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NY Tribes Seek Off-Reservation Gaming Reversal

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The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is back into the hunt for a casino in the Catskills. Martha Foley has more.

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The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe is getting itself back into the hunt for a casino in the Catskills.  Chief Jim Ransom was in Sullivan County Wednesday to meet with Larry Echo Hawk, the Obama Administration's assistant secretary for Indian affairs.

Ransom was hoping to convince Echo Hawk to reverse a Bush Administration policy opposing what's known as "off-reservation gaming" - building a casino far from a tribe's federal recognized reservation.

The St. Regis Mohawk tribe wants to build a 600 million dollar casino resort a few hundred miles south of Akwesasne because it would become the closest casino to New York City.

Chief Ransom says he told the assistant secretary that his tribe has followed the federal government's own rules for building a casino off the reservation - doing an environmental impact study, seeking state approval.

We have followed the rules.  We have a finding of no significant impact.  We have a concurrence by the Governor.  We have local support.  All of these things collectively, we are the poster child for how off-reservation gaming should occur.

Ransom says the Indian affairs official was only in the Catskills to listen and planned to bring information back to Washington. 

Other tribes are also lobbying the Obama Administration to change the "off-reservation gaming" policy.  Chiefs from the Seneca Nation and the Stockbridge-Munsee band of the Mohican Nation were also in the Catskills on Wednesday.

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