BRADLEY, Mich. – The Interior Department has formally taken 147 acres of land into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe, ending a decade of opposition from an anti-Indian casino group.
Interior’s action took place Jan. 30; nine days after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition from Michigan Gaming Opposition (MichGO) challenging the interior’s authority to take land into trust.
A few days earlier, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon tossed out a motion filed by former Wayland Township Trustee David Patchak, asking for a stay to stop the federal government from putting the tribe’s land into trust. Both actions were based on a highly controversial land into trust case – Carcieri vs. Narragansett – filed by the state of Rhode Island against the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Carcieri questions the interior secretary’s authority to take land into trust and whether land can be taken into trust for tribes that were not recognized in 1934, the year of the Indian Reorganization Act.
The two legal actions end any ambiguity about Gun Lake’s legal ability to move forward with its planned $200 million casino.
The tribe issued a press release with the exuberant headline “In land we trust.”