Subject: Anti-Reservation Shopping Bill is Introduced In Congress

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
Alliance Against Reservation Shopping
PO Box 400
Battle Ground, WA  98604
(360) 687-3087

Anti-Reservation Shopping Bill is Introduced In Congress

-----Pombo introduces HR 4893 to curb reservation shopping.  Resources Committee Press Release below.

-----Lytton Band of Pomo Indians reservation shopping highlighted below.

-----Resources Committee holds hearing on reservation shopping this Wednesday, March 15th.


*****Action Items and Resources Committee press release below.

What is reservation shopping?

Reservation shopping is when a tribe looks to locate a new casino as close to a populated area as possible away from their traditional area.  To do this, they must create a new reservation which often cannot be stopped by local communities.  

Here is an example of reservation shopping:

The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians in California tries to sneak in the back door.

In March 2000, California voters approved a constitutional amendment granting Indian tribes a statewide monopoly on slot machines and banked card games (like blackjack).  The Indians proponents had spent $30 million on top of $70 million spent two years earlier on a statutory amendment, and, in response to public concerns, had promised that Indian casinos would be limited to Indian lands in mostly remote, rural locations.

But the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians from the rural farmlands 65 miles north of San Francisco were not satisfied.  They wanted to put a casino in an urban East Bay Area across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco.

In 1999, they and their investors applied to have a 9 acre parcel of land with an existing 70,000 square foot card room in the heavily urbanized East Bay put in trust for them.  The BIA then told them this land would not qualify for an exception to the rule that lands acquired after 1988 cannot be used for gaming.

The Lytton then recruited Congressman George Miller to sneak a three sentence amendment into a 150 page Omnibus Indian bill, directing the Secretary of Interior to take the parcel  in trust for the Lytton Indians and to backdate the acquisition to 1988 so that it would be exempt from the prohibition against gaming on lands acquired after 1988.    

The Miller amendment, which had never before been proposed or even discussed, was inserted in the bill at 9:25 at night, just five minutes before the bill was passed, without the knowledge of the public or other elected officials and without any public debate.  

This stealth legislation was inserted into the Technical Corrections section, even though it was not a technical correction, and it did not identify the land except by reference to a recorded deed.  The bill was passed before anyone knew what had been done.  

The Lytton Indians have no historical connection to that area of the East Bay. In fact, their claim to being a valid tribe has been questioned.   In the 1910s and 1920s,  the government established “rancherias” in California.  These were small parcels, usually about 50 acres, to be divided into small 5-10 plots for individual Indian families.  These were not tribal, and in fact the Lytton Rancheria only housed two families each from a different tribal background.

In January 2005, Senator Feinstein introduced S 113 to reverse the backdating provision in the amendment and require any Indian gaming to be reviewed to ensure that it is not detrimental to the surrounding community.  The bill was heard by the Senate Indians Affairs Committee in April 2005, and passed out of committee in June 2005.  Now, it awaits action by the full Senate.

You should call both your Senators to urge them to pass S 113 and call Congressman Pombo to request that he include the Feinstein language in his HR 4893.  See below.

We’ll give you more about the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians in the future.

Here is an additional contact address for information about the Lytton Band.
Conor Lee --


Reservation shopping is becoming a huge new land grab in America.

It is by Indian Tribes who want to build new gambling casinos in or near urban areas.   

Why should you care if you have no casino proposed near you at the present time?

Answer:  Because it is coming.  Over 200 new off-reservation casinos are in the pipeline.   Any many more tribes and unrecognized tribes who have not yet started the process but are being encouraged by large scale investors.

What does off-reservation mean?

It means that tribes find private land as close to freeways and communities as possible and buy that land even if is nowhere close to their original territory or even an established reservation.  Then they go to the Interior Department to get them to take the land into trust.   In other words, a new Indian Reservation.   Then they get it approved for gaming.  

