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Connecticut Tribal Ruling Prompts Protests

30 January 2004

CONNECTICUT – As reported by the New York Times: "The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs Thursday formally recognized the existence of an Indian tribe based in northwestern Connecticut, to the dismay of political leaders and residents who fear that the government designation will lead to the creation of a third casino in the state.

"Richard L. Velky, the chief of the tribe, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, based in Kent, said he wanted time to savor the news before tackling the topic of whether the tribe would pursue the gambling business, but he did not rule out the possibility of a new casino.

"…The Schaghticokes (pronounced SKAT-a-coke) are the fourth tribe in Connecticut to receive federal recognition.

"…The state's political leaders swiftly condemned the government's decision to recognize a fourth tribe and vowed to appeal.

"'I support the attorney general's efforts to overturn the ruling,' Gov. John G. Rowland said in a statement released shortly after the decision was announced. 'I also wish to make clear at this time my complete opposition to the further expansion of casino gambling in Connecticut.'

"…Whether or not the tribe pursues a casino, recognition means that it is now regarded as a sovereign nation, exempting it from local control…"

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