indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Agency weighs uranium mine near sacred site (9/30)
Jim Abourezk: South Dakota tribes can put Rick Weiland in office (9/30)
Cherokee chief participated in live pigeon shoot for Sen. Inhofe (9/30)
Navajo vice president returns home after near fatal spider bite (9/30)
North Dakota tribe sees big problems as energy industry grows (9/30)
Andre Cramblit: Another year brings challenges for our people (9/30)
Jack Duran: State's 'shocking' attack on Big Lagoon Rancheria (9/30)
Navajo Nation Council to select a new leader after resignation (9/30)
Editorial: Long delayed trust fund settlement for Navajo Nation (9/30)
Keepseagle plaintiffs oppose use of $380M to create foundation (9/30)
Opinion: Working with New Mexico tribes to protect sacred sites (9/30)
Pueblo man chosen as chair of VA minority advisory committee (9/30)
Woman sues over fall at Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe business (9/30)
Seminole Tribe makes another attempt to join banking business (9/30)
Mohegan Tribe purchases more wood pellet production facilities (9/30)
Ponca Tribe takes down old headquarters and readies new home (9/30)
Native Mob gang leader sentenced to 43 years in federal prison (9/30)
Three indicted for murder of man from Northern Arapaho Tribe (9/30)
Rivals funded DC trips to oppose Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/30)
American Gaming Association includes tribes in economic report (9/30)
Editorial: Vote yes to support North Fork Rancheria gaming deal (9/30)
Editorial: Florida shouldn't take a gamble with casino expansion (9/30)
Tim Giago: All Indian people ask is for America to honor treaties (9/29)
Native Sun News: Tribes take on IRS and win battle over taxation (9/29)
Mark Trahant: Indian vote could bring a surprise in South Dakota (9/29)
Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act signed into law by Obama (9/29)
Obama signs law for settlement with Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (9/29)
Chelsey Luger and Gyasi Ross: Transforming the spirit of suicide (9/29)
Migizi Pensoneau: Behind the scenes at a Washington NFL game (9/29)
Donna Ennis: Ancestor starting asking about trust fund in 1900s (9/29)
Steven Newcomb: Indigenous conference yields power to states (9/29)
Kyle Mays: Rejecting narrowminded views of indigenous studies (9/29)
Brian Pierson: Tribal preference ruling strengthens sovereignty (9/29)
Thousands missing out on share of Cobell settlement payments (9/29)
Navajo presidential candidate in doubt over fluency in language (9/29)
Oneida Nation repeats history with women in top leadership jobs (9/29)
Al Jazeera: Tribes working together to restore bison to their land (9/29)
Indian Time: Oklahoma Indian museum expected to be big draw (9/29)
Column: Washington team should be worried about FCC petition (9/29)
Opinion: NMAI exhibit finally puts federal-tribal dealings to light (9/29)
Gun Lake Tribe hails new law that protects casino from litigation (9/29)
Former mayor remains hopeful on Los Coyotes Band casino bid (9/29)
Chumash Tribe awards $112M contract as part of casino project (9/29)
Documents show Seminole Tribe was close to new gaming deal (9/29)
Column: Taking a gamble in Louisiana - What's legal and illegal? (9/29)
Native Sun News: Tex Hall ousted in North Dakota tribal primary (9/26)
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.