Wyandotte Nation v. National Indian Gaming Commission

437 F. Supp. 2d 1193 (2006)

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Wyandotte Nation v. National Indian Gaming Commission

United States District Court for the District of Kansas
437 F. Supp. 2d 1193 (2006)

Facts

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), gaming was generally prohibited on Indian land acquired after October 17, 1988, and located outside of the tribe’s previous reservation. In the 1950s, the Wyandotte Nation (tribe) (plaintiff) obtained a judgment from land title claims filed with the Indian Claims Commission (ICC). Congress enacted Public Law 98-602, which effectuated the judgment and allocated $100,000 of the judgment funds for the purchase of land to be taken into trust. The tribe used these funds to purchase several tracts of land, including the Shriner Tract in Kansas. In 2000, the tribe applied for an ordinance to conduct class II gaming activity on the Shriner Tract. The National Indian Gaming Commission (commission) (defendant) issued a decision that gaming was not allowed on the Shriner Tract under IGRA’s general gaming prohibition on after-acquired Indian land. The tribe argued that gaming was permitted under the “settlement of a land claim” exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)’s general prohibition against gaming on after-acquired land because the Shriner Tract was taken into trust through settlement of title claims brought against the United States and filed with the ICC. The commission contended that the Shriner Tract did not meet the settlement-of-a-land-claim exception because a land claim must be a claim for the return of land, not a monetary award to be used to purchase land. The secretary of the interior had previously exempted lands acquired by the Seneca Nation using funds obtained from a claim involving a breached lease. The tribe challenged the commission’s decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Robinson, J.)

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