Monday, December 20, 2010


'Sex It Up' suggestion played down at Mohegan Sun casino
By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published 12/16/2010 12:00

Mohegan - Mohegan Sun isn't likely to rival Las Vegas' claim to the Sin City moniker anytime soon - its internal communiqu├ęs notwithstanding.

A document containing the suggestion that the Sun ought to "Sex It Up" is merely a compilation of ideas tossed out during brainstorming sessions among managers, the casino's chief executive officer said Wednesday.

"It's not a policy; it's nothing more than a bunch of ideas," Mitchell Etess said of the 10-page document titled "Preserve the Core, Stimulate Progress."

The document, which contains the phrase "excitement and entertainment needs to be increased on casino floor (Sex It Up)," was passed out at a recent meeting of about 200 casino managers and was not intended for wider distribution, Etess said.

But, apparently, it found its way into the hands "of someone who didn't understand what it was," he said, leading to a television news report on its existence.

Etess sought to explain what he called "those seven letters" in Sex It Up.

"That's not referring to go-go dancers or sexy outfits," he said. "It's referring to excitement, energy, contemporariness."

Sexing it up, Etess allowed, is not in the cards for Mohegan Sun.

"We don't have the kind of edge like The Palms in Las Vegas or even The Borgata (in Atlantic City)," he said. "Our image has evolved over time, and it has a lot to do with the history and culture of the (Mohegan) tribe. … That (edge) didn't end up getting any traction."

The 10-page document, which also contains such suggestions as paging celebrities on the premises, announcing jackpot winners and adjusting airflows, grew out of regular committee meetings, Etess said.

"In a brainstorming session, no idea is stupid," he said. "You write down everything that anybody says."

Etess said the "Sex It Up" suggestion has generated no official complaints from employees. He said the casino's human resources department has received no feedback about it.

"Within our culture, we would not adopt any idea that would create discomfort for any of our employees," he said.


News.Lawmaker praises gaming board decision on Phila. casino license
Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010

By ERIC S. SMITH, Staff Writer

State Rep. Curt Schroder commended the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's decision to revoke the casino license of Foxwoods for its proposed Delaware River waterfront casino in Philadelphia.

Schroder, who serves as chairman of the Gaming Oversight Committee, said he will also introduce legislation to put the license out to bid statewide when the new session of the General Assembly begins in January.

The gaming board made a 6-1 decision Thursday to revoke the license after the plan has struggled for four years to get the proper financial backing to begin construction.

"Foxwoods had more than ample time to get its financing in order," said Schroder, R-155th of East Brandywine. "I commend the state Gaming Control Board for its decisive action in this case. After four years of delays and restructuring, it was apparent that Foxwoods did not have financing in place to establish a casino and generate revenue for the Commonwealth."

Schroder said the license that was revoked currently has to stay in Philadelphia and will be sold at a cost of $50 million. But he said he wants to open up the process to a bid and allow the license to be moved outside of Philadelphia.

"Many of us have thought that you should put these licenses out to bid," Schroder said. "It's a bargain-basement price at $50 million."

Schroder said the bidding would start at $50 million and could go up from there. The existing bidding process for licenses does not involve a price war.

Schroder said the revenues from a slot-machine license would go into the property tax relief fund and could help Pennsylvania homeowners "to some extent" while the table-game revenues would go into the state's general fund. Schroder said it would help the state's economy, but he said he is unsure exactly what impact it would have.

Schroder said moving the casino out of Philadelphia, and perhaps the surrounding area, would not likely impact the local economy very much.

And he said the economy of his district, which is entirely in Chester County, would not be greatly affected if the casino moved across the state. Continued...

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The Philadelphia area may be "saturated" with casinos already, Schroder said, and may not need a second casino in the city.

SugarHouse Casino recently opened in the city, and nearby casinos in Bethlehem, Bensalem and Chester are also up and running.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: If the Mohegans were trying to get a license at this point in time, would they be able to? I doubt it. Is Pocono Downs making money? I don't think so. Was it a good deal? Have the MTGA ever made any money there? I don't think so.

Who voted to purchase Pocono Downs? Was it M.B. and B.B.?

How much was the license fee? $50 Million.

Who voted on the current MTGA to build the permanent facility?

Maybe Foxwoods not getting a license is a blessing in disguise? What do you think?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Tribes in Connecticut report another decline in slot machine win
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes reported declines in their slot machine "win" for the month of November.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation reported a 7.8 percent decline from November 2009. The Mohegan Tribe saw a 6.5 percent drop.

Both tribes have been hit hard during the recession.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: So what are you going to do about this situation, Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum and company? How much is the Mohegan Tribe going to suffer from your alleged non-action? Why are the Mohegan Tribe building a government building? What do you think?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Narragansett Tribe still optimistic on fix to land-into-trust ruling
Friday, December 10, 2010

The Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island remains hopeful that Congress will pass a fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The tribe lost the ability to follow the land-into-trust process as a result of the decision. A fix would restore the tribe's rights and benefit dozens of other tribes that weren't federally recognized in 1934.

"We’re pleased," Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas told The Providence Journal. "But we’ve got a long way to go."

The fix enjoys bipartisan support but most politicians in Rhode Island oppose it. They fear it could lead to gaming even though the tribe never planned on doing so.

“All along, they’re the ones who’ve been saying that. We never said that,” Thomas told the paper. "[W]e’re going to build our housing," he said.

The House passed the fix as part of the 2011 continuing resolution. The Senate has yet to take up the measure.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


New York county welcomes Shinnecock Nation federal recognition
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Suffolk County, New York, Legislature issued a proclamation to celebrate the federal recognition of the Shinnecock Nation.

The tribe filed its federal recognition petition with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1978. After years of delays, the tribe's status became final in October.

"It has been a long struggle. We give thanks for those [tribal members] not here today," Randy King, the chairman of the tribe's board of trustees, said at the county ceremony, Newsday reported.

The tribe's flag will fly in the county legislature.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Why wouldn't Suffolk County not want the Shinnecock Tribe to get recognition? How many workers will the future casino create for workers in the county? It is a win win situation for the county. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Editorial: New leader brings some big ideas to the Seneca Nation
Monday, December 6, 2010

"Do you think it is time for Native Americans to move off their lands and join the rest of us full-fledged Americans in getting on with life in the 21st century?

If so, we believe from what he has written that the newly elected president of the Seneca Nation of Indians sees you as proof of how thoroughly U.S. government policies of assimilation have undermined the notion of the sovereignty of Indian nations.

And while he understands the historic roots of this view, Robert Odawi Porter - Harvard graduate, Syracuse University law professor and the new president of the Senecas - rejects it from the inner core of his being.

Porter was, in fact, elected last month on the pledge to fight aggressively all threats to the Seneca's sovereignty. That's no surprise nor does the vow represent any new direction for the Seneca governing body.

However, if his two-year term is not too short a time to leave a deep imprint, Porter's election holds the possibility that during his presidency, issues that long have been like dead weights sapping the Senecas' attention and emotional energy may finally be moved to resolution - perhaps in a direction no one has yet imagined."


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Indian canoe dating back 800 years uncovered at lake in Florida
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A family on a weekend outing in Florida came upon a unique find -- an Indian canoe in near perfect condition.

The 23-foot-long dugout canoe dates back 500 to 800 years. It was found in Lake Munson near Tallahassee.

"The technology that they had at the time to be able to build a canoe this nice, it's pretty amazing to me, when you look at it, how crisply and cleanly it's made and the tools that they had available, shells, sharks teeth, flint," expert James Levy told WCTV.

The canoe is believed to have been built by members of the Apalachee Tribe who use to live in the area.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Mohegan Sun credit ratings lowered over financial woes
By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published 12/01/2010

Moody's Investors Service downgraded its bond ratings Tuesday on the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and raised doubt about whether the authority can avoid a financial restructuring.

The agency lowered its corporate and probability-of-default ratings on the authority from "B3" to "Caa2," a designation reserved for high-risk debt.

The Moody's downgrade followed similar action last week by Standard & Poor's, another credit-rating agency, which lowered its rating on the authority from "B" to "CCC."

The gaming authority operates the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Leo Chupaska, the authority's chief financial officer, said the downgrades were not unexpected.

"We thought it would happen," he said. "Since we announced we're working with Blackstone (a major corporate advisory firm), there's been a lot of speculation about how we're going to deal with our (debt) maturities. Right now, we're in a refinancing mode. We haven't talked about restructuring. We really haven't said anything. We're still talking about refinancing."

In a refinancing, a debtor typically negotiates better loan terms, including extending maturity dates, while a restructuring often involves a creditor receiving less money than it is owed.

In a Nov. 12 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the authority announced that Blackstone Advisory Partners LP was providing help with "strategic planning and analysis in connection with its business and financial goals, including operational improvements, contemplated hotel projects and … bank and bond maturities."

Authority executives declined to elaborate on Blackstone's involvement during a Nov. 23 conference call with investors and gaming industry analysts.

