NIGC releases Indian land determination for Karuk casino

The National Indian Gaming Commission issued a new Indian lands determination that paves the way for the Karuk Tribe of California to open its first casino.

In 2004, the NIGC said a 200-acre parcel known as the Yureka Trust Property did not qualify for gaming. At issue was whether the Karuks were a "restored" tribe.

After submitting new information, the NIGC changed course. The tribe showed that it was administratively terminated around 1944, according to the new Indian lands determination.

Since being restored to federal recognition in 1979, the tribe acquired at least 20 separate parcels of land. Although the Yureka Trust Property wasn't one of the initial acquisitions, the NIGC determined that it was "part of a broad tribal restoration scheme."

"Therefore, we believe that the factual circumstances of the acquisition weigh in favor of concluding that the parcel constitutes restored lands," the NIGC said in its decision.

Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars gaming on land acquired after 1988. The Yureka Trust Property was placed in trust in 2001, long after the cut-off date.

Section 20 of IGRA, however, carves out an exception for tribes that were "restored" to federal recognition.

Get the Story:
Karuk Tribe wins casino go-ahead; will build in Yreka (The Redding Record-Searchlight 4/11)
Karuk casino coming to Yreka (The Siskyou Daily News 4/11)

NIGC Indian Lands Determination:
April 9, 2012 | October 12, 2004

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Karuk Tribe moving toward first casino with NIGC approval (4/10)