Bishop Tribal Council issues statement on Court ruling
Bishop Paiute Tribal Council Statement on lntertribal Court of Southern California Court of Appeals Decision
In response to a Nov. 2 decision by the lntertribal Court of Southern California Court of Appeals regarding land assignments, the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council has announced it will ask for a rehearing on the case. Meanwhile, the Tribe will move forward with its plans to expand the Paiute Palace Casino.
“The court’s opinion affirms that the power to determine land assignments rests with the governing bodies, the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council and the Owens Valley Board of Trustees, and that’s where it stands,” said Chairman Gerald Howard.
‘The lntertribal Court doesn’t have the authority to tell the Bishop Paiute Tribe how to assign land. That’s the sovereign right of our Tribe,” Howard said. “The court was not asked to decide on that matter; it was a trespass case where the Bishop Tribal Court has jurisdiction. We believe the Nov 2nd opinion contains erroneous information that creates confusion, so we want to ensure our side of the case is fairly heard.”
However, from a legal standpoint, the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council is not bound by the decision of the Appeals Court, according to the Tribe’s attorneys . The power of land use and occupancy firmly rests with the Tribe’s governing bodies.
Under the Council’s leadership, the Tribe is moving forward with its plans to expand the Paiute Palace Casino, with or without the land parcels in question. Council members say they’ve received widespread support from tribal members who need the 150 jobs the project will bring in construction and casino employment.
“The Tribal Council has made every effort to reach out to the family involved in order to resolve this matter,” Howard said. “There have been numerous meetings over the years, and almost every member of this family has received a grant of land assignment. In many cases, members of this family have assignments for parcels of land much larger than what most of our tribal members receive. Because of our limited land base, many of our tribal members are on a waiting list to receive a land parcel to build their homes. Tribal Council has been more than fair in dealing with this family and we are committed to providing more economic opportunities to our tribal membership and the surrounding community, and we are not going to allow a few disgruntled members detrimentally impact our Tribe’s economic development efforts.”
The proposed phased expansion will include a hotel and restaurant, an expanded casino floor, and conference/meeting space. The project is being developed under the Bishop Paiute Development Corporation.
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