After court ruling in its favor, what’s next for Tohono O’odham?

By Carolyn Dryer

Glendale Star

The Tohono O’odham Nation has now won all of its court cases with the City of Glendale, Gila River Indian Community, and other entities and individuals who joined in the lawsuits to prevent the construction of West Valley Resort/Casino at 95th and Northern avenues.

Sept. 11, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 split decision that the Nation has the right to take 54 acres at 95th and Northern avenues into reservation trust.

The question remains, where does the Nation go from here? What are the steps that now must be taken by the Nation?

For one, the Ninth Circuit Court ruling affirms the Department of the Interior’s decision that designated the 54 acres as eligible for reservation trust status.

Does that mean the Nation can start building the resort and casino right away?

Well, not immediately. But, the expectation is the DOI will waste no time with finalizing reservation trust status for the Nation’s 54 acres.


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September 2012