Appeals court issues ruling on proposed Tohono O'odham casino

May 20, 2013

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says there’s still an unresolved question about whether a southern Arizona tribe was rightfully awarded reservation status…for its planned casino site in Glendale.

The Ninth Circuit’s opinion calls on the U.S. Interior Department to reconsider whether a federal law on land acquisitions by the Tohono O'odham Nation prohibits adding its planned casino site to the tribe's reservation because the site is surrounded by the city of Glendale. Under the provision, land that is "within the corporate limits of any city or town" can't be added to the tribe's reservation. The appeals court previously rejected arguments by Glendale that the property is ineligible for reservation status because it is not part of the city. But the new ruling said there is "ambiguity" on the corporate limits provision of the law and the Interior Department was mistaken to conclude that the provision's meaning was clear. The court's two to one ruling replaces a September ruling. The Tohono O'odham Nation unveiled its plans for the fifty-four acre resort and casino in 2009. The tribe previously purchased the site after receiving a thirty million dollar federal settlement to replace nearly ten thousand acres of ancestral reservation land damaged by a dam. Steve Goldstein, KJZZ News.

 

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