Menominee Nation casino documents provided to rival tribe
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The Menominee Nation of Wisconsin says documents related to its off-reservation casino bid were provided to a rival tribe.
The Menominees repeatedly asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs for documents that favored the Kenosha casino, attorney Rory Dilweg said. The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe ended up with them instead -- after filing a Freedom of Information Act request.
"I find it interesting the federal government chose to give it to them, but not to us," Dilweg told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We asked them for copies and they refused to provide them, saying they were internal and deliberative."
The Potawatomis used the two memos at issue to bolster their opposition to the Kenosha casino. "We followed the FOIA law and were consistent and constant in our requests," spokesperson Ken Walsh told the paper.
The Menominees found out about the documents after filing a lawsuit against the federal government. The tribe says the casino was improperly rejected in the final days of the Bush administration.
The denial was based on a new policy that makes it nearly impossible for tribes to acquire land away from existing reservations. The Obama administration has not taken any steps to address the issue.
EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Weren't the Menominee Tribe, the tribe the Mohegans of Connecticut were trying to help get a casino? Should the information have been given to a rival tribe? Was the federal government right in doing so?
How come under the Freedom of Information, a Mohegan Tribe member allegedly, couldn't find out about the expense accounts of Elected Officials of the Mohegan Tribal Government? Should the information be released? What do you think?