Pokagon Band questions bill that affects Indiana casino project

John Warren, at podium, serves as chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Photo from Facebook

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is speaking out against a bill that impacts its plans for a casino on ancestral territory in Indiana.

House Bill 1540 is sponsored by lawmakers from a county with a non-Indian casino. It would require the Indiana Legislature to approve a Class III gaming compact with the tribe.

Legislative approval of gaming compacts is common in other states. But the bill contains language that dictates what "must" be included in an agreement even though negotiations with Gov. Mike Pence (R) have not commenced.

“This legislation is actually inhibiting the governor from negotiating in good faith even before negotiations have begun," Chairman John Warren told WNDU.

This image shows Alternative A for the land-into-trust site in South Bend, Indiana. No plans have been approved as of yet. Image from Pokagon EIS

The tribe has submitted a land-into-trust application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to a use a 166-acre site in South Bend for a casino, hotel, housing and other developments. The city supports the project.

The BIA held a public hearing on the environmental impact statement for the project. There is no timeline for a final decision.

Get the Story:
Pokagon Band breaks silence on South Bend casino issues (WNDU 4/21)

Federal Register Notices:
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Fee-to-Trust Transfer for Tribal Village and Casino, City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana (March 12, 2015)
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Pokagon Band Tribal Village Fee-to-Trust Acquisition and Casino Project in the City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, IN (August 24, 2012)

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City weighs resolution to support Pokagon Band casino in Indiana (4/9)
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