San Manuel Casino Breaks Ground on Major Expansion
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians held a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday, July 25th for an expansion to their casino, which includes a new hotel and a concert venue. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper reports.
In an air-conditioned tent outside the San Manuel Casino, the San Manuel Bird Singers are singing a song passed down by tribal elders to a gathering of tribal members, patrons, and media.
The reason? Yaamava’.
Yaamava’ means “spring” in Serrano, which is the language of the First Nations people native to the San Bernardino area. It’s what the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians named the ground-breaking ceremony for their casino’s latest expansion.
Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Indians, says that the word marks a new season of life and potential for the tribe.
“Our Serrano language has inspired us to declare this a time of Yamavaa’, or springtime. When this very ground before us will unveil a transformations blossoming with new possibilities.”
The new expansion will include several major additions to the existing casino. Those include the new hotel, a new parking garage, a concert venue, and a space for restaurants and retail stores.
Jerry Paresa, CEO of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, says all this development will help spur economic development in the area.
“Now we have an opportunity with this project to make an even greater impact on our region. The hotel expansion launched today will create a destination with shopping and entertainment options that this region has heretofore not seen.”
The additional parking structure will be the first part of the expansion to be built – the tribe expects to begin construction on the hotel and concert venue within a year.