Can an Indian Tribe Open a Casino on Non-Tribal Land that the Tribe Purchases?

The Bay Mills Indian Community (Tribe) has a reservation on Michigan’s upper peninsula. The tribe decided to open a casino in Vanderbilt, Michigan–over 100 miles from the reservation. Is that legal?

The tribe purchased the land and argues that since they purchased it with trust funds, it becomes tribal land and a casino can be placed on the land. The tribe also believes it to be immune from lawsuits (sovereign immunity). The State of Michigan disagrees. The case will be heard on December 2nd; a decision should be rendered by next summer. This case will go a long way in deciding on what the limits are to Indian casinos in the United States.

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