indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
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...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native News News: Ojibwe flautist shares message with music (3/4)
Audio: Senate Indian Affairs Committee takes up IRRIGATE Act (3/4)
9th Circuit to consider Medicine Lake sacred site dispute again (3/4)
Winona LaDuke: Ingrid Washinawatok's vision remains strong (3/4)
Tim Ballew: Northwest Indian College builds on tribal traditions (3/4)
Steven Newcomb: Domination doctrine and the Quinault Nation (3/4)
Stanley Heller: Help eliminate an Indian mascot in Connecticut (3/4)
Editorial: Mascot reflects history of violence and discrimination (3/4)
Column: Work with tribes in Washington on marijuana industry (3/4)
Navajo Nation files human rights petition to protect sacred site (3/4)
Senate fails to override Obama's veto of Keystone XL measure (3/4)
Yakama Nation woman fights tribe for custody of 12-year-old (3/4)
Chumash Tribe cheers introduction of land-into-trust measure (3/4)
Leader of Chippewa Cree Tribe ousted from office for 3rd time (3/4)
Yurok Tribe planning to debut new justice facility in the spring (3/4)
UTTC president named to panel to choose new UND nickname (3/4)
Another lawsuit filed over former federal judge's racist emails (3/4)
Cowlitz Tribe still waiting for BIA to place gaming site in trust (3/4)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe hails decision in gaming dispute (3/4)
Mohegan Tribe remains interested in new casino near border (3/4)
Mashantucket Tribe joins gaming proposal in Massachusetts (3/4)
Opinion: Florida gaming expansion bill leads to less gaming (3/4)
Native Sun News: Mine proposed near Black Hills sacred site (3/3)
Native youth send video message to Obama on Keystone XL (3/3)
Lummi Nation leader moves ahead with tribal cannabis group (3/3)
BIA to award another $8M in Tribal Climate Resilience grants (3/3)
DOI to host listening session on buy-back program in Arizona (3/3)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on IRRIGATE Act (3/3)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation improves notification system (3/3)
Patty Talahongva: Native youth become Champions for Change (3/3)
Mary Pember: Bad River Band wins as massive mine put on hold (3/3)
Albert Bender: A travesty of justice in attack on Indian children (3/3)
Vince Two Eagles: Native Americans are citizens in our nations (3/3)
Column: Navajo Nation takes basketball obsession to new level (3/3)
Dozens of Native languages down to limited number of speakers (3/3)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe seeks information about drug overdose (3/3)
Man from Omaha Tribe sentenced as habitual domestic offender (3/3)
Man from Oglala Sioux Tribe charged for abusing infant daughter (3/3)
Village sues DOI over Oneida Nation land-into-trust documents (3/3)
Editorial: Navajo Nation set to choose new president on April 21 (3/3)
Yerington Paiute Tribe reports another incident at youth facility (3/3)
Mohegan Tribe names one of its own to head gaming enterprise (3/3)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and state in court over casino plan (3/3)
Muscogee Nation set for big job far as part of casino expansion (3/3)
Seminole Tribe touts compact as lawmakers take up expansion (3/3)
Lawmakers in Nebraska table bill affecting expansion of gaming (3/3)
Just Joking: Humor from National Congress of American Indians (3/2)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne family celebrates history (3/2)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native snipers among world's deadliest (3/2)
Omaha Tribe welcomes denial of rehearing in boundary lawsuit (3/2)
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.