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Bay Mills argues Vanderbilt casino falls under tribal jurisdiction

Douglas Palmer

The Bay Mills Indian Community and representatives from Governor Snyder’s Office met in court Tuesday to argue over whether the tribe has sovereignty over lands it purchases.

The case centers around a casino the Bay Mills Indian community built on a parcel of land they purchased in Vanderbilt in 2010.

Bay Mills tribal chairman Bryan Newland said although the land was purchased 100 miles away from the current reservation, it was part of land that once belonged to the tribe.

“Our Land Claims Settlement Act allows us to purchase lands and reacquire lands within our historic territory and to exercise governmental power over those lands.”

Newland said he thinks the law is clearly on the tribe’s side.

“The reality is the law is pretty clear that the funds that we use to buy lands have to consolidate and enhance our tribal homelands and this area in Vanderbilt falls within our historic territory.”

The state has repeatedly argued that off-reservation casinos and gambling are illegal.

Neither the office of the Attorney General nor the Governor responded to our request for comment.