Court rules Oklahoma tribe can't use Kansas land for casino - NewsOK.com

KANSAS CITY — A federal appeals court has ruled that the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma doesn't have the right to use a tract of land in eastern Kansas that it abandoned more than 130 years ago for a casino.

The tribe began trying to get approval to build a casino near La Cygne Lake in Miami County more than a decade ago. A tribal member had tried to donate a 35-acre tract for the proposed casino.In 1998 and 1999, the Miami Tribe won Interior Department rulings declaring the 35-acre tract of former tribal land eligible for casino gambling under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act — even though the tribe formally relinquished the land when it migrated to Oklahoma.Department officials said at the time that the land qualified for gambling after the tribe in 1996 "adopted" about 20 non-Indian owners as tribal members, leased the land back from them, and exercised tribal government control there.But in 2002, Interior Department solicitor William G. Myers III reversed that decision and said the Oklahoma tribe had no lawful claim to the tract.The tribe appealed and initially prevailed. But the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court wrote in a ruling issued Tuesday that the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the Interior Department, was right when it determined that the land couldn't be donated.The tribe is based in Miami, OK, in the northeastern corner of the state near the Kansas border. A phone message left for Miami Chief Thomas Gamble wasn't immediately returned.

01 Sep, 2011


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