Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Litigation
Gun Lake Tribe: Business as usual despite Supreme Court ruling


The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, said operations at its casino in Michigan will continue as normal despite a negative decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The justices ruled that a lawsuit challenging the tribe's land-into-trust application can move forward. But Chairman D.K. Sprague said the decision won't affect the Gun Lake Casino for now.

“The Supreme Court clearly stated that this decision was not based on the merits," Sprague said. "This is simply a procedural decision that has no impact on operations at Gun Lake Casino. The casino will continue to operate, employee over 800 area residents, and provide millions of dollars to state and local governments."

The Supreme Court remanded the case to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals so it will likely end up before Judge Richard Leon of the Federal District Court in D.C.. Sprague said a decision on the merits could take years.

We are ready to continue that fight in federal court and we are confident the facts will clearly prove once and for all that Patchak’s claims have absolutely no merit," Sprague said, referring to David Patchak, the non-Indian who filed the lawsuit.

"The tribe would prefer to devote its resources to the economic development of the area; however, since Patchak’s lawsuit dictates otherwise, the tribe will do what is necessary to prevail," Sprague added.

Supreme Court Decision:
Salazar v. Patchak (June 18, 2012)

Oral Argument Transcript:
Salazar v. Patchak (April 23, 2012)

DC Circuit Decision:
Patchak v. Salazar (January 21, 2011)

Related Stories:
Supreme Court rules DOI can be sued over Gun Lake casino land (6/18)