BIA approves land-into-trust application for Ione Band's casino

The Obama administration approved a land-into-trust application for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, paving the way for the California tribe to open a casino.

Generally, land acquired in trust after 1988 can't be used for gaming. But the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act provides an exception for tribes that were restored to federal recognition.

The Ione Band qualifies for the exception, the Bureau of Indian Affairs said. The tribe plans a casino on a 228-acre site in Amador County.

“The Ione Band of Miwok Indians’ gaming application received a careful and thorough review, allowing us to determine that it met the stringent conditions set out by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” Del Laverdure, the acting assistant secretary for the BIA, said in a press release. “The Ione Band has demonstrated both a modern and historical connection to the lands it sought to have placed in federal trust, as well as a reasonable temporal connection between the date the land is acquired and the date the tribe was restored to federal recognition status.”

In 2006, the BIA issued a memorandum that said proposed site qualifies for the exception. But the Bush administration never finalized the tribe's application, which was submitted seven years ago.

The Bush administration later issued regulations that tightened the process for exceptions, which are found in Section of IGRA. As a result, the Ione Band decision was the first land-into-trust application approved under the restored lands exception since September 2008, the BIA said.

The notice of the land-into-trust application will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.

Get the Story:
Ione Band of Miwoks gets OK on casino land (The Sacramento Bee 5/26)
BIA Approves Ione Band’s Gaming Land Application; Denies Scotts Valley Band (Indian Country Today 5/27)