BIA puts hold on all two-part off-reservation casino applications
Monday, January 10, 2011
The Obama administration has put a hold on all two-part determination applications for off-reservation casinos.
There are currently nine pending applications, some dating back nearly a decade. But the Bureau of Indian Affairs won't make a decision until Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk develops his own policy on the matter, a spokesperson for the Interior Department said.
“Last year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar instructed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk to undertake a comprehensive review of Department of the Interior policy on the two-part determination exemption under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for taking land into trust for gaming purposes. As part of the review, Echo Hawk held six consultation meetings with Indian leaders around the country which finished on Dec. 18, 2010,” spokesperson Kendra Barkoff told The Hood River News. “Mr. Echo Hawk’s office is currently reviewing the comments received as part of that consultation and determining the next steps on the process for considering two-part determination applications for tribes."
The nine applications include one from the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. The BIA has approved a Class III gaming compact for a proposed off-reservation casino but the casino itself remains in limbo.
"This is a major hurdle for our project to clear and is long-awaited good news for the tribal families who hope that our casino and resort project at Cascade Locks will bring a measure of economic relief from our impoverished conditions," Tribal Secretary Jody Calica said in a press release.
Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the two-part determination process requires approval of an off-reservation casino by the BIA and the state governor. Since 1988, only three tribes have successfully cleared both hurdles.
STORY TAKEN FROM www.indianz.com