They go off their traditional reservation generally out in rural areas and instead put a casino in your neighborhood, often near schools, churches and businesses.  In one case in Washington, the proposed casino is larger than every casino in Las Vegas except the MGM Grand.

If you fight for the people facing a new casino in their area now, they will be there to fight for you when a tribal casino threatens to damage your quality of life.  It is a team game.  A simple call by you can make so much difference.  American Land Rights allies have been very successful because they have fought together for the common good on numerous issues. 

Think about whether you want a giant mega-casino placed in your neighborhood without your approval and against the wishes of your community.  That’s what is happening all across America.  

Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) has just introduced a new bill in Congress to provide local communities with more say as tribes try to engage in reservation shopping.  

His new bill, HR 4893 was just released and a copy is available at
It would allow the legislature to vote and allow for the local community to vote on the issue of new off-reservation casinos in their communities.  It also would provide for other hoops for the tribes and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to go through.  At present BIA has no regulations governing its conduct in this process. 

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, has offered up legislation (S 2078, also available at to amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 and allow communities more say in the process.  Unfortunately, his bill includes a grandfather clause that needs to be taken out.  It would grandfather tribes now in the process.  

You need to call your Congressman and both Senators:

Tell them:

-----HR 4893 must not have a grandfather clause added by amendment.  A grandfather clause would allow tribes now in the process of trying to establish off-reservation casinos to go forward even if HR 4893 passes Congress.   A grandfather clause would damage many areas that have been fighting tribes imposing new casinos in their communities.  

-----HR 4893 should include a three year moratorium on funding for the Interior Department to carry out any part of the private land to trust or reservation land process.  This would prevent tribes from moving forward during a moratorium and then just jump into casino status when the moratorium is lifted.  There must be no funding for three years.  

With a moratorium, no proposals could move forward.  All would be locked in place while Congress has time to consider legislation and come out with new law.  

It would also give time for the Administration to write new regulations.  New regulations will take over a year even if they are started today. 

 It is likely that some bureaucrats in the Interior Department will try to use the fact that they are working on new regulations to head off the Pombo and McCain bills.  Don’t let that happen.  Push Rep. Pombo and Senator McCain to pass their bills.  Push their committee members to support them. 

Believe it or not, the Bureau of Indian Affairs presently has no regulations regarding the process of converting private land (fee land) into Indian land (trust land or reservation land).

*****Action Items:

-----1.  Help us help you.  Get on the e-mail list of the Alliance Against Reservation Shopping.  Just your name, e-mail, fax and address, and we’ll put you on the list and keep you informed about Congressional and Administration actions.  

E-mail it to: and just put Reservation Shopping in the subject line.   There is no cost and you can remove yourself from the list at any time.  You have complete control.

-----2.  Call, fax or e-mail your Congressman to urge him or her to support a three-year moratorium on new tribal gaming facilities and casinos as part of lobbying reform.  Ask that he or she oppose reservation shopping in your area and support House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) in his effort to re-write the law to protect local communities.  All Congressmen may be called at (202) 225-3121.

-----3. Lobbying Reform, S 2128, is up for a vote this week in the Senate.  As presently written, it would dramatically hurt your ability to communicate with Congress on grassroots issues.  Urge your Senator TODAY to remove the grassroots restrictions. 

Also call, fax or e-mail both your Senators to urge them to support a three-year moratorium on new tribal casinos and gaming facilities now.  When you call ask them to include the moratorium in S 2078 recently introduced by Senator McCain.  Ask them to oppose the grandfather provision.  Also ask them to oppose any reservation shopping in your area and support Senator McCain in his overall effort to clean up this mess.  All Senators may be called at (202) 224-3121.

-----4.  Call Senator John McCain’s office to urge his staff to add the three-year moratorium to any lobbying reform legislation and get his reservation shopping bill passed in the Senate including the moratorium and dropping his grandfather clause.  The bill number is S 2078.  Call (202) 224-2251.  Fax: (202) 224-5429.  E-mail:

-----5.  The Resources Committee is holding a hearing on reservation shopping on Wednesday, March 15.  You can find out about the hearing and even watch and listen to it.  Go to

for more information. 


