indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Native nations unite on uranium mine cleanup (7/29)
Audio from House subcommittee hearing on five tribal measures (7/29)
House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs hearing (7/29)
Witness List: SCIA hearing on natural disasters in Indian Country (7/29)
Gyasi Ross: Tribes put principle over profit in banning Ted Nugent (7/29)
Steven Newcomb: UN perpetuates dominance of Native peoples (7/29)
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Music festival outlaws faux headdresses (7/29)
BIA holds final in-person meeting on federal recognition reform (7/29)
'Caucasians' t-shirt sees boost in popularity thanks to Native DJ (7/29)
WyoFile: Tribes depend on Medicaid funding for health services (7/29)
Another member of Miccosukee Tribe killed in fatal car accident (7/29)
Former employee sentenced for theft from Chippewa Cree Tribe (7/29)
Editorial: Washington team's 'racial slur' has no place in society (7/29)
Review: 'Unreal City' exploits coal from Hopi and Navajo tribes (7/29)
Senate bill introduced to kill Tohono O'odham Nation casino bid (7/29)
Mohegan Tribe reports declines in gaming revenues and profits (7/29)
Muscogee Nation adds steakhouse to $335M casino expansion (7/29)
Editorial: Proposed Pojoaque Pueblo compact hurts New Mexico (7/29)
Tim Giago: Lakota and Pueblo Indians on Pine Ridge Reservation (7/28)
Native Sun News: President of Oglala Sioux Tribe dodges bullets (7/28)
Puyallup fashion designer competes for prize in Project Runway (7/28)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets business meeting on bills (7/28)
NIEA heads to Capitol Hill to advocate for Native language bills (7/28)
Obama signs Pascua Yaqui and Hoonah Indian Association bills (7/28)
Ho-Chunk Inc executive Lance Morgan receives business honor (7/28)
Charles Roessel: BIE reform plan includes teacher certification (7/28)
Troy Eid: Marijuana experiment in Colorado hurts Indian youth (7/28)
BIA hosts scoping meeting on Paiute Tribe land-into-trust bid (7/28)
Cherokee Nation program keeps former inmates out of prison (7/28)
Grand Ronde Tribes disenroll 86 descendants of treaty signer (7/28)
Protest targets disenrollments within Saginaw Chippewa Tribe (7/28)
At least 10 tribes adopt laws to recognize same-sex mariages (7/28)
KUOW: Coeur d'Alene Tribe cleans meth houses with EPA funds (7/28)
Law Article: Supreme Court sends reminder on tribal immunity (7/28)
Unsettled: Passamaquoddy Tribe awaits constitutional reform (7/28)
KGOU: Indian Times review of news affecting Oklahoma tribes (7/28)
Judge hears dispute over United Keetoowah Band gaming site (7/28)
Chumash Tribe plans hotel tower with $160M casino expansion (7/28)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe changes architects for casino plan (7/28)
Soo Tribe casino partner was developer behind failed racetrack (7/28)
Editorial: State must negotiate compact with Pojoaque Pueblo (7/28)
Native Sun News: IHS hospital at Pine Ridge undergoes review (7/25)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Group disturbs tranquility at Bear Butte (7/25)
Indian Health Service discloses privacy breach of patient data (7/25)
BIA extends comment period on federal recognition regulation (7/25)
Navajo Nation president calling for FBI probe of brutal murders (7/25)
Jennie Stockle: Justice for victims of Cedarville mass shooting (7/25)
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.