Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CT ATTORNEY GENERAL TELLS CT TRIBES NO MORE RESERVATION LANDS

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Responding to today's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal said that no more land will be taken into trust as reservation land for the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes.

Blumenthal called the decision "historic" and will bring to an end the ability of the state's two federally recognized Indian tribes to have land "taken off the tax rolls."

Once the United States takes land into trust for Indian tribes, the land cannot be taxed.

The Mashantucket Pequot Nation, however, said the Supreme Court decision doesn't affect them.

The Mohegan Tribe has not yet reached the 700-acre limit (not including the Fort Shantok property) the Tribe was guaranteed upon its settlement agreement.

Currently, the Tribe's Reservation includes the 158-acre Fort Shantok property and about 350 acres of other property. The Tribe submitted an application last September requesting the federal government to add 49.75 acres to the Reservation.

Included in the 49.75 acre application are: 1) the Tantaquidgeon Museum and adjacent property upon which is the imprint of Harold Tantaquidgeon's longhouse, 2) six parcels that include or are near the former Trading Cove Pizza property, which is largely now a parking lot, and 3) five properties on Broadview Avenue. All but one of the 16 parcels are currently owned by the Tribe.

Including Fort Shantok, the Mohegan Tribe's Reservation is 508 acres. This does not include the 49.75 acres in the application or other land owned by the Tribe but not held in trust, such as the Cochegan Rock property and the Shantok Apartment complex on Sunny Hill Drive in Uncasville.