During the call, Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer of the authority and of Mohegan Sun, announced that as of Jan. 1 he will turn over responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the casino to Jeffrey Hartmann, executive vice president and chief operating officer, who will succeed him as CEO of the casino. Etess said he will concentrate on developing new business opportunities as CEO of the authority.

MTGA executives also discussed the authority's financial results for the quarter and fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, reporting a net loss of $26.3 million for the quarter and a profit of $9.7 million for the fiscal year.

Standard & Poor's, which announced its ratings downgrade the day after the call, noted that the gaming authority also reported a 6.5 percent decline in adjusted EBITDA - earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization - for the fiscal year.

"We had previously cited our expectation that EBITDA would be relatively flat in fiscal 2010," Standard & Poor's said. The agency also placed the gaming authority on "CreditWatch" with negative implications.

"The ratings downgrade and CreditWatch listing reflect weaker-than-expected operating performance in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2010, in addition to substantial refinancing needs beginning in 2012, when MTGA's $675 million bank credit facility and $250 million senior subordinated notes mature," Melissa Long, a Standard & Poor's credit analyst, said in a statement.

Moody's lowered its rating on each of six layers of the authority's outstanding bonds. In announcing the downgrades late Tuesday afternoon, it said the authority could have trouble refinancing upcoming maturities "without some impairment to bondholders given its high leverage … limited near-term growth prospects for Mohegan Sun Casino, the likely continuation of weak consumer gaming demand trends in the Northeastern U.S., and the strong possibility of gaming in Massachusetts."

Moody's said its "negative ratings outlook" for the authority reflects the short time frame in which MTGA has to address "a significant capital structure issue." If the authority is unable to refinance by March 2011, its $675 million revolving bank loan will become due, Moody's said. The same holds true for the authority's $250 million senior subordinated notes if they are not refinanced by April 2011.

Moody's had placed the authority on review for a possible downgrade in September, after layoffs of hundreds of Mohegan Sun employees. Both rating agencies warned that they could lower their ratings further if the authority proceeds with a restructuring plan that results in bondholders being offered less than they are owed.

Mohegan Sun's neighboring competitor, Foxwoods Resort Casino, has been seeking to restructure more than $2 billion in debt for more than a year. It has defaulted on a $700 million revolving bank loan and a series of bond interest payments.

Casinos across the country have faced financial difficulties brought on by the recession, which has curtailed gamblers' spending and, consequently, casino revenues

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Opinion: Thanksgiving is America's way of ignoring the genocide
Friday, November 19, 2010

"Spare me the school-assembly version of Thanksgiving.

Since I was in grammar school, I've seen these misleading re-enactments. The Thanksgiving plays and celebrations glamorize the relationship between the Pilgrims and American Indians. They falsely portray the Pilgrims as the ones who allowed the indians to sup with them, rather than vice versa.

And they erase the genocide against Indians that followed.

The way we celebrate Thanksgiving in this country is - to say the very least - inappropriate.

Few people can even recall the name of the tribe that held Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. We remember the Pilgrims, not the Wampanoag.

The Thanksgiving story subliminally invites us to believe that indigenous Americans have been offered a place at the table.

Thanksgiving is America's guilty holiday, a kind of camouflage, a symbolic excuse to ignore the elimination of whole populations of indigenous Americans by disease or war."


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Etess to relinquish CEO post at Mohegan Sun
By Brian Hallenbeck


Published 11/23/2010 12:00

Mohegan — Mitchell Etess will relinquish the top management post at Mohegan Sun to concentrate on developing business opportunities for the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, he announced today during a conference call with investors and analysts.

Etess has been Mohegan Sun's president and CEO as well as the authority's CEO for the past 4½ years. The authority, an instrumentality of the Mohegan Tribe, operates Mohegan Sun and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Jeffrey Hartmann, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mohegan Sun as well as the authority's chief operating officer, will succeed Etess as Mohegan Sun's chief executive.

The changes are effective Jan. 1.

The authority reported today that its adjusted EBITDA — earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization — for the quarter ending Sept. 30 was down 10.7 percent over the same quarter in 2009. The decline reflects the impact of a $5.7 million credit in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 resulting from an agreement with the state of Connecticut regarding Mohegan Sun's free-play slots program. The credit had the effect of reducing operating costs and expenses, and increasing adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

The authority said net revenues were down 2.4 percent for the quarter. Overall, the authority's gaming revenues were up 1.7 percent while nongaming revenues were up 9.5 percent.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; Did the MTGA (Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the Mohegan Tribal Council) ask for Mr. Etess's resignation or had he have enough? Is it too little, too late? How will this affect the benefits, the Mohegan Tribe receives? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Narragansett chief on Capitol Hill to lobby for land-into-trust fix
Friday, November 19, 2010

Chief Matthew Thomas of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island is making one final push for a fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The case began more than a decade ago when the tribe won approval for a land-into-trust application. But state and local officials fought the tribe in court.

After several victories, the Supreme Court in January 2009 ruled that the tribe can't follow the land-into-trust process because it wasn't under "federal jurisdiction" in 1934. The tribe gained formal federal recognition in 1983.

The Obama administration and key members of Congress support a fix to ensure that all tribes, regardless of the date of their recognition, can follow the process. But a standalone bill failed to pass either the House or the Senate.

Supporters are now looking for other ways to pass the fix. It's been included in the House version of the Interior appropriations bill but concerns about a gaming-related proposal from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) have threatened progress in the Senate.


Monday, November 22, 2010


Mashantucket Tribe to fight decision on union election at casino
Friday, November 19, 2010

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut will continue to fight the imposition of federal labor law on the reservation.

Engineering employees at Foxwoods Resort Casino recently voted to join the International Union of Operating Engineers. The tribe challenged the election but it was upheld by the National Labor Relations Board.

The tribe wants labor unions to follow tribal law rather than federal law.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Connecticut tribes report some growth in slot machine revenues
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes appear to be slowly recovering from their lengthy slump in gaming revenues.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation reported $57.2 million in slot machine revenue for October. That's up from 2 percent in September and up 4.5 percent from October 2009.

The Mohegan Tribe reported $60.3 million in slot revenue. That's up 4.7 percent from September but still down 4 percent from October 2009.

"We're pleased with October's results, but given that the economy as a whole still appears to be relatively weak, we remain vigilant and focused on providing the best entertainment value for our customers," a Mashantucket gaming executive said in a statement, The New London Day reported.


Monday, November 15, 2010


Mashantucket Tribe vows big changes with new casino executive
Friday, November 12, 2010

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut has hired a "turnaround artist" as its new gaming executive.

Scott Butera will serve as president and chief executive officer of Foxwoods Resort Casino. He's helped two gaming operations emerge from bankruptcy.

"His track record speaks for itself," Chairman Rodney Butler said at a press conference, The New London Day reported. "He'll help lead us to the sea."

Butera promised big changes at the casino though didn't give specifics. But he said the tribe anticipates entering the online gaming industry in the U.S.

"Ultimately there will be online gaming in the United States," Butera said at the press conference, the Day reported.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Is it also time for a change at the Mohegan Sun Casino? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe starts college prep program with grant
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts received a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Education.

The tribe will use the money to start Native Tribal Scholars, a college preparatory program that will include a focus on tribal history and culture. The program will be open to all Indian students in the state.

"We are thrilled to receive this grant and increase the resources available as we prepare our youth for college," Chairman Cedric Cromwell said in a statement, The Cape Cod Times reported. "This collaborative effort will provide many young people an opportunity to pursue their education and focus on leading successful adult lives."

The Institute for New England Native American Studies at UMass-Boston and the North American Indian Center of Boston are working with the tribe on the program.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Foxwoods' Malaysian investors gamble on New York casino
By David Collins

Publication: The Day

Published 11/07/2010 12:00

Who would have imagined, for instance, that the South Africans who helped the Mohegans get into the gambling business would have allied with the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians in nearby Massachusetts, set to compete with Mohegan Sun?

And then last year, the wealthy Malaysians who first backed the Mashantucket Pequots pushed aside the South Africans the Wampanoag partners, ready to compete with their own stepchild, Foxwoods.

And now the Malaysians, under the name Genting New York LLC, have moved into New York City. They broke ground last month on a new casino at the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, preparing to soon open a Resorts World Casino there with 4,525 slot machines.

Both Connecticut casinos will certainly suffer when a casino with that many slot machines opens alongside the New York City subway system.

Curiously, the new president of Genting New York is none other than Michael Speller, the last president of Foxwoods, who resigned here in June.

It is indeed a small gaming world.

It is also interesting to note that while the Mashantucket Pequots may soon lose some of their gambling business to Genting New York, they are still paying the Malaysians some 9.9 percent of gross Foxwoods income, part of the deal in which they borrowed $58million to build the first casino here. The payments are meant to continue until 2016

The Mohegans, on the other hand, may be through paying their original partners, the South Africans, 5 percent of gross revenues in 2014.

Genting Chairman K.T. Lim, appearing at the Aqueduct casino groundbreaking last month, called the event one of the company's "proudest days."

