A U.S. District Judge yesterday issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians from applying to take land, near the Lansing Center, into trust, a step necessary to proceed to build on the site.
The city had approved a purchase agreement for the site and the tribe had begun work to have the federal government put the land into trust on the tribe’s behalf. But Attorney General Bill Schuette and Governor Rick Snyder argued the proposed casino would violate federal law as well as compacts with both the Sault Tribe and other nearby tribes.
The injunction prevents the tribe from moving ahead until the lawsuit is resolved. A spokesperson for Schuette says they are pleased with the ruling, adding that tribes are expected to follow state and federal gaming laws, and that includes abiding by the terms of the compacts they sign.
This ruling rejects the Sault Tribe’s argument that would have allowed an unchecked expansion of tribal gaming in Michigan. Sault Tribal Chair Aaron Payment says the tribe is expecting some two years in court to get the case resolved.
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