Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Our friends at Chicken Ranch Casino dealt us a winning hand when they anteed up for the first-ever 49er Festival Parade sponsorship. No, it’s not a coincidence that there’s also a Chicken Dance Flash Mob in the making (another Festival First) honoring our dear departed Miguel Maldonado, whose wish was that everyone do the Chicken Dance for his memorial service. The Parade sponsorship and Miguel’s final wish just seemed to go together hand-in-hand (or hand-in-claw) so we just had to put it out there.
Most of us already know that Chicken Ranch Casino is, by their own admission, “a tiny bit weird” and “a whole lot of fun.” Some of us know that this small but soon-to-be much bigger casino resort is owned and operated by the Chicken Ranch Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians of
California. But here’s a little more background for you to scratch on.
The Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians historically flourished as a relatively moderate sized community of Me-Wuk Natives in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Their original hunting and gathering territories stretched from the Table Mountain area of New Melones to the rolling hills of the lower Red Hills area.
The proliferation of the land by mining and logging operations over the past 150+ years, intertwined with western settlers purchasing repatriated land in the area, reduced the historical territory of the Chicken Ranch Tribe to their current 2.85 acre parcel just below the south eastern face of Table Mountain. In 1985, the Tribe received Federal Recognition as an autonomous Native America Tribe of California. In efforts to be economically self-sustaining, they opened one of the first Native bingo halls in the state of California.
After growing the operation into a full-fledged casino business with 280+ team members, in 2019, the Tribe added the Mathiesen Clinic and historic Jamestown Hotel to its portfolio of local businesses they own and operate. They also built the new Tribal Government building where operations and policy of the organization as a whole is overseen by the Tribal Council.
On August 24, 2021, the Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians (along with project partners and cohorts) officially broke ground on the new Chicken Ranch Casino scheduled to be operational by late 2023. The new Chicken Ranch Casino is anticipated to be the gold standard of Casino operations and destinations west of the Mississippi.
The new nine-story property will marry modern luxuries and state-of-the-art technology with an inspired design that subtly echoes the feather logo into its architecture and provides breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada. Outfitted with 190+ rooms, the hotel will include a luxury day spa, fitness center, dynamic rooftop pool and event space. The new gaming floor will see an expansion from the current casino, increasing the number of machines by 30% while bolstering table game offerings.
But did you know that in addition to being one of the county’s largest employers, the Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians are generous but humble supporters of the community? From supporting the Youth Sports Foundation of Tuolumne County to providing funds for Resiliency Village, which serves the county’s homeless population, to making donations to Jamestown School District for much-needed classroom supplies, furniture, and field trips, to sponsoring Highway 120’s biggest annual event, the Chicken Ranch Tribe helps many local organizations make ends meet and uplift our community economically and in spirit.
Here it is, straight from the chicken’s beak: “The Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians are dedicated to provide an empowering and enlightening environment for current and future generations of this Tribe, whilst acknowledging that our local non-native community is also a cherished vessel of friends, family, and cohorts.”
A mighty THANK YOU to our neighbors and friends of the Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians. Being part of a cherished vessel is a great honor, indeed. We’ll see you at the Parade.
Bring on the Chicken.