Cowlitz Tribe Honors Tribal Perseverance With Casino Name 'Ilani'


The Cowlitz Tribe has branded its forthcoming $510 million casino with a unique name: Ilani, meaning "sing" in the Cowlitz language.

The name reflects the tribe's spirit, strength and unity — particularly through a turbulent 160-year period of landlessness during which the tribe continuously pressed for its right to federal recognition and a reservation, reported

More than a decade in the making with a projected spring 2017 debut, the 368,000-square-foot casino will feature 15 various restaurant/bar retail and entertainment establishments, plus a 2,500-people event center. An eight-story hotel will feature 250 guest rooms.

"We’re not targeting just gamers with this facility," project General Manager Kara Fox-LaRose told "We really will be unique within the gaming market in Washington."

The resort will create 1,000 permanent jobs and the tribe will hold job fairs later this summer to fill the still unassigned positions.

"Whether you’re interested in hospitality, back of house, human resources, IT, facilities, (or) marketing, a lot of great things are happening," said Fox-LaRose.

Ilani casino is slated for Interstate 5 Exit 16, near La Center, about 20 miles north of Vancouver, Washington. The City of Vancouver and the tribe are collaborating on cross-promotion projects, such as encouraging gaming guests to stay overnight at the Vancouver Hilton, while the tribe builds out its hotel beside its Ilani casino, Tribal Chairman Bill Iyall told

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