Resources Committee Press Release

Pombo Introduces Bill To End Off-Reservation Indian Gaming

  For Immediate Release
House Resources Committee
  March 8, 2006
  Contact: Brian Kennedy or Jennifer Zuccarelli (202) 226-9019

  Pombo Introduces Bill to End

  Off-Reservation Indian Gaming

  Washington, DC- After more than a year of Congressional hearings and public input, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) officially introduced legislation to stop the spread of off-reservation Indian gaming yesterday evening.  See below to read the bill, H.R. 4893.

  Off-reservation gaming is the practice of exploiting a loophole in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).  Some tribes attempt to acquire lands outside the borders of their reservation to establish a casino, typically close to large urban areas or tourist destinations. H.R. 4893 amends Section 20 of IGRA, to close this loophole and give local communities control over new casino proposals from newly-recognized or landless tribes. 

  "Off-reservation gaming is a nationwide concern and I knew we had many different opinions and concerns to keep in mind," said Pombo "By working openly with Indian Country and the American public over the last year, I believe I have crafted the strongest bill possible.  This will put local communities in control and encourage economic opportunities for tribes at the same time."

  Pombo held three hearings on off-reservation gaming last year, including one field hearing in California where more than 10 local officials and tribal leaders testified on the effects of off-reservation gaming.  The state ranks at the top of the nation's list with as many as 40 proposals to establish off-reservation casinos.

  The Chairman circulated for the public two discussion drafts of his bill last year. The Resources Committee will hold a hearing in the near future to review the bill.

Chairman Pombo's Off-Reservation Gaming bill will:

-----1.  Completely repeal the so-called 'two part determination' in Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ("IGRA"), the part of IGRA that has authorized 'reservation shopping'.  This means that under no circumstances can a tribe that already has land into trust that is eligible for gaming acquire any more land not contiguous to the reservation and use it for gaming, without exception.  This puts a permanent end to 'reservation shopping' once and for all.

-----2.  Give local communities and state officials a seat at the table to decide whether or not a casino proposed by a new or landless tribe should open in their town or city. 

-----a.  The tribe and local community must enter into a memorandum of understanding under which the tribe must pay the community for mitigation of direct effects of the casino on infrastructure and services such as transportation, public safety, and other costs.

-----b.  The tribe must pay for an advisory referendum in the local county or parish that currently holds jurisdiction over the land on whether they would like to have a casino or not.  The result of this referendum would then be forwarded to the Department of Interior, along with the completed Environmental Impact Statement, prior to Department review and determination of whether or not the land should be taken into trust.

-----c.  The Secretary of Interior must certify that the facility would not be detrimental to the surrounding community or nearby Indian tribes.

-----d.  The Secretary must certify that the facility is in the best interest of the surrounding community.

-----e.  The Governor of the State must concur with the Secretary's findings.

-----f.  The State legislature must concur with the Secretary's findings.

 -----g.  Nearby Indian tribes must concur with the Secretary's findings.

 -----h.  Only after having cleared all of these hurdles will land be placed into trust for a new or landless tribe that wants a casino.

-----i.  A tribe may only propose to locate its facility on lands where the tribe has its primary historic, geographical, social and temporal nexus with the lands.

-----3.  Ban any attempts to establish off-reservation casinos outside of the tribe's current U.S. state.

-----4.  Allow for the creation of 'Indian Gaming Zones', where one tribe can host a gaming facility for another tribe on already existing reservation land where gaming is allowed.




Click here for a copy of the bill, HR 4893.

or go to

Click here for information about the March 15th hearing.  The NIGC’s Chairman Phil Hogen will be testifying as well as George Skibine from the Department of the Interior.  Look in the right hand column when you get on the webpage.



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