Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs

James Butler of the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion opposes Part 83 reforms to the federal recognition process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
An alarming report by Stand Up for California! outlines how a loosening of standards in the federal recognition process for tribal governments will lead to a surge of gambling facilities, especially in heavily populated counties such as Kern, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau’s Rob Hotakainen recently reported that California has 71 tribal casinos, the most of any state, and that the recommended changes in tribal recognition “would result in nearly two dozen more.”

This is especially troublesome because California has the most pending tribal acknowledgment petitions in the country. These 34 groups either have been denied under the current comprehensive process, or are hastily created pseudo-groups that do not have historical connections with the state.

If the federal government approves the relaxed recognition requirements, California could have as many as 143 recognized tribal governments, up from the current 109. Once recognized, these tribes will have the authority to take significant amounts of land off state tax rolls and do as they wish, such as build new casinos in urban areas with no competition.

Get the Story:
James Butler: Don’t loosen tribal recognition rules (The Sacramento Bee 8/30)

Federal Register Notices:
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (July 30, 2014)
Federal Acknowledgment of American Indian Tribes (May 29, 2014)

Relevant Documents:
Proposed Rule | Press Release | Comparison Chart (comparing current rule to proposed rule) | Response to Comments on June 2013 Discussion Draft | Frequently Asked Questions

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