The Department of the Interior has a track record of hostility to “off-reservation gaming”. It struck down a St. Regis Mohawk Tribe compact for a casino in the Catskills several years ago because it was deemed too far from the tribe’s reservation near Massena.
At the very end of 2010, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans and then-Governor David Paterson thought they had all their ducks in a row this time: a land claim resolution in central New York, a postage-stamp sized reservation created in the Catskills, and months of close consultation with Interior.
The New York Times is reporting all that may come to naught. The paper cites the Stockbridge-Munsees’ own documents to say Interior is likely to reject their Catskills casino compact:
In January, according to the tribe, federal officials suddenly expressed misgivings about the viability of the tribe’s land claim and the ability of the Interior Department to approve it without Congressional action, as the tribe wanted. In a Jan. 31 letter to the department, a lawyer for the tribe acknowledged that department officials had told him it was “highly unlikely” the officials would change their views.
The Interior Department has done “an about-face,” said Kimberly Vele, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohicans. If the agreements are rejected, Ms. Vele said, the tribe will resume its fight for the land in Madison County.
Tags: native culture