After choosing my paper topic of Indian gaming on “newly acquired” or “after acquired” Indian lands, I was surprised to find an article specifically addressing one of the problems that could, and did, arise under this section of the IGRA in my home state of Arizona.
The first article I found was on the Arizona Capitol Times webpage (published June 19, 2012 at http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2012/06/19/u-s-house-debates-bill-to-block-tohono-oodham-casino-in-glendale/). In this article, entitled “U.S. House Debates Bill to Block Tohono O’odham Casino in Glendale,” the author described the “dangerous precedent” both sides could be setting:
In the earlier 1980s, the federal government conducted a project near the Tohono O’odham Nation (located within the city boundaries of Glendale, Arizona) that resulted in serious, damaging flooding of the Tohono O’odham farmlands. As a result, the federal government passed the Gila Bend Reservation Indian Lands Replacement Act in 1986. In 2003, as part of this, the tribe began purchasing over 130 acres of land within the city of Glendale and then later asked the Secretary of the Interior to put over 50 of those acres into trust. After the secretary approved that transfer, Representative Trent Franks sponsored a bill (the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Clarification Act) to “prohibit gaming in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties on tribal “replacement lands.” These lands, which are over 100 miles away from the Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation, Franks argued, were never meant to be used for the tribe to build casinos and therefore he accused the tribe of “reservation shopping” for the best place to make substantial monetary gains off of Indian gaming.
The tribe, however, argued that it followed every law to the letter and stated that the passing of Frank’s bill would “prevent the O’odham Nation from creating thousands of new jobs, permanent and construction.” Franks, however, disagrees and says that even if the tribe did follow all the proper laws, their plans to open these new casinos are still banned by Arizona State law Proposition 202 “that limits the number of tribal casinos in the Valley to seven, the current number operating.”
- - -After reading this article, I found an article noting the decision from the U.S House in which they passed a “bill blocking the Tohono O’odham Nation from building a casino near Glendale.” (Source: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20120619glendale-casino-house-passes-bill-blocking-brk.html) The Tribe however, might find some comfort in the fact that the bill that was passed is seen as extremely controversial and will likely not pass in the “Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.” Opponents of the bill in the house stated that the bill “breaks a settlement agreement the federal government made with the tribe” and that by passing it, “[h]e accused Congress of ‘breaking its word to Indian Country one more time.’”