indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
NIGC rules against Okla. tribe's casino in Kansas
Friday, March 26, 2004

An Oklahoma tribe's out-of-state casino has been deemed illegal by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

A 24-page opinion issued through the agency's top lawyer rejected the Wyandotte Nation's right to game in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The tribe has been operating a Class II facility on on a sliver of trust land since August of last year, citing historical ties to the area.

But NIGC's acting general counsel, Penny Coleman, said the land was taken into trust too late and for the wrong reasons. While acknowledging that the tribe exercises jurisdiction over the Shriner Tract -- a key factor in the analysis -- she invoked the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's ban on gaming on lands acquired after 1988.

The land, Coleman wrote, does not fall within the tribe's "last reservation," it was not acquired as the result of a land claim and it was not restored when the tribe regained federal recognition in 1978. "Therefore, the tribe may not game on the Shriner Tract pursuant to IGRA," she said in the March 24 opinion. [PDF: 1.3 MB]

Reached at his office in Wyandotte, Oklahoma, Chief Leaford Bearskin said NIGC hadn't informed him of its decision, which was accompanied by a letter addressed to him. "I have no comment until I get notified," he said.

Kansas attorney general Phill Kline, though, took it as a victory in his quest to shut the facility down. "We now call upon the Wyandotte Nation to immediately halt gaming activity on the Shriner Tract and to remove all gaming devices to comply with the decision of the NIGC," he said.

Kline's urgency is natural because the state and its four federally-recognized tribes have fought the Wyandotte Nation's gaming plans for several years. The tribes all operate casinos pursuant to compacts with the state.

But Coleman's long-awaited decision has ripples elsewhere because state officials and politicians nationwide are seeking guidance on whether tribes can operate casinos on lands hundreds of miles away from their current reservations or, in some cases, in other states.

Just as the ruling was finalized, a Bureau of Indian Affairs official raised the issue at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. George Skibine, the acting deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development, said his agency has found nothing in IGRA to limit gaming to existing tribal lands.

Skibine told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that "it would definitely be an economic benefit to tribes" to acquire off-reservation or out-of-state lands pursuant to a section of IGRA, known as section 2719, that sets out the requirements for these types of acquisitions. In an interview after the hearing, he stressed that there was "no legislative history" on this issue.

But in the decision, Coleman countered that, "This section of IGRA limits, not expands, the right to game. It is clear that Congress intended to allow some gaming to occur on lands acquired after enactment of IGRA under this provision, but specifically disallowed gaming on newly acquired lands far from the current prior reservation."

Affie Ellis, an NIGC spokesperson, wasn't ready to consider the two statements a conflict. "We want to be consistent with what's in section 2719," she said. The Shriner Tract, she noted, "was acquired into trust in 1996 and did not meet any of the exceptions" laid out in the section.

In the Wyandotte Nation's case, that meant first evaluating whether the tribe has jurisdiction over the parcel. Citing a number of governmental actions, including an agreement with the local government, NIGC concluded the tribe indeed exercises authority.

Second, Coleman considered whether the land was in the tribe's "last recognized reservation within the state within which the tribe is presently located." Since the tribe is "presently located" in Oklahoma, where its headquarters are based, she determined that this exception was not met.

Next, NIGC looked at whether the tribe could satisfy the land claim exception. The tribe did purchase the tract with settlement funds but Coleman said the funds were awarded by the Indian Claims Commission, whose purpose was "to ascertain money damages" -- not award land.

Finally, Coleman examined whether the land qualifies as "restored" since the tribe, after being terminated in 1956, regained federal recognition in 1978. Section 2719 provides an exception for restored tribes.

But the tribe does not meet the test due to the 18-year gap between restoration and the Shriner Tract purchase, Coleman said. While the long wait is not a complete bar, she acknowledged, the fact that the tribe received trust land in Oklahoma in in interim detracted from the tribe's case.

Also, Coleman said the tribe has no "historical nexus" to the land even though tribal ancestors are buried in the cemetery. She argued that the tribe lived in the Kansas City area for less than a decade before being removed to Oklahoma.

Coleman's accompanying letter to Chief Bearskin gave the tribe a week to respond to the opinion. Ellis said the agency would evaluate its next step once the response is received.

