Casino Stalker | New York | Opinion

Editorial: Separate gaming from Indian land claim settlements

"Former Gov. David Paterson’s settlement agreement that gave an out-of-state Native American nation the state’s blessing to open a casino in the Castkills was flawed in many ways, and fortunately, it looks as if federal regulators are realizing that.

In a demonstration of why the governor’s office has too much power involving matters of negotiations with tribes over land claim and sovereignty issues, Paterson cut a deal that basically eliminated local decision-making and had the potential to set a dangerous precedent. He agreed to settle a land claim case with the Wisconsin-based Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians by awarding that tribe a Castkills casino contract.

Paterson reasoned that the deal would provide an economic boost to a struggling region, but the deal ignored some key federal decisions in recent years. First, the land claims that various tribes have brought against the state through the years have largely been deemed invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court, so the state should stop attempting to “settle” such cases.

Second, the federal Department of the Interior has been clear that it will not sign off on casinos being built by tribes thousands of miles away from their established reservations."

Get the Story:
Our View: Land claims shouldn’t lead to casino deals (The Auburn Citizen 2/13)

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