Menominee Nation fears Interior casino denial

The Menominee Nation of Wisconsin is asking the Bush administration to suspend review of its off-reservation casino out of fear it will be rejected by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Chairwoman Lisa Waukau said the Kenosha project has received favorable reviews from Bureau of Indian Affairs staff. But she said Kempthorne will likely deny the casino based on his personal opposition to off-reservation gaming.

"We are taking this extraordinary step because it has come to our attention that, in what are now the final days of the Bush Administration, Secretary Kempthorne’s office is responding to political pressure and is about to issue a hasty, arbitrary and capricious end-of-term disapproval of our long-pending application," Waukau wrote in a letter to George Skibine, the official in charge of the BIA.

As governor of Idaho, Kempthorne refused to consider a proposed off-reservation casino. Since he joined the Bush administration, the Interior Department has adopted policies -- without tribal consultation -- to make it harder for tribes to open casinos away from existing reservations.

Get the Story:
Menominee seek delay on Kenosha casino (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 10/23)
Menominee request delay in decision on its proposed Kenosha casino (The Madison Capital Times 10/23)
Tribe requests supension of Kenosha casino application (The Business Journal of Milwaukee 10/22)