Genting paid out $380 million for the right to develop the casino in Queens, which is expected to contribute another $300 million annually in tax revenues.

Presumably it was prouder than the day the Genting-backed Foxwoods debuted, or the openings of Genting-backed casinos in Niagara Falls and in Monticello, N.Y.

Foxwoods was the first foray into the U.S. gambling market for the wealthy Lim family, which made its gambling fortune on a casino monopoly in Malaysia, a giant resort called Genting Highlands.

More recently, in addition to the New York projects, Genting has built one of only two huge casinos in Singapore, sharing a $6-billion-a-year market there.

In addition to the big casinos in Malaysia and Singapore, the company also controls large plantations and the Norwegian Cruise lines.

"It's real important for us to make (Aqueduct) a showcase event for the company," Speller told the Wall Street Journal, in a story that ran in late August.

Genting officials have said they eventually intend to spend $1.3 billion on the casino resort in Queens.

The initial phase, in addition to the slot machines, is scheduled to have several restaurants, a parking garage and an outdoor terrace that will connect the casino and racetrack.

There are plans to build three hotels, shops, a spa and other resort facilities.

One might presume that the New York City gambling resort, surely to become a formidable competitor to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, will be fully operational by the time the Malaysians finish collecting all those many millions on their smart startup investment on the Mashantucket Pequots.

It's a small gambling world after all, and it seems that everyone here in the Northeast will soon be chasing the same player dollars.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Mayor to fight ruling blocking sale to Mashpee Wampanaog Tribe
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The city of Fall River, Massachusetts, plans to fight a decision that blocked the sale of land to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Mayor Will Flanagan said.

Flanagan said the city's legal team discussed the case with attorneys for the tribe and the tribe's investor. “We’ve come up with a game plan,” Flanagan told The Fall River Herald News.

As part of its casino plan, the tribe agreed to buy 45 acres for $4.5 million. The tribe secured options on another 255 acres for $16.3 million.

The tribe has already included the entire 300-acre site in its land-into-trust application.

Story from

Monday, November 1, 2010


Seneca Nation singles out lawmakers as 'foes' in election mailing
Friday, October 29, 2010

The Seneca Nation identified two state lawmakers as "foes" of the tribe in a mailer to over 100,000 citizens in New York.

Assembly Member Sam Hoyt and Sen. Antoine Thompson are Democrats who are expected to win re-election. But the tribe characterized their votes on recent bills and the record on sovereignty and treaties as "reckless."

The mailer also names several "friends" of the tribe. "The Seneca Nation has a $1 billion impact in Western New York and employs 3,600 people," the document states. "Protecting that investment should be the priority of every elected official in New York State.

EDTIORIAL FOOTNOTE: This story was taken from The Senecas are excerzing their rights and letting their position be known to the voters in New York. How come other tribes aren't also doing the same thing. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Lawmakers back Seneca Nation in feud over gaming revenues
Monday, October 18, 2010

Lawmakers in New York are introducing a bill that would change how the Seneca Nation shares gaming revenues with the state.

The Class III gaming compact requires the tribe to share 25 percent of slot machine revenues with the state. Four lawmakers say the tribe should be able to send the money directly to affected communities.

"It's time that New York State respects you as a Sovereign Community, and a Nation," state Sen. Cathy Young (R) said at a press conference, WGRZ reported. "We need to cut out the bureaucracy and red tape."

Gov. David Paterson (D) has said he won't agree to the tribe's proposal


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


New York governor hints of resolution for tribal tobacco battle
Monday, October 18, 2010

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) is apparently trying to negotiate with tribes over the state's controversial tobacco tax.

Paterson imposed "emergency" regulations and supported a new law that passes on the state tax to tribal retailers. But in a series of rulings the federal courts have

“It’s time for decades of court battles to come to an end,” a spokesperson for the governor told the Associated Press.

The Seneca Nation, the Cayuga Nation, the Oneida Nation and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe are all in court over the issue. All say the tax infringes on their sovereignty and interferes with existing regulatory systems.

At least three judges have issued rulings in favor of the tribes.


Friday, October 15, 2010


Supreme Court agrees to hear Oneida Nation foreclosure case
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court added its second Indian case to the docket today and agreed to hear Madison County v. Oneida Indian Nation.

In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the tribe must go through the land-into-process before asserting sovereignty on land it acquired in two counties. Following the decision, the tribe filed an application for 17,000 acres in Madison County and Oneida County.

While the Bureau of Indian Affairs was reviewing the application, the counties foreclosed on the tribe for failing to pay property taxes. But in a decision issued in April, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said the tribe was protected by sovereign immunity.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not take part in the consideration of the petition, according to today's order sheet. She used to sit on the 2nd Circuit although she did not rule on any cases involving the Oneida Nation.

The order does not state whether Sotomayor will recuse herself from the case itself.

2nd Circuit Decision:


Thursday, October 14, 2010


Counties eager to argue Oneida Nation case at Supreme Court
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two counties in New York are happy the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a foreclosure dispute with the Oneida Nation.

Oneida County and Madison County brought foreclosure proceedings against the tribe for failing to pay property taxes. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them but they convinced the Supreme Court to hear the case and now they are expecting good news.

“In general, we’re just really pleased,” Madison County Attorney John Campanie told The Oneida Dispatch.

The Supreme Court has ruled in three Oneida Nation land cases in the last 35 years. The last one, Sherrill v. Oneida Nation in 2005, led the tribe to file a land-into-trust application for 17,000 acres in the two counties.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to acquire about 13,000 acres in trust for the tribe, which would shield the land from property taxes. The foreclosure proceedings, however, were brought before the BIA made its decision, which is the subject of yet another lawsuit.

The 2nd Circuit ruled that the Oneida Nation's sovereign immunity protected it from the foreclosure proceedings. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the issue and to consider whether the Oneida Reservation has been disestablished or diminished.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Candidates for New York governor back tax on tribal tobacco
Monday, October 11, 2010

Both candidates for governor of New York say they will take a tough stance against tribes when it comes to tobacco.

Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who currently serves as attorney general, supports the state's effort to impose a tobacco tax on reservations. "I look forward to enforcing the law. I think it's been a long time coming," he told The Buffalo News.

Republican Carl Paladino, who has the backing of the Tea Party movement, feels the same way. He said he will send state troopers to reservations if tribes won't collect the tax.

"Let one [Indian protester] stand on top of a police car in my administration; it would be the last time they stood on top of a police car," Paladino said in a recent campaign appearance.

Nearly every tribe in the state has filed a lawsuit against the tobacco tax, which is currently on hold as a result of the litigation. Tribes say the tax violates their treaties and their right to self-governance.

STORY TAKEN FROM www.indianz.ocm

Monday, October 11, 2010


Editorial: Seneca Nation in another showdown with New York
Monday, October 11, 2010

"New York State Governor David Paterson again finds himself in a battle with the Seneca Nation, a Native American group that enjoys special treaty rights and considers itself separate from the state.

The latest issue between the two groups is the state's claim that the Senecas owe over $200 million in revenue-sharing payments. The payments are required under a 2001 compact that permits the Senecas to operate three gambling casinos in Western New York, including the popular Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls.

If the Senecas fail to make the payments speedily, the state is threatening to shut the casinos down. That is quite the threat; the Seneca Niagara Casino is definitely one of the biggest attractions in the area and figures to bring in a whole lot more money than most other things around.

The state may try to temporarily shut the casinos down to scare the Senecas into paying up, but the editorial board feels that the state needs those casinos just as bad as the Senecas, making a permanent shutdown highly unlikely.

The Senecas are refusing to abide by the revenue-sharing agreement because they say the state has already breached the compact by violating the Senecas' exclusivity rights. To make it simple, the Seneca casinos are supposed to be the only form of legal gambling in the state."


Friday, October 8, 2010


New York governor threatens to terminate Seneca gaming deal
Thursday, October 7, 2010

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) is threatening to terminate the Class III gaming compact with the Seneca Nation.

Paterson claims the tribe violated the compact when it withheld revenue-sharing payments from the state. His administration wants to meet with tribal leaders within 14 days to discuss the dispute.

"Accordingly, in absence of a prompt resolution to this matter, the state is entitled to terminate the nation-state gaming compact," Paterson’s chief counsel Peter Kiernan told the tribe in a letter, The Niagara Gazette reported.

The compact requires the tribe to share 25 percent of slot revenues with the state. The tribe has withheld $214 million because it said the state has allowed the expansion of non-Indian gaming.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Is this what the Mohegans threatened the State of Connecticut? Could this happen here? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Supreme Court refuses Cayuga Nation tobacco taxation case
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two New York counties that have been fighting the Cayuga Nation over tobacco taxes got more bad news from the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Cayuga County and Seneca County raided two tribal smokeshops in November 2008. The state's highest court ruled that the county's lacked jurisdiction on reservation land.

The counties asked the Supreme Court to hear the case but the justices, without comment, refused their petition. But Cayuga County is still pursuing criminal charges against the tribe despite the numerous losses in court.

