Aaron Payment, the chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, at the 74th annual convention of the National Congress of American Indians in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 19, 2017. He won election as Vice President of the organization during the convention. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Sault Tribe 'remains fully committed' to off-reservation casino

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has yet to sue the Trump administration for rejecting two off-reservation casinos in Michigan but "remains fully committed" to the effort, according to a statement to the local media.

At issue are two land-into-trust applications. The tribe plans to build casinos in Lansing and in Sibley.

The Department of the Interior rejected both applications, saying the sites are too far from the tribe's headquarters. Lansing is about 260 miles away while Sibley is about 305 miles away.

The tribe's board of directors subsequently voted to initiate litigation. Though a lawsuit has yet to be filed, the tribe told WLNS that it is still evaluating options.

“The Sault Tribe remains fully committed to pursuing the Lansing casino project and we are confident that our legal right to do so will be upheld in the end," the statement read.

Following the rejection of the applications, the Trump administration proposed regulations that would make it harder for tribes to acquire land away from existing reservations. Tribes have expressed near unanimous opposition to the changes.

The final meeting for the Fee-to-Trust Regulations (25 CFR 151) is scheduled for April 12 in Connecticut. Written comments are due June 30.

Read More on the Story:
Officials, Tribe still rolling the dice on Lansing casino (WLNS March 28, 2018)

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