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Supreme Court ruling stops Amador casino plans

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March 28, 2009

PLYMOUTH, CA - The Ione Band of Miwok Indians were dealt a legal defeat to their planned $250 million casino 220 acres in Plymouth by the U.S.
Supreme Court. The high court ruled last month that land could not be taken into trust for the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, because the tribe was not federally recognized at that time.

The Ione Band of Miwok Indians had its federal recognition restored in 1994. Its status in 1934 is unclear. The tribe signed a treaty in the late 1800s and "continued contact with the federal government" as evidence of an earlier recognition.

"This is a blow for gaming and non-gaming tribes," Matt Franklin, tribal chairman of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, said Friday. "This is bad for Indian Country. Everyone is scrambling to see how this affects us."

"We have our attorneys looking at the language and looking at different alternatives," he said regarding the impact of the court decision on his tribe.

Franklin said tribes convening under the National Gaming Association plan to ask Congress for legislation to clarify and remedy the court decision.
The National Indian Gaming Commission, a regulatory agency, will hear testimony within the next two weeks, he said.

The court ruling will not to stop another Amador County casino project proposed by the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians. That tribe was established in 1926, according to federal records. The Buena Vista casino will have 24,000 square feet of gambling, 950 slot machines and 20 game tables. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010.

Amador County is home to the 130,000-square-foot Jackson Rancheria casino with its 1,500 slot machines. The casino is owned by the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwok Indians. The date of the tribe's federal recognition was not readily available from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians tribe was recognized in 1914.
They own the Red Hawk Casino in El Dorado County featuring a 278,00-square-feet gaming floor, 2,000 slot machines, and 75 gaming tables.

The United Auburn Indian Community was recognized by the federal government in 1910. It owns Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln which features a 85,000 square-feet gaming floor, 2,600 slot machines and 98 gambling tables.

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