From: email@example.com Subject: Congress Has To Change The Law First, Says Interior Official Land Rights Network American Land Rights Association Alliance Against Reservation Shopping PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604 (360) 687-3087 – Fax: (360) 687-2973 Web Address: http://www.landrights.org Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003 firstname.lastname@example.org -- 202-489-4893 Congress Has To Change The Law First, Says Interior Official Tribes Urge Change In Casino Rules SACRAMENTO: Federal officials hear opposition to reservation shopping for gambling sites. “Congress has to change the law first,” said George T. Skibine, acting deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development at an Interior Dept. hearing April 18th in Sacramento. "We just do not believe that we can require ancestral ties to the land," he said. Editor: In other words, the tribes can set up shop anywhere they want. 10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 By JIM MILLER Sacramento Bureau SACRAMENTO - Leaders of some Inland gaming tribes asked federal officials Tuesday to restrict other tribes' attempts to put casinos on land far from their existing reservations. Tuesday's hearing on possible changes to the federal rules on tribal gaming comes as tribal officials around the country have called on the U.S. Department of Interior and Congress to require tribes that want to open casinos on land off their reservations to prove that their people once lived there. But a Department of Interior official suggested the agency's new rules would avoid the issue. Congress has to change the law first, said George T. Skibine, acting deputy assistant secretary for policy and economic development. "We just do not believe that we can require ancestral ties to the land," he said. Federal law generally restricts tribal gaming to land that was part of a reservation before Oct. 17, 1988. Tuesday's hearing, along with several others around the country, focused on what exceptions to the pre-1988 rule should be allowed. Raising the most concern were exceptions for lands returned to tribes and situations when the governor of a state and the Secretary of the Interior allow a tribe open a casino away from its reservation. Last year, the Schwarzenegger administration reached agreement with the Los Coyotes tribe of San Diego County and the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Humboldt County. Under the pacts, the tribes would open side-by-side casinos in Barstow. The Interior department will not consider approving the deal until the Legislature ratifies it, and lawmakers seem reluctant to do so. Inland tribal leaders criticized the Barstow deal. "San Manuel cannot agree with this conduct, particularly when it impacts our ancestral land and sovereign rights," said Vincent Duro, vice-chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The tribe runs a casino near Highland, about 70 miles from Barstow. Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, which includes several Inland tribes, echoed Duro's sentiments. But Kevin Siva, a member of the Los Coyote's tribe executive council, criticized San Manuel and other tribes for trying to "put up fences." Los Coyotes also has ancestral ties to the Barstow area, he said. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., both have pending bills that would restrict what critics call reservation shopping. © 2006, The Press-Enterprise Company -- To unsubscribe from this mailing list; please visit http://governance.net and enter your email address.