Wednesday, November 17, 2010

N.Y. Governor's Office Issues Statement That It Is Ready To Settle Land Claim With Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans

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A spokesperson for New York Gov. David Paterson said yesterday that the administration is close to settling a land claim with the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans that would result in a one-acre reservation in Madison County, N.Y.

The one-acre parcel would settle the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican's 24,000-acre land claim in Madison County.

The Tribe's last attempt to secure land in New York was rejected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in January 2008 when the BIA rejected about a dozen land-into-trust proposals that sought lands for off-reservation casinos. The BIA rejected the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican land-into-trust proposal because the land sought in the Catskill Mountains was too far from their land base in Wisconsin. The BIA's rejection of several land-into-trust proposals marked the first use of a controversial policy that denied land applications based on their distance from a tribe's reservation base.

The details of the land claim settlement plans are not yet public but the distance from the town of Stockbridge, located in Madison County, to the Catskill Mountain location where the Tribe wants a casino and owns land, is about 150 miles. The distance could be slightly less, depending on which parcel is targeted for settlement.

The developers of a possible Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican casino are the principles of Trading Cove Associates, the group that developed and managed the Mohegan Sun casino and, later, purchased and expanded the Twin Rivers slot parlor in Rhode Island.

The proposed casino location in Bridgeville, in the Catskill Mountains, is less than 100 miles from New York City and the Mohegan Tribe's casino in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Despite an MSNBC commentator's description this morning on the Morning Joe show describing the Tribe as the Milwaukee Braves, the Tribe settled in the town of Stockbridge, N.Y., in the late 1700's and claims the land was illegally taken.