Jemez Off Reservation Casino Dealt a Major Blow by Interior Department Ruling

Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk today issued decisions on four tribal gaming applications in California and New Mexico, determining that two of the proposed gaming sites meet the legal and regulatory requirements and two do not. “Our responsibility under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is clear: we must review each application on a case by case basis and determine whether it meets the standards outlined in law and regulation,” said Echo Hawk. The Assistant Secretary issued a negative decision on other tribal gaming applications for the Pueblo of Jemez, in New Mexico. The Pueblo of Jemez is located northwest of Albuquerque, and was seeking to develop a class III gaming facility nearly 300 miles away in Doña Ana County, near the New Mexico-Texas border.
Larry Echo Hawk
Hawk said the department had "closely reviewed the proposal" from the Pueblo of Jemez and determined that it "does not meet the requirements under the law necessary for approval. With the Pueblo of Jemez, we had significant concerns about the Tribe’s ability to effectively exercise jurisdiction over a parcel nearly 300 miles from its existing reservation.” The Pueblo of Jemez was seeking to develop its gaming facility under the Secretarial Determination exception. The Department did not issue a determination on whether the proposed gaming facility would be in the best interest of the Tribe, and not detrimental to the surrounding community. Instead, the Department notified the Tribe that it would not acquire the land in trust because of concerns about the Tribe’s ability to effectively exercise jurisdiction on the proposed gaming site.



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