Source: Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, IN) - February 20, 2002

High court avoids U.S.-Miamis case

Author: Sylvia A. Smith Washington editor


The Supreme Court said Tuesday it won't get involved in a dispute between Indiana's Miami Indian tribe and the federal government.

The tribe, whose 2,500 members live in a swath from Fort Wayne to Lafayette, has contended for years that the government improperly stripped it of its status as an official tribe.

After a repeal was rejected by the secretary of the interior, the tribe sued. Lower courts agreed with the government, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

One other avenue is available to the tribe: Congress. An American Indian tribe can ask Congress to pass a law recognizing it as an official tribe. Rep. Mark Souder, R-4th, has frequently said he will do that if the Miamis request it.

A decade ago Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., was the main congressional champion of legislation to recognize the Miamis as a tribe. But he withdrew that support when he realized that recognition would bring with it the right to operate gambling businesses in Indiana.

Federally recognized tribes are eligible for various programs for housing, economic development, job training, health care and their lands are exempt from state taxes and other state laws.

That means they can open a gambling casino without any approval from the state legislature or governor as long as the state allows gambling, such as a lottery.

Copyright (c) 2002 The Journal Gazette
Record Number: 0F1D3D1FF944A274



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