Bridge of the gods

Native American casinos often have all of the amenities found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City resorts, and they often have a much more marketable heritage. Take, for instance, this new casino project, from KYZV:

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs on Friday unveiled the name and vision for Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino, the tribes’ controversial project proposed on vacant industrial land in Cascade Locks.

Tribal officials said the name and the identity are intended to recall the legend of Bridge of the Gods, a prehistoric land bridge spanning the Columbia River near the present-day town of Cascade Locks. The Bridge of the Gods was once used by Native Americans to travel between what is now Washington and Oregon.

“Our people have cared for this land and the mighty river for thousands of years, and have held the Columbia River Gorge and Bridge of the Gods sacred since time immemorial,” said Ron Suppah, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation. “In return the land and the river took care of us by providing food and shelter, and the name and vision for Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino is a reflection of that relationship.”

The proposed $389 million project in the Columbia River Gorge would be less than 45 miles from Portland, but needs approval from federal agencies. It has drawn fire from the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, which currently has the closest casino to the lucrative Portland market, the Spirit Mountain Casino west of Salem. The Grand Ronde went so far in recent months as to offer to fund a new on-reservation casino, if the Warm Springs tribes would drop their off-reservation casino plans.

The new project’s identity features an artistic interpretation of the Bridge of the Gods, which is reflected in the waters of the Columbia River and separated by the text, “Bridge of the Gods Columbia River Resort Casino.”

At the center of the Bridge of the Gods facility design is a focus on the Columbia River, the dwellings that populated its banks and the people who were given this land by the creator since time immemorial. The facility is intended to reflect an ancient fishing village, appearing as a series of low-lying structures that vary in height, depth and composition.

Water plays a prominent role throughout the project, reminding us of a millennia of tribal life along the Columbia River. At the western entrance, a cascade of waterfalls known as Thundering Falls will tower above guests as they enter the building. The southern entry will be more representative of the region’s dry season, with trickling water and more exposed rock surfaces. – Central Oregon’s Local News – New casino’s name: ‘Bridge of the Gods’

As a historian, I know as well as anyone that all cultures and nations have fascinating histories, but you’ve got to admit that this is something else. I mean, Atlantic City’s idea of drawing on its “heritage” is to name its minor league hockey team the “Boardwalk Bullies.”

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