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BIA Ruling Ignites Connecticut Lawmakers

18 March 2004

CONNECTICUT – As reported by the Connecticut Day: "State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asked the U.S. secretary of the Interior to impose a moratorium on recognition of American Indian tribes during a meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., while lawmakers in Hartford considered a bill that would limit tribes to opening casinos only on their reservations.

"Both efforts were in response to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs' Jan. 29 decision to recognize the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent. The tribe's recognition –– and the consequent potential for a third casino in Connecticut –– has reignited the furor that followed the recognition of the Historic Eastern Pequots of North Stonington in 2002.

"Blumenthal raised the subject Wednesday during a meeting with Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton and other attorneys general. He said a Jan. 12 memo, released as part of the ongoing federal lawsuit between the state and the tribe, shows the BIA 'illegally ignored its own regulations' to grant recognition to the Schaghticokes. He asked Norton to stop recognizing tribes while an 'immediate, full and far-reaching investigation' is conducted.

"…In Hartford, the Judiciary Committee conducted a public hearing Wednesday on a bill that would confine tribes to opening casinos only on their reservations. The bill also would prohibit casinos within a mile of schools, effectively ruling out the Schaghticoke reservation, which is near the Kent School…"

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