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Schaghticoke Tribes ‘casino dreams' dashed by court

August 27, 2008

CONNECTICUT - The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent have been seeking federal recognition as a prerequisite for building a casino in western Connecticut. However, last week Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey upheld a 2005 decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to deny their application.

This is a major setback for the tribe, who could appeal the decision. Schaghticoke leaders and their lawyers could not be reached to discuss the decision.

Judge Dorsey's ruling acknowledged the political lobbying by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to defeat the Schaghticoke's efforts, but found the Interior Departments decision was valid because the Schaghticoke did not prove they were an "historically continuous and distinct" tribal group.

Federal recognition of the Schaghticoke was Gov. M. Jodi Rell, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and Connecticut's members of Congress.

Blumenthal was pleased with the ruling and said "Today's victory reaffirms reality — the Schaghticoke petition for recognition failed because it was meritless. Sovereign status must be granted only to groups that meet the explicit federal criteria, and the Schaghticoke have failed to meet those standards."

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