indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Job Opening - Editor - Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Times
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Gaming clouds already lengthy land-into-trust process
Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Bush administration has made 15 favorable land-into-trust for gaming decisions since 2001 but opposition is delaying the process by years, a senior Bureau of Indian Affairs official said this week.

George Skibine, the acting deputy secretary for economic development and policy, said rumors of a moratorium on land-into-trust decisions are unfounded. But he acknowledged that lengthy challenges to the process make it appear that nothing is happening at the Interior Department.

In reality, Skibine said the Bureau of Indian Affairs has agreed to 15 gaming-related land acquisitions. Most of the decisions are for tribes that were newly recognized or had their federal recognition restored after being terminated. Two involved off-reservation gaming proposals.

Yet every single decision has been challenged in court, Skibine added. Although the federal government, so far, has won every single case, he said the litigation poses a real problem.

"It takes a lot of time to win those lawsuits," Skibine said during a panel at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He said the two off-reservation casinos never became reality because the state governor, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, vetoed them.

But even non-gaming acquisitions face delays, said Deron Marquez, the outspoken chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California. The tribe operates a successful casino but isn't seeking land for gaming purposes.

"It's taken almost eight years to get land into trust for housing," Marquez said at the panel. Land-into-trust requests for legitimate social, education and other needs "all of a sudden become clouded" due to gaming, he observed.

Skibine and Marquez linked the opposition to growing concern over off-reservation gaming. Skibine said he has nine pending applications for gaming on "far flung" lands that might be hundreds of miles away from an existing reservation.

Marquez and his tribe have been leading Indian Country criticism against the practice. He said it threatens to destroy everything tribes have worked for since the passage of IGRA in 1988.

"The quickest way to end Indian gaming today is reservation shopping," he said, referring to the term used to describe proposals to obtain land away from existing reservations, sometimes in other states.

John Tahsuda, the majority deputy staff director for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, offered a Congressional perspective on the debate. He said "steam" is building up among some lawmakers to curtail, or stop, off-reservation gaming.

"At some point, something's going to happen to let some of this [steam] out," he told attendees.

Tahsuda said he wasn't speaking for his boss, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), but McCain, who chairs the committee, has questioned the practice. "If we have enough off-reservation casinos set up in America we're going to see a backlash against Indian gaming, because that was not the intent of the law," McCain said at a hearing this summer.

Tahsuda outlined efforts to address the situation and warned that they could dramatically alter the way the land-into-trust process works.

Litigation has already forced the BIA to make changes, as the agency now requires tribes to prepare an environmental impact statement for their land acquisitions. Previously, a less-strict environmental assessment was used but court challenges in Michigan prompted the government to make the new requirement.

Related Stories:
Trust land challenge rejected by appeals court (9/15)
NIGC develops system to track Indian lands (07/28)
Bush officials worried about off-reservation gaming (05/20)
BIA official confirms tribes skipping IGRA process (05/19)
Perception and realities in land-into-trust debate (05/19)
Senate panel urged to move with caution on gaming (04/28)
Experts debate legality of revenue-sharing compacts (04/18)
Gaming summit ends with promise but little else (03/31)
Professor downplays impact of off-reservation gaming (3/30)
McCain takes on controversial topics in 109th Congress (03/07)
States asking too much of tribes, leaders say (02/16)
Off-reservation casinos spur action in California (01/28)
California tribes face divisions on key issues (01/27)
Diverse views aired at Indian gaming discussion (11/19)
Column: Big Tim Pawlenty now the Big Indian Fighter (11/01)
Minnesota tribes blast GOP's gaming ads (10/29)
Minnesota governor wants $350M from tribes (10/22)
BIA caught in debate over off-reservation gaming (07/14)
House committee hearing tackles tough topic (7/13)
BIA official promises policy on off-reservation gaming (06/30)
Court upholds off-reservation gaming provision in IGRA (04/30)
IGRA amendments mired in debate over revenues (04/13)
Senate panel debates changes to Indian gaming act (03/25)
Tribal leaders share views on threats to sovereignty (01/20)
Calif. tribes confront 'dangers' facing gaming (01/15)
Campbell cites pressure facing Indian gaming industry (08/05)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Urban Indian organization seeks new center (11/26)
Tentative schedule for White House Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
White House invites youth to DC for Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
Leslie Wheelock: Touting nation-to-nation trading and tourism (11/26)
Kevin Abourezk: A mystery of Indian agents with same name (11/26)
Michael Allen: My ancestor took part in Sand Creek Massacre (11/26)
Dean Suagee: EPA's Clean Power Plan affects Indian Country (11/26)
Mark Rogers: Finding something to be thankful for this holiday (11/26)
Former convicted leader of Crow Tribe seeks to clear his name (11/26)
Blackfeet Nation denies political motive in arrest of ex-leader (11/26)
Appeal set in dispute over Navajo Nation presidential hopeful (11/26)
Judge allows NFL team lawsuit against young Native activists (11/26)
NPR: Alaska Natives put traditional spin on Thanksgiving meal (11/26)
Column: Group helps rescue dogs from Pine Ridge Reservation (11/26)
First Nation offers reward for information about missing man (11/26)
First Nations face loss of funds over failure to submit salaries (11/26)
Santa Ysabel Band responds to state lawsuit over online bingo (11/26)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation to meet over liquor sales at casino (11/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe could lose casino's liquor license (11/26)
Mashantucket Tribe looks to shift revenues away from gaming (11/26)
Agua Caliente Band selects planner to revamp land near casino (11/26)
Washington gaming panel cuts jobs as non-Indian revenue falls (11/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe to issue IDs at tournament (11/25)
James Giago Davies: Polygamy and shunning in Lakota culture (11/25)
Ben Shelly: There's a lot to be thankful for on the Navajo Nation (11/25)
Cara Cowan Watts: Share the blessings of the Cherokee Nation (11/25)
Joe Sexton: BIA's 'ugly' land policies stuck in the 19th century (11/25)
Jenny Durkan: Cop who killed Native man wasn't charged either (11/25)
Oklahoma claims Citizen Potawatomi Nation must collect taxes (11/25)
Divided court won't extend Seneca Nation immunity to business (11/25)
Vice: North Dakota tribe sees $25M a month in energy royalties (11/25)
Members of Lumbee Tribe proud to carry on tradition of service (11/25)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe donates $10K to local food pantry (11/25)
Slate: Non-Indians were encouraged to move to tribal territory (11/25)
Column: Remains of Dakota man hanged in 1862 kept in home (11/25)
Family members plead guilty to thefts from reservation town (11/25)
Authorities investigate fatal crash involving Bad River officer (11/25)
Editorial: Yakama Nation must disclose plans for clean water (11/25)
Roy Burton: Montana tribe puts its people at risk with gaming (11/25)
Lawmaker asks BIA to wait on Cowlitz Tribe casino acquisition (11/25)
Gaming compacts on agenda for 2015 session in New Mexico (11/25)
Quapaw Tribe faces even more competition for Kansas casino (11/25)
Pala Band wins final approval for online gaming in New Jersey (11/25)
Mashantucket Tribe still thinking about Massachusetts casino (11/25)
Tim Giago: Cornflakes every Sunday at Indian boarding school (11/24)
Charles Trimble: A time to give thanks -- For whatever reason (11/24)
Mark Trahant: Incoming Alaska governor opens doors to tribes (11/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.