A federal appeals court today rebuffed an Amador County citizens group challenging federal recognition of a tribe seeking to build a casino near Ione.
In a nine-page memorandum, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling affirming that the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians is a federally recognized tribe.
A citizens group, Friends of Amador County, had sued the Department of Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission, alleging the federal government wrongfully recognized the tribe in 1985.
The citizens group is trying to stop the small tribe from building a casino with 950 slot machines and 20 table games on a 67.5-acre parcel near Ione. They have alleged in legal arguments that the government erred in allowing the tribe to take land into trust for a casino.
Affirming a ruling in U.S. District Court, the 9th Circuit ruled that the Buena Vista tribe enjoys valid status. “The court cannot simply turn a blind eye to the tribe’s status as a federally recognized tribe,” the court ruled.
Call The Bee’s Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539.