Friday, September 20, 2013

The planned Jamul Casino is facing a challenge: The Jamul Action Committee (JAC) and the Jamul Community Church have jointly sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), and six officials in a suit filed in Sacramento today.  The named officials are:
  • Tracie Stevens, NIGC Chairwoman
  • Sally Jewell, Interior Department Secretary
  • Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary of Indian Affairs
  • Paula Hart, director of the Office of Indian Gaming
  • Amy Dutschke, regional director, Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • John Rydzik, chief, Division of Environmental, Cultural Resources Management and Safety of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The key bits:
The plaintiffs - a nonprofit citizen group and Christian church - challenged a gaming commission finding that the Jamul Indian Village (JIV) had "Indian lands" qualified for gambling under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

Though the IRA trusts cover recognized Indian tribes under federal jurisdiction, Supreme Court precedent limits inclusion "to federally recognized tribes that were in existence when the IRA was enacted in 1934," according to the complaint.

Federal recognition of the Jamul Indian Village allegedly came after 1980.

The parcel, the plaintiffs claim, is not a reservation as defined in federal law.

"The defendants have no authority to create a reservation or Indian lands on non-public domain lands within the exterior boundaries of the state of California," the complaint states. "The parcel is not public domain land and is subject to state jurisdiction. The state has not ceded jurisdiction to the JIV or the United States. The defendants' attempt to exempt and remove the parcel from state jurisdiction by characterizing it as a reservation or Indian lands eligible for gambling in the ILD is an abuse of discretion and is arbitrary, capricious and contrary to the law."

Opponents also say that exceptions under the IGRA do not apply to the parcel.

"The defendants' determination in the ILD that the parcel is a reservation, or Indian lands eligible for gaming under IGRA, is not supported by the record," according to the complaint.
More on the news report and at the JAC site linked above...

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