your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Landless tribe in limbo due to court fight
Thursday, August 7, 2003

A federal judge won't stop the Department of Interior from taking land into trust for a California tribe that wants to open a casino in the Bay Area.

In a 28-page decision, U.S. District Judge David F. Levi rejected a preliminary injunction sought by a group of card club operators and charities. He said the threat they claimed was not serious enough to stop Secretary of Interior Gale Norton from following a federal law that requires a 10-acre site to be held in trust for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians.

"In short, none of plaintiffs' arguments establishes that plaintiffs will experience significant hardship if the Secretary takes the land into trust," Levi wrote yesterday.

But the ruling left open a question the plaintiffs have raised in the two-year-old case. Levi said there was not enough information on the record to determine whether the Lytton Band, just one of the many victims of termination, was properly restored its federal status in the 1980s.

Yet there is no guarantee that the tribe's federal recognition will even be an issue, Levi observed. "Neither the parties nor the court has found a single case where a court overturned the federal government's recognition of an Indian tribe," he cautioned.

The decision is the second in a suit prompted by legislation signed into law by former President Bill Clinton as he was leaving office. Known as the Omnibus Indian Advancement of 2000, one provision directs the Interior to take about 10 acres of land into trust for the tribe.

The site is the location of a card club called Casino San Pablo, which the tribe intends to turn into a full-blown Class III casino. It is located in San Pablo, less than 20 miles from downtown San Francisco.

The provision drew considerable controversy because it was inserted without serious Congressional debate. It does not allow the Interior discretion for taking the land into trust, foregoing what is usually a lengthy review and public comment process that can take years to complete.

The bill also "back dates" the land acquisition, freeing the tribe from a stringent requirement of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that requires federal and state approval, from the governor, before the land is taken into trust.

Still, the way the litigation is proceeding, the casino is far off. Landless as a result of termination, the tribe is currently tied up before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs, which include rivals to Casino San Pablo, are challenging Levi's July 2002 decision that upheld the constitutionality of more than 60 tribal gaming compacts. Yesterday's denial of a preliminary injunction is also appealable.

Even if the land is finally cleared for trust status, there is the issue of a compact. Gov. Gray Davis (D), who is facing a recall election October 7, said he won't negotiate until the tribe obtains land. But he also has voiced opposition to casinos in urban environments.

Officials in San Pablo have embraced the deal, which could temper further political opposition. Democrats and Republicans nationwide have become increasingly critical of what they call "reservation shopping." They say tribes in remote areas are searching for land in better locations only to open casinos.

The Lytton Band has about 250 members. The court's decision notes the tribe's poor economic well-being, a situation that will likely be changed by the casino. "Many of Lytton's members live in economically depressed conditions; 15 percent are homeless, 90 percent do not have health insurance, 40 to 50 percent of the adults are unemployed, and many members experience persistent problems with alcohol abuse, chronic depression, and lack of education," Levi wrote.

Get the Decision:
Artichoke Joe's v. Norton (August 6, 2002

Related Decision:
Artichoke Joe's v. Norton (July 29, 2002)

Relevant Laws:
The Omnibus Indian Advancement Act of 2000 (H.R.5528)

Related Stories:
Battle over urban casino continues (07/30)
Ruling a victory for Calif. tribes (7/30)
Calif. landless tribe faces setback (7/11)
Group challenges California gaming (2/8)
Trust land decision said sneaky (2/5)
Clinton signs a final Indian bill (12/29)

Copyright � 2000-2003 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:
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye endorses Hillary Clinton (10/21)
Twenty-Nine Palms Band disputes 'Trump, You're Fired' story (10/21)
Repatriation review committee announces additional meetings (10/21)
Native Sun News Today: Ping-pong continues in #NoDAPL case (10/21)
Lakota Country Times: 'Reel Jobs' school nurtures Lakota talent (10/21)
James Giago Davies: Drugs and crime overrun our reservations (10/21)
Dana Lone Hill: Becoming a grandmother is life's highest honor (10/21)
Misty Perkins: Indigenous voices are lost in colonial translation (10/21)
John Leguizamo: Who was 'mistreating indigenous people' first? (10/21)
Bureau of Land Management confirms repatriation for ancestor (10/21)
Cowlitz Tribe opposes coal export terminal on aboriginal lands (10/21)
Crow Tribe signs agreement to resolve long-running tax dispute (10/21)
National Indian Gaming Commission refutes online gaming claim (10/21)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation stays quiet on long-delayed casino plan (10/21)
Alaska tribes enter new era with first land-into-trust application (10/20)
Native leaders in Alaska endorse Hillary Clinton in historic move (10/20)
Bureau of Indian Affairs finishes update to model juvenile code (10/20)
Utah group aims to elevate Native issues in an unusual election (10/20)
Chemehuevi Tribe secures approval of HEARTH Act regulations (10/20)
Poarch Band of Creek Indians can't be sued for firing employee (10/20)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala veteran shot and killed by police (10/20)
Lakota Country Times: Founders of annual Spiritual Run honored (10/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Education system diminishes our people (10/20)
Brandon Ecoffey: It's business as usual for South Dakota's GOP (10/20)
Morgan Rodman: Federal agencies work to protect treaty rights (10/20)
Mary Annette Pember: First baby born at water protector camp (10/20)
Duane Yazzie: Spirituality prevails as #NoDAPL fight continues (10/20)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opens reservation to #NoDAPL camp (10/20)
Haskell University confirms president is still under investigation (10/20)
Agua Caliente Band back in federal court to defend water rights (10/20)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe removes members amid per cap woes (10/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation moves forward with $33M expansion at casino (10/20)
Cowlitz Tribe announces more executives for fast-rising casino (10/20)
Wilton Rancheria continues to make progress on casino project (10/20)
Agency shifts course as ancient remains slated for repatriation (10/19)
Navajo Nation opposes bill that reduces share of trust revenues (10/19)
Doug George-Kanentiio: A voice for residential school survivors (10/19)
Native Sun News Today: LNI hosts girls volleyball tournament (10/19)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe voters send message (10/19)
Editorial: Republicans in South Dakota embrace Monster Trump (10/19)
Vi Waln: Water protector camps overflow with spiritual energy (10/19)
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.