Tribe not to feel effects

Published 7:05 pm Monday, March 16, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
Indian authority, on both federal and state levels, has recently been separately challenged by a national Supreme Court ruling and a bill introduced into the state legislature.
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in the case of Carcieri v. Salazar limits the federal government’s authority to hold land in trust for Indian tribes that were federally recognized after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. The case involved the Narragansett Indian Tribe in Rhode Island over a parcel of land put into trust 1991.
The state bill is a constitutional amendment that would control electronic gaming facilities that operate under county amendments in the state and would create a state gaming commission.
According to Poarch Band of Creek Indians Governmental Relations Advisor Robert McGhee, neither the ruling nor the bill affects the Tribe.
A press release from the Department of the Interior issued a statement expressing U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar’s displeasure with the federal ruling.
McGhee said the ruling was based on a technicality in the wording of the bill.
“The Court case was specifically brought against Narragansett and their ability to take land into trust,” he said. “The decision was made based upon some technical language in the IRA legislation.”
McGhee said that Congress is now looking into amending the bill to correct it.
As for the state bill, McGhee said it did not apply to the Tribe, because it deals with the legalization of Class II gaming, which the Tribe already has.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians became federally recognized on Aug. 11, 1984 and in November of that same year 231.54 acres of land were taken into trust. In April 1985 229.54 acres were declared a reservation.
The Tribe is the only federally recognized tribe in the state.

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