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WASHINGTON - Michigan's Upper Peninsula-based Keweenaw Bay Indian Community received good news yesterday from the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk. The Tribe, based at Baraga, Michigan was granted approval to a proposed gaming facility in Marquette, which is 72 miles from Baraga.
Echo Hawk determined the new casino facility would be in the best interest of the Tribe and not be detrimental to the surrounding community.
"I undertook a careful and thorough review of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's application, The Tribe's application satisfies the rigorous standards contained in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and our regulations,"
stated Echo Hawk.
"The Tribe demonstrated that it has a significant historical connection to the proposed gaming site, and its proposal to move an existing gaming facility closer to its reservation has strong support from the local community."
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has approximately 3,310 tribal citizens. It has more than 6,000 acres of existing trust lands on its reservation.
Since 2000, the Tribe has operated a class III gaming facility in Marquette County, which is 90 miles away from its tribal headquarters in Baraga. The Tribe is proposing to relocate its existing facility to a new location that Echo Hawk approved. It will be constructed on an 80 acre parcel of land at the site of the former Marquette County Airport. The site is 18 miles closer to Baraga.
Under a 2000 settlement with the State of Michigan, the Tribe agreed to close its off reservation gaming facility if its receives final approval and it begins gaming on the new site.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder must concur with the Assistant Secretary's determination within one year of the determination. If he does not concur with this determination, then the Tribe may not conduct gaming on the proposed site.
posted December 21, 2011 6:00 am est