Pokagon Band sees major progress on casino project in Indiana

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians plans to build a casino, hotel and other developments at this site in South Bend, Indiana. Image from Google Maps

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is a lot closer to building a casino on its ancestral homeland in Indiana.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued a final environmental impact statement for the proposed project. It calls for the acquisition of 165 acres in trust in South Bend.

"The Band is the only federally-recognized Indian tribe in Indiana and has been trying over the last 10 years to establish reservation homelands in Indiana," the document states.

The document notes that the Congress, through the Pokagon Restoration Act of 1994, defined a service area for the tribe in 10 counties in Indiana and Michigan. The tribe has been able to establish a homeland in Michigan but not in Indiana.

"The Band has no trust land in the state of Indiana to assist it in restoring its status as a sovereign tribal nation and fulfilling its governmental responsibilities to its citizens that reside in the state of Indiana, which have been critical objectives for the Band since long before the enactment of the Pokagon Restoration Act," the EIS reads.

The document comes nearly four years after the tribe submitted a land-into-trust application to the BIA. The agency issued a draft EIS in March 2015 and must still complete a record of decision before the tribe can move forward.

The tribe has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the city of South Bend. Plans call for a casino, hotel, housing and other developments at the site.

The tribe would need a Class III gaming compact with the state of it wanted to engage in Class III gaming there.

Get the Story:
Environmental impact of South Bend casino (WNDU 6/20)

Federal Register Notices:
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Fee-to-Trust Transfer for Tribal Village and Casino, City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana (March 12, 2015)
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Pokagon Band Tribal Village Fee-to-Trust Acquisition and Casino Project in the City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, IN (August 24, 2012)

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