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Fort Sill Apache Tribe sues NIGC over casino bid in New Mexico

Filed Under: Litigation | NIGC
More on: bia, class ii, fort sill apache, igra, land-into-trust, new mexico, oklahoma

The Fort Sill Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. Photo © Fort Sill Apache Tribe.

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe filed suit against the National Indian Gaming Commission on Friday over plans for a casino in New Mexico.

In 2009, the tribe opened a Class II facility on trust land in the southern part of the state. The tribe quickly closed the facility in hopes of resolving a dispute with the NIGC over the legal status of the land.

Five years later, the NIGC has yet to issue a decision. So the tribe is suing the agency in federal court.

"We were looking forward to the expedited review, but after waiting so long, it’s apparent that the agency isn’t going to honor that agreement either, despite promises to the contrary over the years,” Chairman Jeff Haozous said in a press release.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs placed 30 acres in trust for the tribe in 2002. The land was declared a reservation in 2011.

However, the NIGC previously determined that the land can't be used for gaming. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, generally, bars gaming on land acquired after 1998.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Fort Sill Apache Tribe v. NIGC, which was filed in the federal district court in Washington, D.C.

Get the Story:
Fort Sill Apache tribe sues feds as part of multi-year quest to open casino (The Las Cruces Sun-News 6/10)
Newly recognized tribe sues to reopen casino in New Mexico (The Santa Fe New Mexican 6/10)
Southern New Mexico Casino Delay Prompts Lawsuit (KRWG 6/9)

Federal Register Notice:
Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Fort Sill Apache Indian Tribe (November 28, 2011)

NIGC Indian Land Opinions:
May 19, 2008 | April 30, 2009

Related Stories:
Fort Sill Apache Tribe awaits NIGC ruling for bingo games (1/23)

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