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Off-reservation tribal gambling raises concerns in California

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  • Off-reservation tribal gambling raises concerns in California

    By Sudhin Thanawala
    Richmond, California (AP)

    A Native American tribe wants to build a grand, $1.5 billion, Las Vegas-style casino resort on a swath of land overlooking San Francisco Bay – a spot more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from its tribal lands.

  • #2
    Is that possible??

    I am not an expert on tribal jurisdiction. But to me in sounds as though they may not be consider a reservation. From what I have learned in my American Indians Studies classes that with a reservation they can not expand land properties beyond the borders of the reservation. Settlements howerver can since they are not restricted by reservation laws. I know this because in Flandreau we have bought land outside of tribal land holdings.


    • #3
      Off-Rez Casino Plans?

      Here's info on the situation with neighboring San Diego and Imperial counties in Southern Calfornia. The tiny Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation was looking into getting permission to develop an "off-Rez" casino in the City of Calexico, CA, down on the U.S.- Mexico border across from Mexicali, Mexico.

      Imperial Valley Press Online - Our Opinion - A Reader Writes: There is no casino guarantee

      A Reader Writes: There is no casino guarantee

      Saturday, November 28, 2009 1:54 AM PST

      The Manzanita Band of Mission Indians is currently engaged in “reservation shopping” to develop a casino 50 miles from its historic reservation in rural San Diego County. Their preferred new urban location is in the city of Calexico here in Imperial County. This proposal would require local, state and federal approvals.

      The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requires a state’s governor to agree with the Secretary of Interior that the proposed off-reservation casino is not detrimental to the surrounding community. Criteria for consideration includes: removal of land from state regulatory oversight, loss of taxation for land and future developments on the land, the supervision of justice in the surrounding communities and impacts on affected local governments or state agencies.

      Gov. Schwarzenegger’s May 2005 Proclamation identified criteria for his determination. He made it clear that off-reservation gaming proposals must:

      “… substantially serve a clear, independent public policy, separate and apart from any increased economic benefit or financial contribution to the State, community, or the Indian tribe that may arise from gaming”.

      The Manzanita Band has not articulated an independent public policy.

      The Secretary of the Interior requires a tribe demonstrate that it “needs” the additional land. Clearly, the “desire” for a multimillion-dollar gambling facility in an urbanized area is obvious. But does it meet the core requirement of “need” in the Indian Reorganization Act for transferring state lands into trust for a tribe?

      Does the “purpose and need” of a casino for economic sustainability justify the Manzanita establishing trust lands some 50 miles away, especially when neighboring tribes such as Campo and La Posta have not moved from established lands to develop casinos?

      All of us encourage tribes everywhere to pursue endeavors that improve their economic situation. But neither the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act nor the Indian Reorganization Act guarantees each tribe a casino in whatever location they might choose.

      As an Imperial County supervisor I am obligated to uphold the justifiable expectations of citizens. To ensure that the permitting process and land-use principles remain consistent and equitable for all proposed projects. Moreover, to insist that developments such as tribal casinos do not become a detrimental factor to the health and safety of our residents.

      >> Wally Leimgruber is an Imperial County supervisor.


      • #4
        Casinos in urban areas would put poor and landless tribes on equal footing with wealthy ones - Guest commentary -

        Casinos in urban areas would put poor and landless tribes on equal footing with wealthy ones
        By Joe Findaro

        Sunday, December 13, 2009 at midnight

        Companion column: Tribes do not and should not have automatic right to develop off-reservation casinos.

        A growing number of Indian tribes across the country are seeking to build casinos in urban areas far from native lands. Though no such proposals have been made public in San Diego County, the administration of President Barack Obamma is considering whether to make is easier for such projects to be built.

        In September, five U.S. senators, including both of California’s, wrote the secretary of the interior opposing “taking off-reservation lands into trust for gaming purposes.”

        In fact, while the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act generally prohibits gaming on lands acquired in trust after 1988, in some cases it allows gaming on lands “presently unconnected with an Indian tribe.” It expressly permits trust acquisitions where they are: (1) in the tribe’s best interest, not detrimental to the local community, and the state’s governor concurs; (2) restored tribal lands for a tribe restored to federal recognition; or (3) part of an initial reservation for a newly recognized tribe.

        The five senators do not speak for the entire Senate. Indeed, other U.S. senators have expressed support for off-reservation gaming in certain circumstances. In October, New York’s senators wrote the secretary of the interior that the “concerns (of our colleagues) are not satisfied by an overly inclusive blanket ban” on off-reservation gaming. These senators wish to help the Catskills region, where off-reservation casino applications have significant local support, are approved by state law and have received extensive environmental review. Economic redevelopment and job opportunities are significant factors in the senators’ support. They argue that applications should be viewed on individual merits rather than prohibited by some one-size-fits-all blanket restriction.

        And just last month the two Massachusetts senators wrote the secretary of the interior on behalf of the landless Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which is in the process of seeking an “initial reservation.” These senators made the critical point that for “landless tribes in particular a trust land base is important for housing, education, health care, public safety and job training and economic development.” And, they wrote, tribes “should not be penalized due to pressures from those who seek to limit legitimate Indian business development.”

        In California’s Bay Area, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, a landless, restored tribe, is seeking a reservation in Richmond. The tribe has worked diligently with local governments and spent years in a cumbersome environmental review process. If Scotts Valley has satisfied all the requirements set forth under federal law, then the Department of the Interior has an obligation to take every possible step to help this landless tribe.

        In Southern California, Los Coyotes Band was invited by the city of Barstow to develop a gaming project that would bring desperately needed revenue to both the city and Los Coyotes. The local community strongly supports the project. The tribe has no viable economic development opportunities on its current reservation, which is landlocked among state forests, and which received limited electricity only in the last decade.

        Yet tribes that have become wealthy from gaming are opposing Los Coyotes, arguing they lack ancestral ties to Barstow.

        The Obama Administration has a duty to bring real change to Indian Country – a duty to ensure that all tribes are given a reasonable opportunity to provide for their people. Poor, landless and disadvantaged tribes must be put on a level playing field with wealthy tribes. Congress must insist that the secretary of the interior, as trustee for all tribes, formulate policies without unwarranted interference from those seeking to impede economic development and job growth for Indians.

        Findaro, an attorney in Washington, D.C., represents Indian tribes. For a time early in the decade, he represented the Jamul Indian Village.


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