Judge won't force BIA to act on Fort Sill Apache site

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma will complete an environmental assessment for its proposed casino site in New Mexico after losing a round in court.

The tribe asked a federal judge to force the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make a decision on a long-delayed application to declare the 30-acre site a reservation. That would make the land eligible for gaming, according to the tribe.

But the BIA won't act until the assessment is complete and Judge Stephen Friot in Oklahoma refused to force the agency to make a decision. "We will comply with this request and then move forward,'' Phillip Thompson, an attorney for the tribe, told The Albuquerque Journal.

The land is already in trust but the National Indian Gaming Commission, in an advisory opinion, said it can't be used for a casino since it was acquired after the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Get the Story:
Another Blow To Fort Sill Apaches (The Albuquerque Journal 8/8)
Apaches Removed From Southwest (The Albuquerque Journal 8/8)