Federal Recognition

WSJ: Unrecognized tribe's bankruptcy stirs legal questions

"The Western Mohegan Tribe & Nation of New York has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Against the Native American community’s grip of sovereign rights, the request for protection from a federal court would be a jarring development—that is, if only the group seeking protection were one of the 566 tribes that have been officially recognized by the U.S. government.

In fact, the Western Mohegan Tribe failed to get that federal recognition after its leader, Ronald A. Roberts, known as Golden Eagle, submitted a request to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs 15 years ago. (Note: At one point, Roberts had also sued New York state, asking for two centuries worth of rent for thousands of acres of public land.)

Roberts signed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago, just a few days shy of a public sale of the group’s 255-acre Tamarack Lodge resort–a property that a local newspaper described as “crumbling.” Public records show that the group’s property, located in the Catskills about an hour north of New York City’s outer suburbs, was to be auctioned off at a sheriff’s sale on Thursday."

Get the Story:
Bankruptcy of Native American ‘Tribe’ Raises Intriguing Legal Questions (The Wall Street Journal 3/15)

Also Today:
Tribe's Chapter 11 move thwarts Tamarack sale (The Middletown Times Herald-Record 3/15)