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Tribe asks judge to halt Ho-Chunk casino expansion

TODD RICHMOND

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An American Indian tribe in northern Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to block another band from expanding a competing casino, arguing the project violates both tribes’ gambling compacts with the state.

The Ho-Chunk Nation wants to add hundreds of slot machines, table games, a restaurant and a hotel to its casino in Wittenberg. Construction has already begun on the project.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans fears the development, less than 20 miles from its North Star casino-resort, could draw away gamblers and cost the tribe $22 million per year.

The lawsuit argues the Ho-Chunk’s compact allows the tribe to run only what’s called an ancillary facility in Wittenberg — one in which less than half the revenue would come from gambling — and the proposed expansion would violate that agreement. They also assert the land wasn’t placed into trust until 1993, and federal law prohibits gambling on trust land acquired after 1988.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, though, ruled the Ho-Chunk placed the land in trust in 1969, and that an amendment to the Ho-Chuck’s compact would allow such a project, according to an opinion released in February by Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel.

Steve Michels, spokesman for the Department of Administration, said in an email to The Associated Press that the state has been consistent in honoring gambling compacts with all tribes. He insisted that under the amendment to the Ho-Chunk agreement, adopted in 2003, the tribe is authorized to conduct gaming in Shawano County.

The Stockbridge-Munsee filing seeks a preliminary injunction to stop construction on the project while the lawsuit is pending. In lieu of that, the tribe is asking the judge to declare that the tribe doesn’t have to make its annual revenue-sharing payment to the state. The tribe has already warned Walker’s administration that it intends to withhold nearly $1 million in payments this year because of the dispute.

“We don’t relish having to take this step, but do so to protect our sovereign right to self-determination,” Stockbridge-Munsee President Shannon Holsey said in a news release announcing the lawsuit.

Collin Price, a spokesman for the Ho-Chunk, did not immediately return email messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

One comment

  1. This article is an astonishing piece of a deplorable lack of journalist curiosity regarding U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” since The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924! That single Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, made moot all previous common law-state and federal-including Presidential Executive Orders, Commerce Clause and Treaty Clause alleged Indian Treaties (if any U.S. Senate confirmed Indian treaties actually existed pre-1924 Citizenship) regarding U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” so often touted by politicians and Indian advocates as being legitimate law. It never ceases to amaze me that not one Article III judge adheres to their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution from fraud upon the Court petitions to adjudicate alleged common law-state and federal-that does not exist…that law being Title 25-INDIANS!

    And yet, politicians and MSM continue to perpetuate willful blindness to the Constitutional absurdity that Congress, Presidents/Governors, Initiatives and Referendums can make distinguishable the capacities, metes and boundaries of a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” post citizenship.

    The United States Constitution makes for no provisions for:

    1. Indian sovereign nations. None of the asserted tribes possess any of the attributes of being a ‘sovereign nation:’ a. No Constitution recognition b. No international recognition c. No fixed borders d. No military e. No currency f. No postal system g. No passports

    2. Treaties with its own constituency

    3. Indian reservations whereby a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race”
    reside exclusively and to the exclusion of all others, on land-with rare exception-that is owned by the People of the United States according to federal documents readily available on-line that notes rights of renters as ‘occupancy and use’ by these distinguished U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” only with the land owned by the People of the United States.

    4. Recognition of ‘Indian citizenship’ asserted by various tribes. There is no international recognition of “Indian citizenship” as there is no ‘nation’ from which citizenship is derived.

    A simple question for politicians and MSM to answer…a question so simple, it is hard:

    “Where is the proclamation ratified by 1/3rd of the voters of the United States that amends the Constitution to make the health, welfare, safety and benefits of a select group of U.S./State citizens distinguishable because of their “Indian ancestry/race?”

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