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
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Michigan tribe finally acquires land base for casino
Monday, January 30, 2006

After more than six years of delays, a Michigan tribe finally claimed victory on Friday when the Bureau of Indian Affairs placed its land into trust.

Less than a month after winning a favorable court decision, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians celebrated another milestone. "This is an historic moment," said chairman John Miller. "A new day has dawned for our tribe."

The tribe can now move forward with plans to open a casino on 675 acres of ancestral territory in New Buffalo Township in Berrien County. The $160 million Four Winds Casino Resort is expected to generate 1,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs.

"The tribe is ecstati" Miller said.

While the tribe's wait for trust land status is not the longest on record -- the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Dakota has been locked in litigation for more than a decade -- the Pokagon case has become symbolic of the delays being encountered at the local, state and federal level due to controversy over the expansion of the $19 billion tribal casino industry.

Michigan is home to more than 20 tribal and non-tribal gaming facilities but opposition groups have delayed the Pokagon Band's casino and casinos sought by three other tribes. As a result, the Interior Department has imposed new requirements on tribes who seek to acquire land for gaming purposes.

Tribes must now submit costly and time-consuming environmental assessments and environmental impact reports. The process is taking years to complete, as decisions on gaming matters are now being made by career bureaucrats and political appointees in Washington, D.C.

The landscape could change significantly under reforms currently being considered in Congress. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, has held a series of hearings on gaming and has introduced a bill that would alter the land-into-trust process for tribes like the Pokagon Band.

As a restored tribe, the Pokagon Band qualifies for an exception under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to conduct gaming on newly acquired lands. The tribe also has a separate act of Congress that directs the Interior Department to acquire land in trust.

But McCain's new bill would eliminate the section of IGRA that benefits restored, landless and newly recognized tribes. Instead, these tribes would have to demonstrate a "temporal, cultural, and geographic nexus" to the land they seek to have placed in trust.

The next hearing on the issue takes place on Wednesday, February 1, before the committee. McCain has scheduled yet another hearing on gaming on February 28, one of a handful expected this year as Congress considers amending IGRA, which became law in 1988.

"After 17 years, the gaming act needs to be updated," John Tahsuda, an aide to McCain on the committee, told tribal leaders at the Western Indian Gaming Conference earlier this month.

As for the Pokagon Band, the tribe expects to start construction on the casino in late spring or early summer. The facility could be open within 10 to 12 months.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
TOMAC v. Norton (January 6, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians - http://www.pokagon.com

Related Stories:
Senate panel delves into gaming again for 2006 (01/25)
Lobbying reform, gaming high on Congressional agenda (01/20)
Appeals court sides with tribe in trust land dispute (01/09)
Michigan tribe questions land-into-trust delay (01/05)
Appeals court hears Pokagon Potawatomi casino case (12/09)
Michigan tribe not worried about industry changes (10/04)
Tribal leader wants probe of Griles-Abramoff links (08/31)
Abramoff tried to hire Griles at lobbying firm (8/29)
Traffi crime a concern for Nottawaseppi casino (08/25)
BIA holds public hearing on Nottawaseppi casino (08/24)
Michigan tribe wants to intervene in casino case (07/29)
Lawsuit planned over Michigan tribe's casino (06/13)
Michigan tribe ready to hire for disputed casino (06/02)
Pokagon Band predicts win on land-into-trust appeal (05/25)
Michigan group files appeal of land-into-trust case (05/24)
Michigan tribe pushes for compact negotiations (05/17)
GOP congressman introduces anti-Indian gaming bill (05/13)
Michigan governor ready to negotiate compact (04/22)
BIA takes land into trust for Michigan tribe's casino (04/20)
Michigan tribe scores victory in casino land case (03/29)
Editorial: Ruling for Michigan casino not good news (03/29)
Michigan tribes pleased with action over compacts (02/23)
Supreme Court turns down gaming compact case (02/22)
Michigan governor surprised by anti-compact vote (12/16)
Michigan court considers tribal compact dispute (12/14)
Michigan Supreme Court upholds gaming pacts (08/02)
Mich. tribe clears hurdle for $100M casino project (03/24)
Mich. tribe's casino plans scuttled by lawsuits (03/15)

