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Council Bluffs Joins the Lawsuits of Iowa and Nebrask Against the Ponca Tribe

On September 9th, 2008, the Council Bluffs City Council has decided to join two lawsuits filed by Iowa and Nebraska criticizing the Ponca Tribe's plan to construct a casino in Carter Lake. City lawyer Dick Wade commented that the city has the legal option to join the two lawsuits because a casino facility in Carter Lake would just be detrimental to the neighboring communities.

Iowa claims in its lawsuit that the Ponca Indian Tribe from Nebraska should not be given permission to construct a casino in Carter Lake because it lied to the federal government to get a land in Carter Lake placed under trust. The tribe previously stated that they planned to utilize the facility to provide health care services.

Councilwoman Lynne Branigan commented that by changing its plan, the tribe has shown that it cannot be trusted. The Iowa attorney general's office is petitioning a federal judge to overturn a decision by the National Indian Gaming Commission, allowing the tribe to go ahead with constructing a casino in Carter Lake.

The Indian Tribe had the land as "restored lands" opening the door to constructing a casino. Federal Law allows Native American Tribes to feature gaming that is allowed in the state where the Indian Tribe owns a land. The state of Iowa allows gaming but the state of Nebraska does not. Nebraska said that it has a stake in the case because of the proximity of Carter Lake in Omaha, Nebraska.

Carter Lake originally sat on the east side of the Missouri River but shifting and flooding during the 1800's left the city on the western part of the river, northeast of Omaha, but in 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court said that it still belongs to Iowa. The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors decided last week not to participate in the Iowa lawsuit because the state has the same argument as the county's.

 

17 September 2008
News Submitted by:
Lauren Desmond

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