Skibine recommended approval of Mohawk casino

The Bureau of Indian Affairs official in charge of gaming recommended approval of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe's off-reservation casino, Indian Country Today reports.

George Skibine, the director of the Office of Indian Gaming Management, told the tribe and its attorneys that he supported the land-into-trust application for a casino in the Catskills. But he was overridden by associate deputy secretary Jim Cason, who said the gaming site was too far from the reservation to benefit tribal members [PDF: Letter].

Cason's decision contradicted an earlier one he issued back in 2000. "The proposed project will create hundreds of jobs for the Tribe and local communities,'' he wrote in a Finding of No Significant Impact for the casino.

The tribe last week filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the rejection of its land-into-trust application. The lawsuit says the Bush administration created a new off-reservation gaming policy without consulting tribes.

The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe and the United Keetoowah Band, both of Oklahoma, are also considering appeals. The The St. Croix Band of Lake Superior Chippewa from Wisconsin has amended a previously filed lawsuit to challenge the new policy.

Get the Story:
St. Regis Mohawks to appeal denied land into trust application (Indian Country Today 1/14)
Tribes may fight BIA over land decision (The Tulsa World 1/14)