Cowlitz Tribe celebrates 20 years since recognition

DRUMMING, SINGING and dancing were part of a Feb. 16 program held to celebrate 20 years since the Cowlitz Tribe gained official federal government recognition. Most of the drummers and singers are members of the 4,200-member Tribe which operates the ilani Resort and Casino near Ridgefield.

ilani casino is set to reopen at noon Thursday, May 28, following a special blessing and smudging ceremony at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be complete with a ribbon cutting and the Cowlitz Drum Group.

The casino decided to suspend operations back in March in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, which was put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once open, ilani will have new safety protocols in place to “maintain the health and safety of all ilani staff and guests.”

The new protocols will adhere to guidelines established by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as well as Washington state health authorities, according to the announcement. New protocols at the casino include maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others as much as possible, the addition of plexiglass barriers throughout the property and hand sanitizing stations throughout the casino. ilani is also requiring all employees to wear face masks for protection and asks the public to take the same precautions. Along with this, thermal temperature scanning will be required before entering the property and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to return when they are healthy again.

The casino will continue to be open for 24 hours a day after May 28.

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