new tee boxes.  The course was lengthened 250 yards from the original back tee to 7,053 yards for experienced players, and stunning aesthetic improvements, such as waterfalls, streams and rock walls, have replaced older features to improve the look and feel of the course.

The Classic also aims to give back to the community.  In the past two years alone, the tournament has poured more than $111,000 into local charities. There will also be several themed days during the tournament to educate the public about the Classic’s effect on the community. These include U.S. Armed Forces Day, Cancer Awareness Day, and Family Day.

“With its generous support of programs that stress educational opportunities as well as sports and leisure activities, the tribe is pleased to sponsor this significant event,” said Tribal Chairman Scott Cozart in a press release.

There will also be a free Junior Golf Clinic on Sept. 20 for kids.

For ticket and tournament information please call 951-654-4300 ext. 5200 or visit www.sobobaclassic.net.

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September 22, 2011

Golf Tournament to Benefit Cherokee Veterans Center

An upcoming golf tournament held by the Cherokee Nation on October 3 dubbed “The Four Bs—Birdies, Bogeys, Buildings and Business,” will help raise funding for a project to benefit area veterans.

Hosted by the Cherokee Hills Golf Club in Catoosa, Oklahoma, the tournament offers entrants an opportunity to network and discuss the planned Cherokee Nation Veterans Center in Tahlequah. All the proceeds will go towards the completion of the center.

The tournament is in a shotgun format beginning at 8:30 a.m. and teams must register by September 29. Team fee is $400 and includes a hole/tee sponsorship sign, golf carts, green fees and lunch.

The center will be at the tribe’s main office complex and the construction phases have begun.

“This project means so much to so many people. The important services offered at the veterans center will not only be for Cherokee Nation citizens but for all veterans residing in eastern Oklahoma,” said Dana Espinal, director of planning and development for the Cherokee Nation Management Resource Group.

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April 11, 2012

United Auburn Indian Community Purchases Golf Course

The United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) has purchased Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin, California, for $3.95 million, states a tribal press release.

“This was a great opportunity for us to acquire and preserve one of the finest golf courses in the region,” David Keyser, chairman of UAIC, said in a statement. “The UAIC is committed to working with the stable workforce at Whitney Oaks’ and continue to provide unparalleled service to our valued customers.”

Located just 6.3 miles away from its Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, the golf course will be an added lure for out-of-town guests to the casino, reported The Sacramento Bee. The gaming destination currently offers a spa, pool, AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, and entertainment including a summer concert series at its outdoor amphitheater.

“Whitney Oaks rounds out the resort aspect of Thunder Valley,” Doug Elmets, spokesman for the tribe and casino, told the Bee.

The UAIC has plans to immediately upgrade Whitney Oaks’ golf carts and purchase new equipment to improve course maintenance. A private design firm will also hep UAIC implement some minor remodeling to create a fresh feel, while staying true to “the traditional, refined golf atmosphere that customers have come to appreciate and expect,” the release states.

“Anyone who has been to Thunder Valley knows the tribe only does things first class,” Elmets told the Bee.

The newspaper reported Whitney Oaks stands to greatly benefit from the deal, as the previous owner, the Carlsbad-based Bright Star Golf Group, has neglected the course in recent moths. Elmets said the course fees should remain consistent and the tribe plans to hire most of the current staff. The semi-private Whitney Oaks employs 68 full-time team members and as many as 75 during peak season, the release states.

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November 24, 2012

Cache Creek Casino Resort: Jewel of California’s Capay Valley

In Brooks, California, in the heart of the Capay Valley, Cache Creek Casino Resort rises like an Emerald City out of acres and acres of surrounding ranches and farmland.  One minute you’re driving on a dusty, small road, passing fruit stands and cattle, and before you know it, you’re handing over your keys to a waiting valet at the entrance to this 415,000-square foot property owned by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

What started as a modest Bingo Hall in 1985 has evolved into a $200 million enterprise considered to be one of the largest casino-resort destinations in Northern California. Open since 2004, Cache Creek has enough bells and whistles to attract a steady, diverse clientele from the Sacramento and Bay Areas: a full-service casino, a 200-room luxury hotel and health spa, nine restaurants, a 700-seat indoor concert venue and seasonal 3,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, an outdoor swimming pool, casino gift shop and a tribal-operated mini mart, gas station and fire station.

