Archive for Monday, February 10, 2003

Sovereignty issue

February 10, 2003


To the editor:

The "Hedging their bet" (J-W 2-2) editorial brought to mind the same issues that I had with Time magazine's December 2002 report on Indian gaming. I commented to them on their lack of objectivity and their desire to "stir the pot" instead of dealing with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the Kickapoo tribe in Kansas, the Sac and Fox Nation of the Missouri River and the Iowa tribe of Kansas and Nebraska all operate gaming facilities on trust lands in Kansas. These four federal tribes remain from the more than 25 tribes that called Kansas home between 1825 and 1880.

The majority of the other tribes were removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). With no state lottery and the lands allotted, some of these former Kansas tribes are seeking to return to Kansas for economic purposes. Class III, or "Vegas slots gaming," isn't allowed in states without a lottery. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 states this. So these Oklahoma tribes with Kansas ties are looking to use a federal law that allows them to pursue lands for gaming purposes that aren't connected to their current trust lands. This is what the Wyandotte tribe of Oklahoma, the Miami tribe of Oklahoma and the Eastern Delaware Tribe, among others, have attempted to use to gain lands in trust for gaming in Kansas.

The editorialist seems to flip-flop between being against the earlier Eastern Delaware proposal for North Lawrence and questioning the Kickapoo and Sac and Fox tribes' desire to protect their interests. In the end, this is a congressional question of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, not a state of Kansas issue.

Mike Ford,


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