Dear Tribal Family,
As you have probably heard, we learned today, July 28, 2016, that U.S. District Court Judge William Young overseeing the litigation challenging the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to hold our land in trust ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
This lawsuit was led by attorneys hired by a rival casino developer from Chicago, Neil Bluhm. The plaintiffs are also associated with CERA, one of the foremost anti-Tribe groups in the country.
But, let me assure you that our legal team and Tribal Council is working overtime to address our next steps. We expect an appeal to be filed, as both parties agreed to before the court proceedings in federal district court in Boston where this case was heard.
Obviously, we are disappointed in the ruling, as it represents an attack on Indian sovereignty and an attempt to undermine our right to self-determination and self-reliance.
While our legal team and Tribal Council develops our strategy moving forward, let me tell you what this ruling does not mean. This ruling does not mean that we have lost our land. This ruling does not mean we have been ordered to stop moving forward with our First Light Resort & Casino.
I don’t need to tell you that our people have been challenged many times over the centuries. But I am comforted by the fact that we are still here, living on the land of our ancestors. At this time, we need to stand united as a Tribe. If we can do that, with the blessings of our Creator and our ancestors, I have no doubt we will prevail!