It’s like a city unto itself.

The Asian-influenced hotel rooms are very comfortable and well-appointed. Stand-out features include horizontal sliding bathroom doors and thick, down comforters. Hotel employees say the rooms and suites are in such demand, that they are oftentimes completely booked even on a Sunday night.

You’ll never go hungry here, either. Resort operators had nearly every palate in mind when they created the restaurant line-up, running the gamut from Mexican food, Asian Pacific Rim cuisine, and a sports bar and grill, to a diner, deli, bakery and elegant steak and seafood restaurant called C2, where guests are thrilled by sizzling steaks and menus that light up. Many of the produce and meats used in these restaurants come from local Yolo County farms.

For guests who require a little more pampering, there’s a full-service spa on site with an impressive menu of head-to-toe relaxation therapies, including  body massages, facials, body scrubs and wraps, pedicures, manicures and hair treatments. There’s also a special couples treatment room where lovebirds or just really good friends can get tandem massages. Other spa amenities include a whirlpool, eucalyptus steam room, sauna, serenity room and fully-equipped fitness center.

If you’re a golfer, the crowning experience at Cache Creek Casino Resort would have to be a day on the green at the championship Yocha Dehe Golf Club, just up and over the hill from the resort and casino. Named one of Golfweek’s 2011 and 2012 “Best Resort Courses and Top Casino Courses in America,” this 18-hole, 7,300-yard course was designed by Brad Bell, a well-known golf-course architect from Sacramento and former PGA-tour player. It was opened in 2008, and the tribal inauguration was the following year, attended by Notah Begay.

The Yocha Dehe course is known for its 19-acre man-made lake and spectacular view of the oak-tree-studded hillsides of the Capay Valley. “The area is just beautiful. There’s not a lot to distract you from the views,” Brad Johnson, head golf pro, tells us what else makes this course so special. “We’ve been described as the Pebble Beach of NorCal. I think it comes down to the guest service that we provide. It’s exceptional.”

Cache creek golf 321 615x369 Cache Creek Casino Resort: Jewel of Californias Capay Valley

Johnson says the guest service staff takes care of your golf clubs and pampers you from start to finish – including a mango-scented towel at the end of your round. Other special touches include cloth-bucket seats in the golf carts, as well as state-of-the-art GPS systems with touch screens that allow players to order food, signal for assistance and calculate the distance of a hole.

Apparently, it’s an experience worth a long drive.  Johnson says many of their guests come from the Bay Area, about 100 miles away. “It’s a special place and everyone who comes up here realizes that. No two holes are alike. Every hole was designed to have different challenges and different yardages.” The wildlife approves, too. It’s not unusual for golfers to see bald eagles, deer, turkey, hawks, river otters and other natural inhabitants throughout the day.

Also on the property is a practice facility, featuring a large putting green, five target greens and white sand bunkers. Plus, a pro shop and an indoor/outdoor clubhouse that overlooks the course, where guests can dine and order a glass of Séka Hills wine, the tribe’s proprietary label, made from grapes that grow adjacent to the golf course.

In keeping with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation’s commitment to preserving environmental balance, the water used to irrigate the course is reclaimed water treated at a state-of-the-art water treatment facility at the resort, considered among the most advanced treatment systems in Northern California.

Green fees range from $69 to $105, depending on the season and day of the week. For details, click here.

About the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation:

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is a small, federally recognized tribe in the Capay Valley of Yolo County, California, with 62 enrolled members. Yocha Dehe means “home by the spring water.” They are descendants of the original people of the Capay Valley, and before colonization decimated its population, the Wintun Nation was comprised of 15,000 natives who had settled up and down California. The Indian Tribal Gaming Act helped turn this once poor tribe, completely dependent on the federal government, into a self-sufficient, economically independent enterprise due in large part to revenues from the Cache Creek Casino Resort. The tribe also holds interests in farmland, agriculture, cattle, wine and olive oil. It has contributed significantly to the welfare of the Yolo County community, the state of California and other native tribes. Dedicated stewards of the environment, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation received California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, in 2003.

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