The case declined by the Supreme Court is Gould v. Cayuga Indian Nation of New York.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Shinneock Nation surprised by favorable ruling for recognition
Monday, October 4, 2010

The Shinnecock Nation of New York celebrated after the Interior Board of Indian Appeals on Friday rejected challenges to its federal recognition.

The IBIA said two groups could not show how they are affected by the tribe's status. The decision was as "a complete surprise" to the tribe because it came so soon in the process, trustee Lance Gumbs said.

"We knew that the Department of Interior had sent over a very, very strong brief to the IBIA in our favor, basically saying that neither one of the two interested parties had any status or merit. And I guess the IBIA took heed to that and finalized their decision today, "Gumbs told The Southampton Press.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a final determination in favor of the tribe in June. The tribe's recognition was due to become effective a month later until the challenges were filed.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: This is a twist of fate, the indians are getting surrounded, like the old western days with the covered wagons forming circles. Over the last few years, casinos in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and now Long Island. What is the Mohegan Sun going to do to keeps its market share? What is the Mohegan Tribal Council going to do? What do you think?

Monday, October 4, 2010


County waits for Supreme Court over Oneida Nation foreclosures
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't added any new Indian law cases to its docket but Madison County hopes its foreclosure case against the Oneida Nation will be one of them.

In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the tribe must go through the land-into-process before asserting sovereignty on land it acquired in two counties. Following the decision, the tribe filed an application for 17,000 acres in Madison County and Oneida County.

While the Bureau of Indian Affairs was reviewing the application, the counties foreclosed on the tribe' for failing to pay property taxes. But in a decision issued in April, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said the tribe was protected by sovereign immunity.

The counties appealed and the Supreme Court will consider their petition in Madison County v. Oneida Indian Nation on October 8.


Friday, October 1, 2010


Shinnecock Nation pitches gaming as a boost to area's economy
Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Shinnecock Nation will restore the economy on Long Island, tribal gaming officials said on Wednesday.

The five-member Shinnecock Gaming Authority outlined plans for up to three casinos. One would be close to New York City, another would be in the middle of Long Island and the third would be closer to the reservation on the east end.

"Indian gaming is the path to economic recovery," secretary Phil Brown told members of the Long Island Real Estate Group, The Southampton Press reported. "Three gaming facilities on Long Island is a win-win for everybody."

The tribe has several hurdles to clear before pursuing gaming. First, a challenge to its federal recognition has to be resolved at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Second, the tribe has to acquire land in trust. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar has raised doubts because the tribe may not have been "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934.

Finally, the tribe has to secure a Class III gaming compact. Tribal officials said they have been in discussions with the state for more than a year.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: What is the MTGA going to do about this? How will this affect gaming in Connecticut? What do you think?

Thursday, September 30, 2010


County pursuing action against Cayuga Nation for tobacco sales
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Despite losing a court case, the Cayuga County District Attorney is still trying to go after the Cayuga Nation of New York for selling tobacco.

The state's highest court ruled that the county lacked jurisdiction at the tribe's two smoke shops. On Monday. the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Gould v. Cayuga Indian Nation of New York.

But the district attorney has secured three sealed indictments against the tribe. They apparently address allegations that the tribe participated in wholesale distribution of tobacco -- whereas the Gould case centered on retail sales.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe working on new casino deal with city
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is reportedly working on a new casino deal with the city of Fall River, Massachusetts.

The tribe wants to use a 300-acre site in the city for a casino. The purchase price would be $21 million.

Mayor Will Flanagan supports the casino but a deal hasn't been finalized. Some new information will reportedly be presented this week.

The tribe has already amended a pending land-into-trust application to include the Fall River site.


Mashantucket Tribe paid out $6M during gaming promotion event
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A promotion by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut resulted in a $6 million payout to frequent customers, The Boston Herald reported.

The Foxwoods Resort Casino allowed holders of the "Dream Card" to redeem one dollar for one point, up to a total of $1,000. Normally, each point is worth only 50 cents, the paper said.

The promotion resulted in long lines, parking problems and other hassles at the casino. So the tribe has postponed six future trade-in dates and will lower the redeemable amount 50 cents.

“The good news is we gave away millions to happy Dream Card holders,” spokesperson Lori Potter told the Herald. “The bad news is that we had customer service issues like really long lines, capacity limits in some areas of the casino and parking problems.”


How much money did the Mohegan Sun give out during the same period? What do you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


September 16, 2010

Etess: Mohegan job cuts done for now
By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Reeling from the 355 layoffs announced the previous day and another month of declining slot-machine revenue, Mohegan Sun's president and chief executive officer said Wednesday the casino isn't planning further job cuts.

Mitchell Etess, asked about widespread rumors that hundreds of additional layoffs would take place in upcoming months, said this week's downsizing should prove sufficient provided economic conditions do not worsen substantially.

Mohegan Sun announced Tuesday it was eliminating 475 positions, a move that will leave 355 employees without jobs. Some 120 workers whose positions were eliminated will transition into other jobs at the casino.

"I can only say that no more layoffs are planned as of now," Etess said. "We believe the reductions we've made are sufficient to meet our plans and we will be fine moving forward. That having been said, who knows how bad the economy will be in the distant future?

"We wanted to do this as quick as possible and begin the healing as soon as possible," Etess said of the layoffs. "It would be imprudent to put people through this again. That would have no value to anybody."

From a business standpoint, it would make little sense to lay off employees in waves, Etess said. "If we thought there were additional savings to be achieved (through more layoffs), we'd be saving it as soon as possible," he added.

Mohegan Sun reported Wednesday that it "won" $67 million at its slot machines in August, 2.8 percent less than during the same month in 2009. Foxwoods Resort Casino, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, reported an August win of $59.2 million, down 6.3 percent.

A month ago, the casinos had reported slight year-over-year increases in their July wins, the first time both had recorded gains in the same month since May 2008.

The uptick, however, turned out to be a one-month reprieve from the revenue declines that have dogged much of the casino industry for more than two years. Atlantic City's 11 casinos reported a combined 11.3 percent decline in August slots revenue.

Etess noted that while the July calendar was more favorable in 2010 than 2009 because it had one more weekend day, the opposite was true in August, which had one fewer weekend day in 2010 than 2009.

"As we said last month, it's better to look at the two months combined, where we're down half a percent - that's almost flat," he said.

At the Foxwoods casinos, traffic was noticeably down in August compared to July, particularly in the last two weeks of the month, according to Robert Victoria, Foxwoods' chief marketing officer.

"July was just a phenomenal month for Connecticut casinos," Victoria said. "I can't really explain what happened in August. We had a very aggressive calendar for the month, as did Mohegan Sun. The month started well, then turned quickly."

Foxwoods is hoping two new attractions will boost volume in the coming weeks and months. High Rollers, a luxury bowling lounge, opens Friday in the Grand Pequot Tower, and Comix, a stand-up comedy club, is set to debut Oct. 7 on the Great Cedar Concourse in space formerly occupied by The Club.

The slots figures released Wednesday show $8.1 million in free-play coupons were redeemed at Foxwoods slots last month, while $5.8 million in free-play credits were played at Mohegan Sun. Foxwoods' "handle" - the total amount wagered at its 6,741 machines - totaled $721.8 million, down 3.2 percent over August 2009. Mohegan Sun's handle of $892.3 million, wagered at 6,405 machines, was up 11.9 percent.

Mohegan Sun forwarded $17.3 million of its slots win to the state Division of Special Revenue; Foxwoods' contribution was $16 million.


Is there any truth to the Lost Tribes (smoke free area in Earth Casino) is being removed and a bowling alley is being put in? Is that true? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


New York court lifts injunction against state's tobacco tax effort
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A court in New York cleared the way for the state to impose a tobacco tax on the reservation as litigation continued in federal court.

The state did not say whether it would immediately start forcing wholesalers that supply tobacco to tribes to pay the tax. But tribes are expected to appeal the decision.

The state court ruling does not apply to the Seneca Nation and the Cayuga Nation Both tribes have a temporary restraining order in federal court that has been extended to September 28.

The Seneca Nation was back in federal court on Tuesday to present more arguments in the case. The tribe collected $45 million in fees for tobacco sales on the reservation to fund governmental services, an attorney said.

Separately, the Oneida Nation and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe have filed lawsuits against the state in federal court. The Oneidas say they will ask for an injunction to block the tobacco tax.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; Brokenwing has been told that the layoffs at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut come to about 1500 workers in the food and beverage departments alone. Is this true? How will this affect the remaining workers? What will happen next? What do you think?

Friday, September 10, 2010


Sen. Kerry promises support for Mashpee Wampanoag casino bid
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) said he will support a casino for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

Kerry promised to help after meeting Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan, who is pushing for the casino. "It doesn't make sense to have Massachusetts residents traveling to other states to do what we could be doing here, which would provide a job base for our community," Kerry said of the tribe's proposal, WPRI-TV reported.

