Sault Tribe faces opposition to off-reservation gaming projects

Artist's rendering of the proposed Kewadin Lansing Casino. Image from Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians believes it can gain speedy approval for two off-reservation land-into-trust applications but opponents in Michigan disagree.

The tribe acquired land in Lansing and Huron with funds from the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1997. The law mandates that the land be placed in trust, without regard for the future use of the land, the tribe's general counsel said.

The “purpose for what land will be used is irrelevant from the legal determination,” John Wernet told The Detroit Press.

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians and Saginaw Chippewa Tribe say they will fight the applications. They say the Class III gaming compact requires all tribes in the state to agree to off-reservation casinos.

“It’s very brazen of them to say it doesn’t matter what they intend to do with that land,” James Nye, a spokesperson for the tribes, told the paper.

The applications were submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There is no timeline for a decision.

Area outlined in red shows approximate outline of proposed Sault Tribe casino site in Huron Township, Michigan. Image from Google Maps

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Fight taking shape between casino operators, Indian tribes (The Detroit News 6/21)

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