In Michigan, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has been trying to create a gaming venue off reservation lands. The project has been slow going, seemingly encountering delay after delay. Now, according to the tribe, progress has been made to help move the project along.
The tribe has sent in an application to try and be approved for land-into-trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to create a casino in the Lansing area of Michigan. A decision has not been made in regard to the tribe’s application but a letter was presented to the tribe on the final day the Obama Administration was in office that helps to start the path to approval based on Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act provisions.
Aaron Payment is the chairman of the tribe who recently stated in a press release that the tribe is within federal law and have legal rights to pursue the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs as well as generate millions in new revenues to help benefit tribal members as well as the people of Lansing, public school students in the area, the Huron Township’s people and the state.
The site proposed for the casino by the tribe was purchased with funds from the land claim settlement. Current law requires that properties such as this be placed in a trust that is called a mandatory acquisition. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the tribe will have to provide more evidence to show that they meet the conditions set in the law. This means that the new administration of Donald Trump will have to make the decision and he has not indicated as to how he will handle matters involving off-reservation gaming.
The tribe has plans to create a casino in Lansing that would have 125,000 square feet of space and create 700 construction jobs during creation and 1,500 permanent employment positions once completed. Revenues would be provided for Lansing to help fund the Promise Scholarships program, which provides four-year college scholarships for Lansing high school graduates.