Narragansett Tribe plans to use land for housing

The Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island reiterated plans to build housing on land that has been the subject of a lengthy court battle.

The tribe bought 31 acres in the town of Charlestown and asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to put the land in trust. The BIA agreed but the state filed a lawsuit, claiming the tribe isn't entitled to new trust lands.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the tribe and the BIA last week. Since the property in question lies outside of the tribe's 1,800-acre settlement reservation, state laws won't apply.

The tribe won't start construction until all appeals are exhausted. Chief Matthew Sachem acknowledged the land could be used for other purposes in addition to housing.

A rider in Public Law No: 104-208 bars the tribe's settlement lands from falling under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law doesn't say anything about trust lands outside of the 1,800 acres.

Get the Story:
Tribe must build houses on land (The Providence Journal 7/27)
Lawmakers waiting for land case to play out (The Providence Journal 7/27)

Land-into-Trust Decision:
Carcieri v. Kempthorne (July 20, 2007)

Earlier 1st Circuit Decision:
Carcieri v. Norton (February 9, 2005)

Relevant Documents:
Carcieri v. Norton Briefs, Opinions (NARF-NCAI Tribal Supreme Court Project

Relevant Laws:
Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act (US Code)

Relevant Links:
Narragansett Tribe -
Tribal Supreme Court Project -

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