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Federal Action After Chicken Ranch Rancheria’s Legal Dispute With State

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Jamestown, CA — The Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians is praising actions by the US Department of the Interior to issue Secretarial Procedures following a legal battle with the state over a debate involving compact agreements, and regulations, that tied into sovereignty-related matters.

Calling it a landmark decision, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior Bryan Newland has given his approval for gaming procedures for the five plaintiff tribes in Chicken Ranch Rancheria v. California. It is considered a significant recognition of tribal sovereignty that does not create a regulatory role for the State of California.

Lloyd Mathiesen, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians Tribal Chairman says, “We fought the state through five years of compact negotiations, five years of litigation, and won independence from state regulation, and Secretary Haaland’s ultimate approval of these procedures represents a major victory for tribal sovereignty.”

The issuance of the procedures has national implications for tribes throughout the country, according to Mathiesen. The Chicken Rancheria lawsuit establishes the precedent for future compact negotiations and reaffirms the status of tribes as sovereign governments with authority over their lands and clarifies boundaries between state, federal, and tribal jurisdiction.

To read an earlier story about the lawsuit, click here.