The tribe has amended its land-into-trust application to include a 300-acre site in Fall River. Flanagan said members of Congress are writing the Interior Department to support the casino.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Mohegan Tribe makes economic impact with Pennsylvania casino
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut opened a gaming facility in Pennsylvania in 2006 and local businesses say it has had a positive effect on the economy.

The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has about 2,500 slot machines, 82 table games, a racetrack, 10 restaurants and two bars. Nearby restaurants and hotels say the facility brings in more patrons to their businesses.

"People from Connecticut stay here," the manager of an area hotel told The Scranon Times-Tribune. "They refer customers to our hotel. It's a partnership that will continue. They have contractors who have stayed here as well as slot technicians, so it's a wonderful thing."

A real estate developer is planning a new retail and office building in response to increased traffic in the area.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: It is good to hear the merchants are doing well from the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. However, is the Mohegan Tribe making anything from the casino? How could you make money with the taxes the state and local governments are getting? What do you think?

Sunday, September 5, 2010


New York judge blocks state from imposing tobacco tax on tribes
Thursday, September 2, 2010

An appellate court judge in New York blocked the state from imposing a tobacco tax on reservations but Gov. David Paterson (D) said he would appeal.

The state is forcing wholesalers who sell tobacco to tribal retailers to pay the tax up front. That essentially forces tribes to collect the tax on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians.

On Tuesday, a federal judge put the law on hold for the Seneca Nation and the Cayuga Nation. The appellate court judge said the rest of the tribes can continue to sell tax-free tobacco until a September 9 hearing.

At $4.35 a pack, New York's tobacco tax is the highest in the nation.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Deadline looms for tribes in New York over state tobacco taxes
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Starting on Wednesday, the state of New York will impose a tobacco tax on reservations unless a federal judge takes action.

Wholesalers that sell tobacco to tribal retailers must prepay the state's tax. The plan essentially forces tribal retailers to collect the state's tax on tobacco sold to non-Indians.

Tobacco sold to tribal members will remain tax-free. The state gets to determine how much each tribal retailer gets, based on U.S. Census Bureau data on reservations.

Tribes say the plan violates their sovereignty, their regulatory systems and their treaties. But a federal judge so far has declined to block the state from imposing the tax.

The state's tobacco tax is the highest in the nation. Non-Indian smokers have been flocking to reservations to buy cigarettes before tomorrow's deadline.

The Seneca Nation, the Oneida Nation and the Onondaga Nation say they will drop big tobacco brands and sell Indian brands as a result of the plan. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe also says it might stop selling big name tobacco.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Mayor supports Mashpee Wampanoag land-into-trust application
Monday, August 30, 2010

The mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts, is urging the Interior Department to approve the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe land-into-trust application.

The tribe wants to build a casino on a 300-acre site in the city. Mayor Will Flanagan said the project is important to the area.

"Development of that land that the tribe is seeking to have placed in trust will provide the good jobs that are so desperately needed in this area. In addition, revenue that will be provided to the city through an intergovernmental agreement will allow us to fund the public safety, education and infrastructure projects that are so important to the health of this city and the surrounding region," Flanagan wrote in a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar, The Fall River Herald News reported.

The tribe started the land-into-trust process in August 2007. In February 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Carcieri v. Salazar.

The decision limits the land-into-trust process to tribes that were "under federal jurisdiction" in 1934. The Mashpees didn't gain formal recognition until May 2007 but the Obama administration is moving forward with all pending applications.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Of course the Mayor of Fall River wants the casino to go through. This is the town that closed it's airport and turned it into a dump (land fill).

On the other side of the state, in Palmer, the Mohegans are talking of buying the 150 acres they lease, to maybe build a casino. Where are the Mohegans going to get the funds? Owning the land doesn't necessarily mean that the tribe will get a casino. ITS A BIG, BIG GAMBLE. What do you think?

Friday, August 27, 2010


New York governor cites potential for 'violence' over state taxes
Friday, August 27, 2010

New York Gov. David Paterson (D) will go forward with plans to impose a tobacco tax on reservations despite acknowledging the potential for "violence and death."

Starting on September 1, the state will impose a tax on tobacco sold to non-Indians. "There will be quite an uprising and protest to this, but I am going to maintain this policy," Paterson said on WOR-AM.

Paterson doesn't plan on sending state troopers to reservations. In the past, there have been clashes between law enforcement and tribal activists who opposed the tax.

"This is a very dangerous situation," Paterson said. "There is a -- I think -- high alert. The State Police tells us over and over again that there could be violence and death as a result of some of the measures we're taking."

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article from Could what happened in Rhode Island several years ago, now happen in New York? What do you think?


New York governor condemns 'inappropriate' remark about tribes
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gov. David Paterson (D) said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) made "inappropriate" remarks about the state's tribes.

Paterson said it was "dangerous" for Bloomberg to suggest a confrontation with tribes over the collection of a tobacco tax. "The state police tell us over and over again that there could be violence and death as a result of some of the measures we're taking," Paterson said on WOR-AM.

"So I really feel in this case the mayor's remarks are inappropriate," Paterson said.

Paterson still plans on enforcing state taxes on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians. The plan goes into effect on September 1.

“I’m going to maintain this policy because we are not interfering with their treaties. We are leveling the playing field for our commercial establishments right here in New York State who are being gouged because what the Indians are doing by selling cigarettes tax free on their property,” Paterson said.

Bloomberg had told Paterson to "get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun" in order to deal with tribes.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


Oneida Nation moves tobacco manufacturing plant to reservation
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Oneida Nation of New York is moving its cigarette manufacturing operation to the reservation.

The tribe bought Sovereign Tobacco about two years ago. The operation was located in Buffalo but it's now being moved to trust land in order to avoid state taxation issues.

The tribe said it will be able to manufacture tobacco products without worrying about the state's effort to collect taxes on reservations.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Could this solve the tobacco tax problems for the Oneida Tribe in New York?

Is this a form of diversification or is it expansion?

Did the Mohegan Tribe expand or diversify? Is Pocono Downs expansion? What about Palmer Massachusetts? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Mississippi Choctaw court hears dispute over casino referendum
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Three members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians went to tribal court on Monday to ask for a reservation-wide referendum on a controversial casino project.

The tribal council voted 8-7 to build a casino near Sandersville. Vickie Rangel, Austin Tubby and Bobbie Frazier say tribal members have a right to vote on the issue.

The tribe operates two casinos at its headquarters in Philadelphia. The new site is about 80 miles away but is still considered a part of the reservation.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Could Mohegan Tribal Members take their Tribal Council to court for the decisions it has made in the past or could make in the future? It will be interesting to see how this story plays out. What do you think?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


New York tribes united in opposition to state's tobacco efforts
Thursday, August 19, 2010

All six member tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy held a historic meeting on Wednesday to oppose the state of New York's attempts to force tobacco taxes on their reservations.

About 100 representatives of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Tuscarora and Seneca tribes condemned the effort as an affront to their sovereignty. They said they would fight a new state law and new state regulations that would require them to collect taxes on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians.

The new changes are due to go into effect on September 1. The Seneca Nation filed a lawsuit in hopes of stopping the state


Seneca Nation sues to halt state taxation of reservation tobacco
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Seneca Nation filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the state of New York from imposing its tobacco tax on the reservation.

The tribe is challenging a new state law and new state regulations that would require smoke shops on the reservation to collect taxes on goods sold to non-Indians. The changes are due to go into effect on September 1.

We are asking the governor and attorney general to stand down and allow the court to handle this. We are trying to avoid needless tension and chaos that is likely to ensue if the state attempts to start collections on Sept. 1," President Barry E. Snyder Sr. said in a letter.

Snyder said he wants to hear from the state by Thursday about the issue.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; Will there be a showdown between the Native American tribes and the State of New York on September 1, 2010? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Casinos’ slots revenue was up in July
By Brian Hallenbeck


Connecticut’s tribally owned casinos reported slight increases in their slot-machine “wins” last month, reversing a long-running trend.

Mohegan Sun’s win was up 1.8 percent over July 2009, its first year-over-year gain in more than two years. Foxwoods Resort Casino, including MGM Grand at Foxwoods, reported its win was up 1.3 percent for the month.

Mohegan Sun kept $70.3 million in slot winnings while Foxwoods kept $64.1 million. Mohegan Sun sent more than $18 million of its win to the state Division of Special Revenue; Foxwoods contributed $17. 2 million to state coffers.

Mohegan Sun had last recorded a year-over-year gain in May 2008, and since then had experienced 25 straight months of declines. Foxwoods had 15 straight months of declines since posting increases in February and March 2009.

Atlantic City’s 11 casinos last week reported a 5 percent decline in July slot revenue.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE; Both casinos are going in the right direction, upward. However, think about three years of losses. It is a step in the right direction, but the tribes have a long, long way to go. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Reminder: Services For Grant Fox To Be Held At Fort Shantok Tuesday, August 17 At 3:00
Posted by Ken Davison at 5:04 PM 0 comments


New York mayor wants tribes shown the 'shotgun' for tax issues
Monday, August 16, 2010

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) says tribes should be shown the "shotgun" for asserting their sovereignty on tobacco sales.

