California | Opinion
Opinion: North Fork gaming ruling addresses historic injustice

"When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed, Congress recognized that some tribes had been so unfairly disadvantaged by historical events that there should to be a process to permit them to acquire land for economic development. The process created was lengthy and difficult and very few tribes have ever been able to successfully complete it.

The North Fork Mono tribe's history is well documented. They lived in the mountains and the valley. When gold was discovered in the 1850s the Indians were in the way. A slaughter was averted by moving them to a reservation near Madera. Then ranchers discovered they could irrigate farmland to grow crops on the valley floor. Once again the Indians were in the way and so were forced back to the foothills.

In the 1890s the federal government created the Sierra National Forest and the tribe's land base was reduced to 80 acres on a hillside near North Fork. In the 1950s, the federal government summarily disbanded the Mono tribe and several others. A 25-year legal battle ensued."

Get the Story:
Richard Lehman: Decision addresses a historic injustice (The Sacramento Bee 9/8)

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