ALLEGAN COUNTY - In a landmark case the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the
Interior Department cannot transfer land into federal trust for tribes
recognized after 1934. The land transfer establishes a sovereign reservation
exempt from state taxation and laws and is a prerequisite to building an Indian
The Match-Be-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, commonly referred to
as the Gun Lake Tribe, was federally recognized October 23, 1998. They own 137
acres in Wayland Township which the U.S. Interior Department placed into trust
on January 30th. The tribe plans a $200 million casino at U.S. 131 and 129th
”Gun Lake should not have been allowed to put that land into trust,'' Rusty
Merchant, a spokesman for the anti-casino group 23 is Enough, said following the
court ruling. “The question is, can you reverse that action?'”
The Supreme Court ruling is not retroactive, and the federal Quiet Title Act
precludes challenging land already in trust. Therefore, the Gun Lake casino is
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