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
Dynamic Homes
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:
Tim Giago: Taking a trip down memory lane with Lakota Times (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe puts hold on ethics board (4/24)
Steven Newcomb: Gradual stealing of Western Shoshone land (4/24)
John Kane: Keystone battle is about Native identity and land (4/24)
Albert Bender: Cowboys and Indians unite to fight Keystone (4/24)
Joyce Oberly: Teach all sides of tribal land theft in Oklahoma (4/24)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Treating Native culture as a commodity (4/24)
Al Jazeera: Pascua Yaqui Tribe looks for justice under VAWA (4/24)
Northern Arapaho Tribe per cap stirs boost in local economy (4/24)
Navajo Nation Council fails to revive higher tax on junk foods (4/24)
Graton Rancheria defends decision to pave over historic site (4/24)
North Dakota commission backs power line opposed by tribes (4/24)
Former Cedarville Rancheria leader back in court for murders (4/24)
Florida court rejects tribal jurisdiction in child custody dispute (4/24)
South Dakota Tribal Relations Secretary to step down from job (4/24)
Yakama Nation sues to put a stop to tours on sacred mountain (4/24)
CSKT firm lands $1.8M contract to provide military equipment (4/24)
Indiana settles lawsuit over religious rights of Indian inmates (4/24)
District leaders on Tohono O'odham Nation removed over theft (4/24)
Morongo Band announces partnership for Internet poker game (4/24)
Snoqualmie Tribe seeks repayment of investment in Fiji casino (4/24)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe expected to miss second gaming payment (4/24)
Judge won't block construction of Jamul Indian Village casino (4/24)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe awaits decision in gaming lawsuit (4/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala student makes name as young writer (4/23)
Mark Trahant: Budget predictions at the Indian Health Service (4/23)
Zoltán Grossman: Cowboy Indian Alliance rides in Washington (4/23)
Gyasi Ross: Stop Keystone XL Pipeline and protect homelands (4/23)
Videos: Cowboy Indian Alliance protests Keystone XL Pipeline (4/23)
Steve Russell: Indians often seen an obstacle to government (4/23)
Mary Pember: Ojibwe women rise to protect the environment (4/23)
Brent Cahwee: Shoni Schimmel brings her show to the WNBA (4/23)
Malcolm Benally: Some Navajo leaders clueless on mascots (4/23)
Jacoby Ellsbury makes strong debut with New York Yankees (4/23)
Washington team owner says he 'understands' Indian issues (4/23)
Gathering of Nations ready for annual powwow and pageant (4/23)
Paskenta Band suspends family during contentious meeting (4/23)
Navajo family sues restaurant over drunken driving deaths (4/23)
Crushplate: 10 disturbing facts about Indian Country health (4/23)
North Dakota tribe ranks high among energy producers in US (4/23)
WXPR: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe taps green energy (4/23)
Opinion: Tribal members challenge California taxation rules (4/23)
Supreme Court allows ban on affirmative action in Michigan (4/23)
Turtle Talk: No word from Supreme Court on Bay Mills case (4/23)
ICT interview with Ernie Stevens of NIGA on racist mascots (4/23)
Jamul Band rejects claim about burial ground at casino site (4/23)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sends $1M casino application fee (4/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation seeks road grant for off-reservation casino (4/23)
Teacher resigns after arrest for theft at Poarch Creek casino (4/23)
Native Sun News: Sisseton Wahpeton fighter gets big chance (4/22)
Native Sun News: Pine Ridge man behind Revolution Couture (4/22)
CDC reports show high death rates among Native Americans (4/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | 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.