Before the Sault Tribe receives federal approval, the following questions need answers: Does MILCSA mandate that the secretary take into trust lands purchased with interest or other income from the Fund? If the land is purchased with principal from the Fund, will it be held in restricted fee by operation of law? Is the purchase of the Lansing property a consolidation or enhancement of landholdings, or other permissible use of the Fund? Finally, the Sault Tribe will have to demonstrate that they will exercise governmental authority over the Lansing casino site. Given these complex issues, the Sault Tribe’s proposal is poised to set significant precedent in the evolving field of off-reservation gaming.
Gerald Carr is a third-year student in the Indigenous Law Program at Michigan State University College of Law. He holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, specializing in the languages and cultures of Native North America.