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U.S. House rejects Romulus and Port Huron casinos bill

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June 25, 2008


WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives defeated a bill today to settle a Native American land dispute in the Upper Peninsula in exchange for tribal casino land at Romulus and Port Huron. The bill was defeated by an overwhelming vote of 298-121.

The measure would have settled a land dispute dating back to the mid-1800s when speculators illegally sold 110 acres of tribal lands around Charlotte Beach in the Upper Peninsula. In an 2002 agreement with Gov. John Engler, the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Bay Mills Indian Community gave up their claims to the Charlotte Beach lands in exchange for land in Port Huron and Romulus, where they could build casinos. The agreement required Congressional approval which was denied today.

"We're not happy with the outcome," said Cory Wilson, spokesman for the Sault Ste. Marie tribe. "We are going to find out what options we have. We do not want to say this thing is dead. We just don't know. We will get our experts in the room and find out what our options are."

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