Get the Decision:
Legality of Gaming under the IGRA on the Shriner Tract owned by the Wyandotte Tribe (March 24, 2003)

Other Documents:
BIA: Reconsideration on Wyandotte lands (June 12, 2003)

Relevant Links:
Wyandotte Nation of Oklahama - http://www.wyandotte-nation.org/home.html

Related Stories:
BIA issues decision on Wyandotte land in Kan. (07/25)
Column: 'Bad business deal' with tribe (11/12)
Column: 'Bad business deal' with tribe (11/12)
Wyandotte casino agreement approved (11/08)
Bush asked to oppose tribal land bill (10/25)
Casino money donated in Kan. race (10/24)
Kan. tribe blasts casino settlement bill (10/11)
Bill to settle land claim for casino (10/10)
Class action sought on land claim (08/27)
Column: Hostility at land claim forum (08/14)
Forum on Wyandotte lawsuit planned (08/06)
Kan. landowners served with tribe's suit (7/19)
Wyandotte land claim still alive (5/10)
Wyandotte trust land notice clarified (5/9)
In The Hoop: Oops!(5/8)
Wyandotte Nation to remove slots (5/1)
Is Wyandotte chief bluffing on casino? (4/26)
Wyandotte Nation moves on casino (4/18)
Wyandotte Tribe brazen on casino (4/17)
Kansas casino battle continues (4/15)
Okla. tribe brings slots to Kansas (4/12)
McCaleb affirms trust land decision (3/12)
Supreme Court refuses Wyandotte review (1/7)
Congress kills Wyandotte casino project (10/15)
Wyandotte company awarded $100M contract (8/17)
Sides prepare for land claim battle (6/21)
Battle over Kansas casino continues (2/28)
Wyandotte Nation sues over gaming (9/22)
Tribes oppose casino (9/15)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Quinault Nation prepares for journey to Standing Rock encampment (12/2)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois prophecies warn of grave dangers (12/2)
Brandon Ecoffey: Media gets it wrong on Dakota Access frontlines (12/2)
Bronson Koenig: What I found during my journey to Standing Rock (12/2)
Timothy Egan: Fake cowboys cheered while the real Indians suffer (12/2)
Lakota Country Times: Laced marijuana finds its way to Pine Ridge (12/2)
Native Sun News Today: Owner of Wounded Knee site lowers price (12/2)
David Ganje: An opportunity for tribes to clean up their homelands (12/2)
Mary Annette Pember: Tribal member arrested for string of arsons (12/2)
Tiffany Midge: The women are here and we have a message for you (12/2)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe calls for safety as veterans head to camp (12/1)
North Dakota sheriff scrubs Facebook of incriminating information (12/1)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp considers role in Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Daniel Brown: Ho-Chunk Nation celebrates a new day in Wisconsin (12/1)
Lakota Country Times: #NoDAPL kitchen in need of more supplies (12/1)
Native Sun News Today: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe summons allies (12/1)
Vi Waln: Sacred fire burns at Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota (12/1)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Veterans at Standing Rock for the good fight (12/1)
Native Sun News Today: Duane Big Crow relishes role in coaching (12/1)
Clara Caufield: Community at Northern Cheyenne stays connected (12/1)
Steven Newcomb: A message to the Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Alaska Native designer brings subsistence fashion to new audience (12/1)
Tohono O'odham Nation and state remain at odds in casino dispute (12/1)
United Keetoowah Band won't talk about plans for potential casino (12/1)
Wilton Rancheria continues to face mysterious opposition to casino (12/1)
Non-Indian firm set to open $1.3B casino outside of nation's capital (12/1)
Native youth remain hopeful as nation transitions to new president (11/30)
Sioux Nation to President Obama: Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (11/30)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care at risk with Trump administration (11/30)
Lakota Country Times: Herbalist brings medicine to Standing Rock (11/30)
Dana Lone Hill: A big 'wopila' to all the #NoDAPL water protectors (11/30)
Kelly Hayes: My whole heart is with the #NoDAPL water protectors (11/30)
Large veterans group heads to #NoDAPL frontline in North Dakota (11/30)
Native Sun News Today: Northern Cheyenne college hosts summit (11/30)
James Giago Davies: Mixed-race Indians forced to choose identity (11/30)
Cronkite News: Navajo chef takes helm at NMAI in nation's capitol (11/30)
Billy Stratton: The soldiers who refused the Sand Creek Massacre (11/30)
Gabriel Ray: Scotts Valley Band working to re-establish homeland (11/30)
Steve Russell: Resisting apartheid and genocide in the Trump era (11/30)
Charges filed after two children found malnourished at Pine Ridge (11/30)
Four Alaska Natives dead amid state outbreak of strep bacteria (11/30)
Pokagon Band breaks ground on housing project on Indiana land (11/30)
Ancestral remains found in Washington are about 2300 years old (11/30)
Former casino worker took $23K from Northern Cheyenne Tribe (11/30)
Sheriff hit with lawsuit as governor moves in on #NoDAPL camp (11/29)
Dakota Access Pipeline almost finished except at Lake Oahe site (11/29)
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.