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Indian Reservation

This page and the following web pages are from the city’s archives – click here for the most up to date information on this topic.

Much has been said in the public forum about the Tohono O’odham Nation’s application to the United States Department of Interior to take land into trust near 91st and Northern Avenues in Glendale, Arizona and turn it into an Indian reservation for the purpose of developing a casino on the site.

It is clear that removing the land from all state and local jurisdiction and converting this property to an Indian reservation presents very significant issues for the citizens and business owners of Glendale. These issues are multilayered and complex but worth understanding because they will affect the future of the city.  They cannot fully appreciated by, as some have, merely pointing to a nice drawing and talking how nice it would be to have a resort and casino in the West Valley.  Because the Tohono O’odham proposal will have a detrimental impact on the future of the city, the city has committed to its residents to take all reasonable, necessary, and prudent actions to oppose the Tribe’s application.  These actions will assure that the best interests of our citizens are fairly and fully addressed.

New TV Show Highlights Press Conference with Arizona Leaders Against Tohono O'Odham Reservation
A recent news conference coordinated by U.S. Congressman Trent Franks and attended by Mayor Elaine Scruggs and other state and local representatives, discussing their opposition to a proposed Indian reservation by the Tohono O’odham Indian Tribe can now be seen in its entirety on Glendale 11 TV. Press Release (pdf) | TV Guide | Watch Video

Show Features Arizona Leaders Speaking Against Tohono O’odham Reservation
Television viewers can watch Glendale 11 TV to hear local, state, national and Native American leaders discuss their opposition to a proposed Indian reservation by the Tohono O’odham Indian Tribe.
Press Release (pdf) | Watch Video

On April 7th, 2009, the Glendale City Council adopted a resolution (pdf) opposing the Tribe’s Trust Application with the Department of Interior.  It is the city’s position that the Tribe’s application is poor public policy; violates governmental rights, privileges, and authority of the state of Arizona, the county of Maricopa and the city of Glendale; and is contrary to the best interests of the citizens of Arizona, Maricopa County and Glendale.

The city’s position is grounded in three areas:

Social Impacts

The creation of an Indian reservation poses multiple issues to the city of Glendale, its residents, and its business owners.  The state, county, and the city will lose any control over activity at the proposed site.  Essentially, the Tohono O’odham will be able to put or allow anything they desire on the proposed reservation site.  As a result, the concerns and issues presented by local residents may well be ignored or, at best, be left to federal authorities located thousands of miles away who likely will have never been to the site and will have no connection to the community. More Information>>

Financial Impacts

NO tax revenue will come directly to the city from the operation of the proposed casino, resort or any other development on the site.  Nonetheless, if the Tribe’s proposal is successful, the city may have to provide services to and around the site.  While other development and the citizens of Glendale pay for city services, development on the Indian reservation would be required to contribute nothing although the city will provide all services to the property. More Information>>

Legal Impacts

Arizona law provides on Indian gaming on existing reservations only.  The voters and the legislators have enacted laws that prohibit gaming on newly created reservation lands.  However, the Tribe attempts to invoke two federal laws to support its application for the Secretary of the Interior to create an Indian reservation within Glendale.  Those laws are the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Act and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.  The city believes that the Tribe’s interpretation of these laws is incorrect and that the creation of an Indian reservation at the proposed site is illegal.
More Information>>


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