On his August 13 radio show, Bloomberg said he gave advice to Gov. David Paterson (D) on the issue. "'You know, get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun. If there's ever a great video, it's you standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, 'Read my lips: The law of the land is this and we're going to enforce the law,' " Bloomberg said.

"This is an outrage," Bloomberg continued. "You know, if you and I have to pay taxes, everybody should pay taxes -- and this is just a scam to get around the taxes.
"They say, 'Well, if you start taxing, it'll cost a few jobs.' Yeah, the cigarettes are killing our people,'" he said.

The comments drew a critical response from the Seneca Nation. "It's obvious Mayor Bloomberg is supportive of religious freedoms and not sovereign rights. It's precisely this kind of cavalier attitude that has led to the past breaking of treaties by various federal and state governments. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg could use a refresher course on the US Constitution and the need to honor Indian treaties," President Barry Snyder Sr. said in a press release.

Bloomberg has gone after tribal smoke shops in the New York City area for selling tobacco without collecting state taxes.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: New York City wants the taxes collected because its own stores are possibly buying the cigarettes from the smoke shops that are on tribal lands. Why isn't Bloomberg going after N.Y.C. stores instead?

I believe a Show Down is coming on September 1, 2010.

Even though this may not concern tribes like the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots, (they charge state sales tax), they should help the New York tribes.

The reason governments get away with taking away tribes rights is because each tribe is on its own on their separate battles. Native Americans should stand up for each other whether the fight involves them or not.

At the the end of the day if the State was going to do something to the Mohegans or the Mashantucket Pequots, who will stand up with them? What do you think?

IS UNITY THE KEY? What do you think?

These are the opinions, ideas and facts of Brokenwing.

Monday, August 16, 2010


August 16, 2010

Sun's playoff hopes dashed
By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Mohegan - The end to the Connecticut Sun season came when Indiana Fever reserve Jessica Davenport came off the bench late in Sunday's game and made three unanswered field goals to give her team a lead it never relinquished.

The dagger was Indiana's Tamika Catchings scoring seven straight points, including a rare 3-pointer immediately after the Sun had cut their deficit to three points.

Yes, Connecticut has three more games left in the regular season, but that's it. It won't be in the playoffs. Again.

Indiana 79, Connecticut 66.

Mohegan Sun Arena will be dark for the second straight postseason.

"It's tough," Sun guard Renee Montgomery said. "You never want your season to end before the season is over. Whenever there's games to play, you want to be playing until the last game of the season, the championship game. Just to know that it's a big game and that we lost, it's tough."

Connecticut coach Mike Thibault, when asked how he felt, said: "Crappy."

The Washington Mystics, who beat the Seattle Storm, 80-71, earlier Sunday, clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference when the Sun lost.

"I didn't know how good we'd be or how bad we'd be this year, but I thought we had a chance to get in the playoffs," Thibault said. "Obviously the East is pretty good, and we haven't done what we were supposed to."

The loss spoiled the accomplishments of Connecticut rookie center Tina Charles. She had 18 points and 13 rebounds, setting a league record for most rebounds in a season (368). The previous mark was set by former Detroit Shock Cheryl Ford (363 in 2006).

Charles also set a league record for double-doubles (20). Natalie Williams had 19 for the now-defunct Utah Starrz in 2000.

"It's definitely bittersweet," Charles said. "I think the fact that I was able to come in and do that and get the respect of my teammates and from coaches is great, but we lost and we're not in the playoffs.

"I think the staff here did a great job of getting a collective team to play together, but we couldn't pull it off."

The Sun had one of their worst shooting games of the season before a crowd of 7,915 assembled to honor former star Nykesha Sales and for Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day. Connecticut shot 31.7 percent.

Somehow, the Sun took a 54-50 lead into the fourth quarter.

Indiana starter Ebony Hoffman fouled out of the game with 7 minutes, 19 seconds left in the game.

Enter Davenport, the second overall pick in 2007. The 6-foot-5 center made an 18-foot jumper with 5:21 remaining to tie it at 63.

Davenport followed with two more jumpers, including one from 17 feet, to push Indiana ahead, 67-63, with under four minutes left.

Davenport shot 5-of-5 for 10 points, eight of which came in the final seven minutes.

Two foul shots by Tan White and a technical free throw by Kara Lawson cut Connecticut's deficit to 69-66.

Catchings answered seconds later with a 3-pointer. She finished with a game-high 26 points along with seven rebounds and seven assists.

"And that's why that kid is one of the greatest players in the history of our game," Thibault said. "Her will to win is incredible. And you look at her box score - that's a winning box score."

Montgomery, who shot 3 of 17, had 12 points, eight assists and five steals. Asjha Jones added 11 points and five rebounds.

"I would say tonight was probably the perfect example of the difference between two teams in their stages of development and maturity," Thibault said.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTES: Over the years the Editior of the Feather News and myself have gone to Connecticut Sun games and cheered for the team as fans. This year we didn't go. The reason it was a bad team with bad coaching. The team just couldn't win.

One Friday Night we went to the casino and watched people leaving five minutes before the game ended, because the Connecticut Sun were losing by over 30 points. The fans saying, why does the coach take out Charles in the third and fourth quarters? They thought the coach should go.

How is this helping business at the Mohegan Sun? What about telebising the the games on national tv (espn)?

A tribal member called and said tribal members want the coach and Mr. Etess gone. What do you think?


Massachusetts town remains hopeful for Mohegan Tribe casino
Friday, August 13, 2010

A bill to legalize gaming in Massachusetts remains in limbo but officials and business leaders in the western part of the state are optimistic the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut will be able to open a casino there.

Leaders from the town of Palmer and from the tribe met this week to discuss the future of the project. The two parties agreed to start working on a memorandum of understanding for municipal services and infrastructure at the proposed Mohegan Sun Palmer.

The bill under consideration would authorize three casinos, including one in western Massachusetts. The tribe would have to bid on the facility and pay taxes and other fees to the state.


EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Where are the Mohegans going to get the money to fund this venture, if they are selected to put a casino in Palmer?

Who are they going to get as a partner? How is a casino with probably less than a million people within 50 miles of it, going to support a casino costing between $500 million and One Billion Dollars?

Do the Mohegans have the funds to do this deal on their own? I DOUGHT IT.

Is this another bad deal like Pocono Downs? Are the members of the Mohegan Tribe being asked to make scrafices, because of a bad business decisions the MTGA has made in the past and continues to make, at the same time looking to expand? What do you think?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Tribal retailers see business boost after New York tobacco hike
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Indian smoke shops are seeing a surge in business since the state of New York has raised its tobacco tax on July 1.

The parking lots at Cayuga Nation, Onondaga Nation and Oneida Nation businesses are full. Patrons say they drive miles to reservation smoke shop to avoid an additional $6.02 charge on a pack of 20 cigarettes.

“This tax is only hurting New York State businesses,” smoker Julie Squadrito told The Syracuse Post-Standard. “I plan on quitting soon, hopefully, but for right now I just buy the cheaper ones.”

The Cayuga Nation has seen a 50 to 60 percent increase in cigarette sales, representative Clint Halftown said. That's about 1,200 additional customers a day.

The state wants to force tribal retailers to collect taxes on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians under a new law that takes effect September 1.


What will happen on September 1, 2010? Will the State of New York have a show down with the Native American tribes of New York? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Gary A. Baker

Jewett City - Gary 'Cigarman' A. Baker, 53, of Carely Ave., died unexpectedly Monday morning at his home.

He was born in Norwich on Nov. 21, 1956, son of the late Albert A. and Delvina (Repose) Baker.

Gary had worked for many years at Pete's Tire Barn in Franklin. He was a member of the Mohegan Tribe.

Mr. Baker is survived by his wife, Lori (Riley) Baker, his daughter and her husband, Carrie and Michael Froscello; son and his wife, Anthony and Nicole Payette, step-son, Wayne Riley; his grandchildren, Cheyenne, Dakota, Michael and Michael; his sister and her husband, Debbie and Donnie Gordon, sister, Sara Briggs and a sister, Liz McCarty.

Gary was predeceased by two brothers, Larry Bly and Artie McCarty and one sister, Mary Bartha.

Family and friends are invited to a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Cummings-Gagne Funeral Home, 82 Cliff St., Norwich. The funeral will assemble at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the funeral home and proceed to am 11 a.m. burial at Fort Shantok, Mohegan, Conn.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to D.A.R.E. America, P.O. Box 512090, Los Angeles, CA 90051.

A note of condolences may be shared with the family at

Published in The Day on August 11, 2010


Seneca Nation business owner blasts state seizure of tobacco
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The state of New York seized a truck that was headed towards a smoke shop on the Seneca Nation.

Aaron J. Pierce owns the truck. He is the plaintiff in a lawsuit that seeks to stop the enforcement of Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, a federal law, on Seneca businesses.

