In case you missed it, I got this comment on my previous blog:
Dear Aunt Gladys,Ok, apparently there is either still a lot of denial or further need for review.
We attended this evening's Middleboro Candidates' Night and are confused.
Maybe you could explain.
We printed Carcieri v Salazar like responsible citizens. We read the entire decision and discussed it to ensure our accurate comprehension.
To us, the Mashpee Wampanoag Mega Middleboro Casino is DEAD.
DEAD like the poor parrot.
If you had attended Middleboro's Candidates' Night, they seem to exist in another dimension of time or space. Maybe Rod Serling could explain.
There seem to be casino supporters who still believe the future plan exists.
There was no one else we could turn to for advice.
Is it something in the Middleboro water?
Is this just denial?
Let's break it down.
As we know, there are four ways that OFF-RESERVATION land taken into trust for Indian Tribes can be used for gaming (those are the operative words).
These are known as "exceptions" to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) - and they permit gaming (with certain restrictions) on new or off-reservation land when the land in trust qualifies under that Act's definition as:
- Restored Lands
- Part of a Land Claim
- A Two-Part Determination
- An Initial Reservation
Now, let's switch gears and take a look at Section 7 of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). Keep in mind, the Mashpee Wampanoag currently have no reservation. They have no other land into trust. They are applying to take NEW land into trust.
SEC. 7Notice that this is where the IRA gives the Secretary of the Interior the power to to issue a “Reservation Proclamation” to establish an initial reservation.
The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to proclaim new Indian reservations on lands acquired pursuant to any authority conferred by this Act, or to add such lands to existing reservations: Provided, That lands added to existing reservations shall be designated for the exclusive use of Indians entitled by enrollment or by tribal membership to residence at such reservations.
But wait! The Supreme Court recently ruled that the IRA does not apply to Tribes which were Federally recognized after 1934.
The Mashpee Wampanoag were Federally recognized in February of 2007.
Therefore, since the Mashpee Wampanoag no longer fall under the IRA's umbrella, the SOI cannot hand them an initial reservation, and so obviously the tribe cannot game under the initial reservation exception of IGRA.
See? You need part of one Act to qualify, for part of another Act. In other words,
No reservation proclamation = No initial reservation = No IGRA = No Casino!
But what about Tribes claiming that they should all be on equal footing? Won't that be a compelling argument to change the law?
Well, I'm preparing a blog to explain the original intent of the IRA, so that you'll see clearly, like the folks at the Supreme Court did, that it was never meant to be all things to all Tribes.
Ok, but what happens if, say, the Mashpee Wampanoag keep wheeling out that heartwarming bushwah about meeting the Pilgrims and Congress passes an Act to put the land into trust? Well, all that means is that they've got a whole lot of swampy land-in-trust - because they still can't get a reservation proclamation from the SOI because, you guessed it, the IRA still won't apply to them.
But, you ask, what if Congress reforms the IRA to include Tribes Federally recognized after 1934? As in changing "Now" to be defined as "Now and hereafter".
Well, believe it or not, this is a good thing. Governor’s all across this country will unite to force Congress to uphold the 14th Amendment, which requires States to provide equal protection under the law to all people within their jurisdictions.
And, after years of watching the Federal government take land off State tax rolls and exempt it from regulations, States are excited about the potential for opening up the land into trust process for public discussion - which has never happened before!
As we know, the only public comment period for land into trust has been during the EIS preparation period. Currently, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Administrative branch of the government, controls that information. By opening up the process for review, it will then be in the hands of the Legislative branch.
In other words, suddenly there's that magic word, transparency. And now, instead of having the public's concerns simply redlined as "N/A", the world will hear about mega casinos being built on delicate eco-systems in residential backyards, and of corruption, reservation shopping, done deals, rushed agreements and all sorts of other good stuff.
And here's something a lot of people don't know, pressure will also be coming from tribes who benefit from the IRA, but do not, nor wish to, build a casino. They, too, know that a review of the IRA will adversely affect the Act.
For Tribes, investors, and entrenched bureacrats - this would be like opening Pandora's box.
Which is ok with me.
And finally, the truth is, you can’t just reform the part of the IRA you don’t like. The whole Act is subjected to review under the current laws. They will do more to damage to the Act as a whole in trying to “fix” one part.
So, I hope that will help explain the putrid odor of decomposing ex-parrot coming from the vicinity of Precinct Street.
Please feel free to print it out and send it along, perhaps with a pair of reading glasses (still only $1.50 at Ocean State) to your favorite elected officials, candidates for office, and others still living in a chronic State of Denial.