Copyright 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Indian farmers question Keepseagle attorneys (8/22)
Brandon Ecoffey: Navajo golfer Rickie Fowler is a fast-rising star (8/22)
Oglala Sioux leader and educator Gerald One Feather passes on (8/22)
Indigenous Fine Arts Market kicks off big weekend in New Mexico (8/22)
Gyasi Ross: Native people are all too familiar with police brutality (8/22)
Melanie Yazzie: Border town violence connected to colonization (8/22)
Ray Young Bear: No tribal member wants to be known by R-word (8/22)
Washington Post: Editorial board will no longer use R-word 'slur' (8/22)
Matthew Murguia: The facts are clear on Washington NFL mascot (8/22)
Three Indian artists selected as NEA's National Heritage Fellows (8/22)
President of Navajo Nation bans smoking in executive buildings (8/22)
Recently recognized Tejon Tribe to close enrollment next month (8/22)
Cowlitz Tribe pays $1.4M for building to be used as medical office (8/22)
Nooksack Tribe must answer to casino loan lawsuit in state court (8/22)
Menominee Nation remains confident with off-reservation casino (8/22)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe parts ways with 'face' of casino (8/22)
Iipay Nation plans to offer real money Internet poker next week (8/22)
Seneca Nation shared $13.9M in casino revenue with community (8/22)
Native Sun News: DOJ backs tribes in ICWA case in South Dakota (8/21)
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux Tribe's police force is in 'shambles' (8/21)
Ryan Wilson: Native language immersion programs need support (8/21)
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic celebrates grand opening of building (8/21)
Walt Lamar: Remove Gary Edwards from law enforcement group (8/21)
Secretary Jewell issues order and guidance on trust relationship (8/21)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes see $7.4M for buyback (8/21)
North Dakota tribe accused of concealing data on pipeline spill (8/21)
Navy rejects transfer of surplus property to Narragansett Tribe (8/21)
Kake Tribe returns to site of 1857 deadly attack in Washington (8/21)
Opinion: Nez Perce Tribe defends its homeland from big energy (8/21)
KCUR: Modern and historic Indian art on display in Kansas City (8/21)
Mike Wise: Longtime NFL referee avoided Washington's games (8/21)
Enterprise Rancheria sues state over delayed Class III compact (8/21)
Santee Sioux Tribe working to bring more attractions to casino (8/21)
Mashantucket Tribe sees credit hit as casino competition grows (8/21)
Chumash Tribe to respond to concerns about casino expansion (8/21)
Travel: Smoking allowed at tribal casinos in northern California (8/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe gears up for uranium battle (8/20)
Eyapaha Today: J. Waylon Miller leads Friends of Cesar Romero (8/20)
Sandra Fox: Fixing the education system for our Indian children (8/20)
Albert Bender: US-backed genocide in Guatemalan spurs exodus (8/20)
Mark Chavaree: Penobscot Nation fights to save namesake river (8/20)
Mark Rogers: One more day with post-traumatic stress disorder (8/20)
Still no word on Cobell payments as end of August approaches (8/20)
Native boy found safe after going missing for nearly 24 hours (8/20)
9th Circuit allows Lummi Nation to pursue fishing rights claims (8/20)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe gains support for land claim agreement (8/20)
Delaware Tribe to discuss plans for land with officials in Kansas (8/20)
Wind River Reservation students enjoy back-to-school haircuts (8/20)
Review: Native man serves as anti-hero in 'Winter In The Blood' (8/20)
Bill introduced to extend recognition to Clatsop-Nehalem Tribe (8/20)
Governor pressed on Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (8/20)
Group seeks referendum on Tohono O'odham Nation casino deal (8/20)
Lawmakers approve Class III gaming compact with Karuk Tribe (8/20)
Enterprise Rancheria awaits action on Class III gaming compact (8/20)
Wampanoag casino opponents hope to catch Obama's attention (8/20)
Opinion: Tribal gaming creates short term and long term benefits (8/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala man's business dealings under scrutiny (8/19)
Mark Trahant: Behind the scenes of Obamacare in Indian Country (8/19)
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.