Friday, February 11, 2011

Arizona tribe flexing sovereignty muscle

Looks like some lawyers have learned to speak O'odham. This is hard stuff to get my head around: Tribal sovereignty binds the hands of states competing for the resources that red states want to end.

From the Phoenix Business Journal via

The Tohono O’odham Nation is suing the state of Arizona in federal court challenging a state law recently passed that aims to restrict a casino the tribe wants to build near Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium. The state law gives the city of Glendale leverage to try to block the O’odham casino at 95th and Northern avenues. The tribe contends a 1986 federal law gives it the right to acquire lands to made part of its reservation. The suit is the latest salvo in the legal tussle between the tribe and Glendale, which opposes the casino. Glendale has sued the Obama administration over the U.S. Interior Department’s initial approval of the tribe’s request to make the land part of its reservation.
The city of Glendale contends that nefarious proceeds will be laundered through casinos on which tribes rely to bring their people out of poverty. 

The Arizona Republic explains:

Luis Plascencia, an assistant professor at Arizona State University, questioned the states-rights argument. "When states joined the union, they agreed to be a state, political entities authorized by the federal government," Plascencia said. "States are given power but it doesn't make them independent of the United States of America the same way cities are not independent.
Montana and South Dakota are facing this same conundrum.  Do enough lawyers speak Lakota, Crow, Northern Cheyenne, and Blackfeet?  When law enforcement becomes involved, it's probably too late. 

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