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Tribe's off-reservation claim hinges on 2000 law

In 2000, Congress passed a law authorizing an initial reservation for the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of California.

Under the law, the tribe was given land in Death Valley and the option of purchasing another property there. But since that deal has not come through, former assistant secretary Kevin Gover says the tribe is entitled to land elsewhere -- in this case, hundreds of miles away in the city of Hesperia.

Gover, who is consulting for the tribe, says language in the bill means the Bureau of Indian Affairs can take the land in Hesperia into trust without the approval of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Normally, an off-reservation acquisition would have to follow the two-part determination process requiring the state's consent.

The tribe plans on opening a casino in Hesperia.

Get the Story:
Casino deal banks on land swap (The Hesperia Star 6/8)

Get the Law:
Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act (PL 106-423)

Relevant Links:
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe -

Related Stories:
Tribes take chances with far-away land acquisitions (04/01)