"This outrageous seizure is clear retaliation for my company's litigation in federal court," Pierce said in a statement, The Buffalo News reported.

The state is moving to impose its taxes on the sale of tobacco to non-Indians but regulations have not been finalized.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Mohegan Sun still betting on Palmer
Despite setbacks, tribe still committed to town

Updated: Monday, 09 Aug 2010, 6:52 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 09 Aug 2010, 4:20 PM EDT

Elysia Rodriguez
PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) - Representatives from Mohegan Sun met with Palmer officials on Monday, hoping to strengthen a casino proposal for the town.

The closed-door meeting is part of a push to make sure the plan is ready if casino gambling legislation ends up passing.

They also hope to make sure it stands up to plans for casinos in Chicopee and Holyoke.

"Mohegan Sun and Palmer seem to be on the same page we're committed to the site, we're committed to development and we're committed to seeing legislation pass," Palmer Town Council President Paul Burns said.

“We remain very committed to this project here in Palmer. We think Western Massachusetts is absolutely the right place for this project," Lynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe said.

The legislature agreed on a compromise bill that included three resort-style casinos and two racetrack slot machine parlors, or “racinos.”

Governor Deval Patrick told 22News that he hopes the Legislature will come back into session to vote on his amendment to drop racinos from the bill.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Seneca Nation reports six percent increase in profits from gaming
Friday, August 6, 2010

The Seneca Nation of New York reported an increase in profits and an increase in revenues from its gaming enterprise.

Seneca Gaming Corp. saw a six percent increase in profits in the second quarter. Revenues were up two percent.

“Seneca Gaming Corp. is in a much stronger financial position now than it was just a year ago,” Richard K. Nephew, the treasurer of the company’s board of directors, told The Buffalo News.

The tribe operates two off-reservation casinos and another casino on the reservation.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from


Friday, August 6, 2010


Editorial: Answers needed on gaming legislation in Massachusetts
Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Power struggles are not uncommon on Beacon Hill, a place where strong-willed, sometimes self-serving politicians throw their weight around on pet projects that too often benefit the powerful few rather than the commonwealth as a whole.

The battle over casinos in Massachusetts is no exception: The two most powerful state leaders have seemingly fought to a stalemate, in the process stymieing progress and holding the state’s economic development hostage.

Gov. Deval Patrick has refused to approve a package the Legislature sent to him that calls for three resort style casinos and two so-called “racinos,” which would add video slot machines to two race tracks in the state. Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo insists on keeping the slot parlors as part of the legislation. His fight for slot parlors at race tracks is a personal one, as his district includes Suffolk Downs in East Boston and Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere.

In an attempt to seek compromise, Patrick said he would allow one slot parlor, as long as it wasn’t promised to an individual racetrack, which he correctly termed an unfair “no-bid practice.” Indeed, should slot parlors ultimately be included in the legislation, they must be open to a competitive process, just as the resort casinos would be. “I’m not saying they shouldn’t be able to compete. I don’t like slot parlors, but the bigger notion is that the no-bid practice has to end,” the governor said."


Thursday, August 5, 2010


Massachusetts gaming in limbo amid dispute over provisions in bill
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

er: Legislation Lawmakers in Massachusetts agreed on a gaming bill over the weekend but Gov. Deval Patrick (D) said he wouldn't sign it and sent back an amended version.

The bill authorizes three casino resorts and two slot parlors at existing racetracks. Patrick opposes the slot parlors and took them out in his amended version.

The bill also attempts to dictate the terms of a tribal-state gaming compact. It limits the state to one compact -- presumably with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, whose plans call for a casino in the city of Fall River.

"Because of the Mashpee Wompanoag tribe, when they get their land and trust, they're going to open up gaming, whether the state says they're going to or not," state Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D) told WWLP-TV.

The tribe is reportedly amending its pending land-into-trust application to cover the site in Fall River.


Saturday, July 31, 2010


Appeals court denies Mashpee Wampanaog claim to ancestral land
Friday, July 30, 2010

Two members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts lost their land claim before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals today.

Amelia Bingham and her son, Steven, sued the state for depriving them of their right to land that was deeded to Mashpee ancestors in the late 1600s. The deeds said the land was to be owned by "the South Sea Indians: and their[] Children for ever: and not to be sold or given away from them by any one: without all their[] Consents there unto."

The Binghams said they are descendants of the South Sea Indians but the 1st Circuit said they didn't show how their ancestors held an actual interest in the land at issue. "Plaintiffs must show they had an individual interest in the property rights granted in the seventeenth-century deeds in order to show they were personally injured by the later state actions affecting those property rights," the court noted.

"Plaintiffs can do so only if the deeds conveyed to plaintiffs' individual ancestors discrete property interests that passed through successive generations," the court continued. "Even when viewing all facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, and taking all reasonable inferences in their favor, plaintiffs have not alleged sufficient facts to surmount this bar."

The Binghams filed the lawsuit on their own behalf. The tribe itself has not filed a land claim.

1st Circuit Decision:
Bingham v. Massachusetts (July 30, 2010)

Article taken from

Friday, July 30, 2010


Shinnecock Nation presented with dozens of locations for a casino
Thursday, July 29, 2010

A couple of years ago, no one wanted to talk to the Shinnecock Nation of New York about gaming. Now everyone is courting the tribe with the hopes of landing a casino in their community.

"We never realized how much land is available on Long Island until this happened," Tribal trustee Lance Gumbs said at a gaming task force meeting, The Riverhead News-Review reported. "Everybody and their brother now is presenting different pieces to us."

Gumbs said "upwards of 30 sites" have been presented to the tribe. Some of them have been publicized in local media reports.

The tribe's federal recognition was due to become final last week. It will be delayed due to a challenge filed with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Who are the secret interests lobbying for Connecticut's casinos?
By David Collins

Publication: The Day
Published 07/25/2010 12:00

It calls itself the Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs, and it jumped headlong into New England gambling politics earlier this month, filing a lengthy legal appeal of the pending federal recognition of Long Island's Shinnecock Indians.

The appeal with the U.S. Department of the Interior, filed "on behalf" of 18,000 gaming workers at Mohegan Sun and Foxwooods Resort Casino, claims the Shinnecocks should not be recognized because they are "financially supported solely, directly and for the benefit of" the developers who want to help them build a casino on Long Island.

Of course, the fact that the Shinnecocks may be financially supported by casino developers shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all the folks at the Department of the Interior.

What is shocking is that this Connecticut coalition, which surfaced out of the blue to challenge the Shinnecocks, won't say who its members or backers are or where its own money is coming from.

Both the Mohegan Indians and Mashantucket Pequots have been quick to distance themselves from the new group, already branded "shadowy" in some accounts.

The Connecticut tribes are surely no doubt sensitive to the notion that they would in any way be behind efforts to derail another tribe's progress toward federal recognition.

"The Mohegan Tribe has nothing whatsoever to do with the Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs," a Mohegan spokesman said bluntly in a statement. A Mashantucket Pequot spokesperson said only they heard about the group through news accounts.

The front person for the coalition is Matthew Hennessy, former chief of staff and political director for disgraced former Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez. Hennessy last made the news earlier this summer as a defense witness at the trial in which Perez was convicted on multiple felony charges.

The work for the coalition, Hennessy told me last week, is one of a number of "advocacy issues" his firm, Tremont Public Advisors, has done for a variety of "corporate interests" since he stopped working for the former mayor about a year ago.

He declined to name any of his other clients.

Attorney Derek Donnelly of Suffield, who signed the extensive appeal the coalition filed with the Department of the Interior against the Shinnecocks, is also a former Perez aide and a one-time unsuccessful candidate for the General Assembly.

Donnelly declined to talk about his work for the coalition when I talked to him last week, saying he has been told not to speak with the press.

Chris Cooper, a former spokesman for Gov. M. Jodi Rell and a current spokesman for the gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, has been hired by the coalition as a communications specialist.

Cooper, strangely, also declined to talk on the record about the coalition or its membership and referred me to Hennessy. Cooper did say, though, that neither Rell nor Fidele have anything to do with the coalition.

Hennessy told me that the coalition and its members are also concerned about developments in Rhode Island and Massachusetts that could lead to new competition for Connecticut's casinos, but he said they acted promptly in the case of the Shinnecocks because the clock on appeals started with the final recognition imposed this month on the tribe.

A judge last week already gave the Shinnecocks, who have been seeking recognition since 1978, some good news in regards to the appeal filed by the coalition and another fled by a separate Long Island tribe, suggesting there could be some resolution of the issues by September.

The Shinnecocks are reportedly considering a variety of locations for a casino if their recognition is made final, from sites near their reservation in the Hamptons, on the north fork of Long Island, to more populated areas in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

Indeed, a large Long Island casino close to New York could be as troubling to the Connecticut casinos as one in Massachusetts.

Hennessy said some members of the coalition may or may not choose to identify themselves sometime soon.

