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State declines to get involved in tribal dispute

The State of California has declined to get involved in a dispute between two groups of Indians who run the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino, a story by www.law360.com said. The case is before a federal court, which is deciding whether one faction violated a court order by trying to reopen the casino. The State of California says its job is to protect its citizens, and that the tribe is obligated to resolve its own issues.

One faction tried to reopen the casino in 2014, and that resulted in a tense armed standoff between the two groups. That led the state of California to file an injunction to close the casino over safety concerns.

A Palm Springs tribal attorney noted that state and tribal laws say the state must defer to the tribe to resolve its own disputes. The state of California also cited that rule in declining to take a stand one way or the other.

According to the article, the tribes governing council split into multiple groups between 2011 and 2013, and have been battling over revenue since that time. That finally resulted in the armed standoff between security guards and a faction who wanted to take over the casino.

While factions are suing each other and seeking legal relief, state and federal officials are trying to keep a hands off approach. U.S. District Judge Lawrence. J. O’neill ruled that the law addresses only safety concerns, and therefore the government should not get involved in a tribal conflict over the casino itself.

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