December 9, 2010

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Native American Rights Fund says Stockbridge Munsee proposal is win-win

MONTICELLO – The land-claim settlement agreement between the State of New York and the Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican Indians stands on “firm legal ground,” according to John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, CO. The group is dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide. As a result, he is confident the federal government will approve construction of a resort and casino in Sullivan County.

The settlement, if joined by the US Department of the Interior, “will resolve with finality Stockbridge’s claim to more than 23,000 acres in central New York,” said Echohawk.

The settlement will allow for a tribal-state cooperative process to protect historic sites and authorize development of a resort and casino in Sullivan County, Echohawk noted.

The Catskills project must still be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Interior Department.

“While the Stockbridge settlement utilizes federal statutes and agency regulations in a way that has not been done before, it falls squarely within the intent and purpose of the controlling law,” Echohawk wrote. “Because the legal authority to enter into the agreement is clear, we are confident that the Department of the Interior will decide to approve the Stockbridge-New York land-claim settlement agreement.”

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