I asked him whether the coalition's work and efforts at lobbying on behalf of Connecticut's casino interests aren't tainted by the secrecy.

After all, disclosure and transparency are mainstays of most lobbying ethics rules.

No, was his short answer.

"I think the important thing is our goals," he said. "What we want to accomplish and our mission are transparent."

The longer contributing coalition members choose to remain anonymous, the more compromised they will be when they come forward or finally get identified.

And revelation, in this case, seems inevitable.

If you are going to lobby in secret, you better do it really well.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Mashantucket Tribe filed appeal over union vote at casino on time
Monday, July 26, 2010

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut has filed an appeal over a union vote at its casino.

A spokesperson for the National Labor Relations Board told The Norwich Bulletin last week that the tribe failed to meet a deadline for an appeal. But it turns out that the NLRB in Washington, D.C., received the tribe's paperwork on time.

The United Food and Commercial Workers wants to represent about 360 employees at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The union previously tried to organize under tribal law but the effort failed due to the way non-votes were counted as "no" votes.

The tribe says an NLRB election will interfere with its own laws

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Town upset after Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe blocks beach path
Friday, July 23, 2010

A pile of twigs, some brush and a sign is stirring a new controversy for the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts.

The tribe recently blocked an access path to the popular Lobsterville Beach on Martha's Vineyard. The decision has enraged leaders in the town of Aquinnah.

"The taxpayers in town are being deprived of their right to access to the beach and that right is established by an act of Congress," town selectwoman Camille Rose told The Martha's Vineyard Gazette.

The path was closed because it was not a public path, the director of the tribe's natural resources department told The Martha's Vineyard Times. Parking also has been restricted to two points along the beach.

"It is a piece of private property," Bret Stearns told the paper. "The tribal lands are not open to public access, with the exception of where it has already been established by agreement."

In 1987, Congress passed an act to settle the tribe's land claims. The state courts have ruled that the settlement subjected the tribe to local and state laws and that it waived the tribe's sovereign immunity for alleged violations of local and state laws.

The tribe will hold a public meeting next week to Thursday to discuss the issue.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Story taken from

Friday, July 23, 2010


Shinnecock Nation casino partner filed papers for 'gaming' group
Thursday, July 22, 2010

The gaming firm that wants to develop a casino for the Shinnecock Nation of New York apparently tried to block a mysterious group from using the name "Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs," The Hartford Courant reports.

Tom Shields, a spokesperson for Gateway Casino Resorts, filed papers for the name last Thursday. That was a day after Matthew Hennessy, a lobbyist, announced the creation of the "Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs."

However, the original name for the mysterious group was the "Coalition for Connecticut Gaming Jobs." Hennessy changed the name to "Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs'" just hours before Shields filed the papers, the Courant reported.

As a reuslt, the Connecticut secretary of the state blocked Shields because the name was already taken. "The folks at Gateway are aware that I did this," he told the paper. "I told them."

Hennessy has refused to divulge who is behind the "Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs." The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe both say they are not connected in any way to the group.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Land-into-trust fix still faces major obstacles in House and Senate
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tribes and the Obama administration are united in their support for a fix to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v. Salazar but Congress isn't rushing towards a solution.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed a bill to ensure that all tribes, regardless of the date of federal recognition, can follow the land-into-trust process. But the bill has yet to come up for a vote on the Senate floor amid a lack of Republican support and an association of the issue with Indian gaming, said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota).

There is Republican support for a fix in the House. But the House leadership doesn't appear to be behind the bill, according to Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Tribal advocates believe the best strategy is to attach the bill to another piece of must-pass legislation. There's been discussion of such a move since late last year

“This bill will not move as a standalone due to political opposition,” lobbyist Debbie Ho of Ietan Consulting told tribal leaders at a summit hosted by the National Congress of American Indians and the United South and Eastern Tribes, Indian Country Today reported.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Shinnecock Nation endures another delay over federal recognition
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Shinnecock Nation of New York almost joined the list of federally recognized tribes on Monday but a challenge will force another delay in the process.

The tribe was the fourth group to file a petition for federal recognition in 1978. The tribe completed its application in September 2003 but had to go to court to force the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make a final decision.

The BIA issued a final determination in favor of the tribe on June 15. It was due to become official yesterday but a group called the "Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs" filed a challenge with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.

It's not known how long the IBIA process will take. Another group, a splinter faction of the Montaukett Tribe of New York, also filed a challenge, Newsday reported.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Shinnecock recognition in limbo Shinnecock recognition in limbo
by Claude Solnik
Published: July 19, 2010

They waited. And they waited. And now they’re waiting again.

It was a case of a dream delayed, if not denied, for the Shinnecock Indian Nation today as the much-awaited federal recognition failed to materialize.

A month after receiving a call notifying them that the federal government would recognize the Shinnecock Indian Nation, there was no congratulatory call, no victory lap.

The 30-day comment period expired quietly today after which the recognition would take effect, if there were no protests.

But a group called the Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs filed a protest, at least temporarily putting recognition on hold.

“We recommended the final determination,” said Nedra Darling, a spokeswoman for the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. “The final finding was they were to be recognized.”

But the Interior Board of Indian Appeals received the protest, which must be ruled on before that decision is ratified.

A spokeswoman for the Board of Appeals earlier today said the judge hadn’t issued any ruling regarding the case.

“They have to look at the appeal. They do all the research,” Darling said. “We made the decision. There is an appeals process.”

Calls seeking comment from the Shinnecocks weren’t immediately returned. But as recognition appeared to retreat for the moment, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, in a written statement lashed out at efforts to stall the decision.

He said interests sought to stop the Shinnecocks from rightful recognition in order to benefit Connecticut casinos and other businesses. Federal recognition brings the right to develop a casino.

“For the past 20 years, Connecticut has benefited significantly from the great number of Long Islanders who spend their money in Connecticut casinos,” Schneiderman said. “The loss of this revenue is what is motivating this new attack on our indigenous people.”

A spokesman for the Connecticut group wouldn’t say who financed it, but said it did not represent tribes that own casinos in Connecticut.

The challenge by the group, which records indicate was created only days before the filing, will be handled by the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, an appellate review body whose administrative judges decide appeals to decisions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior.

While IBIA decisions represent the department’s final rulings, they may be appealed to the United States district courts. This could open the door to delays due to litigation.

The Department of Interior’s final determination, which is being challenged, treats the Shinnecock Indian Nation as having existed at least since 1789 as a historical Indian tribe.

An act passed by New York in 1792 re-organized this tribe as a trusteeship, living on a leasehold created in 1703 in Southampton.

The law provided for annual elections of three Indian trustees, elections that have taken place from 1792 to the present.

The trustees have allocated the group’s land and resources consistently for almost 220 years, according to the Department of the Interior.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Both tribes in Connecticut deny connection to new 'gaming' group
Monday, July 19, 2010

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe both say they are not connected in any way to a new "gaming" group that is challenging the federal recognition of the Shinnecock Nation of New York.

"Have absolutely nothing to do with them," Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegans' chief of staff, told The Norwich Bulletin.

"We are not affiliated with them in any way whatsoever," a spokesperson for the Pequots told the paper.

The calls itself the Connecticut Coalition for Gaming Jobs. Its spokesperson is a lobbyist who won't divulge the identities of any of its members.

The Shinnecock Nation's federal recognition was due to become final today. But the group's challenge, which was filed with the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, will delay the matter.


Monday, July 12, 2010


Mashantucket Tribe to appeal NLRB decision over union at casino
Friday, July 9, 2010

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut said it will fight the National Labor Relations Board over a union vote at its casino.

A regional director of the NLRB ordered an election among bartenders, beverage servers and related workers at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The United Food and Commercial Workers wants to represent about 360 employees.

The appeal would go to the NLRB board in Washington, D.C., which has enough members to make valid decisions. A prior ruling that went against the tribe was made by a two-member NLRB, in apparent violation of the National Labor Relations Act, according to a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued last month.

The tribe has been working with unions under tribal law.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Oneida Nation tests smoke-free policy at two gaming facilities
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin is testing a smoke-free policy at two of its gaming facilities.

The facilities went smoke free on June 1. The tribe wants to see whether the policy has an effect on revenues.

"Gaming revenue is the tribe's lifeblood," Vice chairwoman Kathy Hughes told The Green Bay Press-Gazette "We're already seeing an impact from the economy, so we don't want to do anything else that is going to cause a greater negative effect on that."

A new Wisconsin law bans smoking in any indoor establishment or workplace. The law does not apply on reservations.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Mashantucket Tribe continues talks to restructure gaming debt
Friday, July 2, 2010

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut continues to negotiate with its lenders over $1.3 billion in gaming debt.

The tribe has been unable to make payments on the debt since last fall. A $700 million revolving credit is due July 13 so talks have taken on a new urgency, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Revenues at Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods have fallen consistently over the past year.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Article taken from

Could this happen to the Mohegan Tribe also? How will this affect tribal members? Will tribal members suffer because of the poor judgement of the Mohegan Tribal Council? What do you think?