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Posted on: April 14, 2021, 04:05h.
Final up to date on: April 14, 2021, 04:23h.
Philip Conneller Learn Extra
The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s Prairie Flower On line casino on the Iowa-Nebraska border mustn’t have been constructed. That’s as a result of the land on which it stands doesn’t qualify because the tribe’s sovereign territory, it has been claimed.
Carter Lake, throughout the horseshoe-shaped physique of water within the heart of the picture, is an enclave of Iowa that’s fully surrounded by Nebraska. (Picture: Wikipedia)
That is the thrust of the argument introduced by legal professionals representing two states and one metropolis to a federal appeals court docket heard final week.
It’s the most recent chapter within the longstanding battle between the states of Nebraska and Iowa, the Metropolis of Council Bluffs, and the tribe.
The Ponca had been granted federal permission to construct the Prairie Flower in 2017. The on line casino opened in November 2018, in Carter Lake, Iowa, which, due to a geographical quirk, would possibly as nicely be in Nebraska.
Iowa’s ‘Metropolis in Nebraska’
Some 140 years in the past, flooding altered the course of the Missouri River, creating Carter Lake, round which a metropolis sprang up that now shares its title. Immediately, it’s the one metropolis in Iowa that lies west of the Missouri. In reality, it’s a de facto suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, and it’s fully remoted from the remainder of Iowa.
The Prairie Flower On line casino has irked the Metropolis of Omaha. Regardless of town lending its title to the one of many world’s most well-known poker variants, gaming is illegitimate there. The on line casino has additionally irked Council Bluffs, Iowa, which has industrial gaming operations of its personal that it desires to guard from new competitors.
The states and town declare the federal authorities erred when it agreed to take the Carter Lake land into belief for the tribe.
They argue the lands weren’t eligible for federal designation as “restored lands” underneath the 1990 Ponca Restoration Act (PRA).
That is federal laws that acknowledged the tribe’s sovereignty and allowed it to develop its lands to compensate for the lack of its historic reservation.
The states and town argue that the Act restricted the tribe to land in simply two Nebraska counties, Boyd and Knox, that are 100 miles from Carter Lake.
In 2019, US District Choose Stephanie Rose dominated in opposition to the states and town in favor of the feds.
Ponca Exception to the Rule?
Final week, Iowa Assistant Legal professional Basic John Lundquist advised the St. Louis-based appellate panel that the query boiled down to at least one subject: Did Congress intend to make an exception for the Ponca by granting it land past its historic homeland, as set out within the PRA? Or did it merely make a mistake?
“Does the Ponca Restoration Act set up geographic limitations on land acquisition that may be thought-about taken into belief…?” Lundquist requested.
The court docket needn’t look any farther than the language used within the Restoration Act to search out the reply,” he continued. “Knox and Boyd counties in Nebraska are the one geographic areas particularly recognized within the [PRA] as areas the place the secretary can take land into belief for the advantage of the tribe.”
Representing the US Justice Division, Mary Gabrielle Sprague argued Congress did intend to make an exception for the tribe.
She stated the PRA outlined a big service space of 16 counties the place the Ponca individuals reside.
“[Congress] expressed clear intent to permit the Ponca individuals to stay residing the place they had been residing and to supply providers to them,” she claimed.
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