Recent Developments in the Big Lagoon Rancheria v. State of California Case

In the case of Big Lagoon Rancheria v. State of California, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that the state had no obligation to negotiate with the tribe on this parcel of land. The tribe wanted to use the land for a new gaming concept and wanted to negotiate under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

This ruling meant that the court decided the land was not under federal jurisdiction in 1934, so the land placed in trust in 1994 was not considered Indian land. This recent decision cast doubt on the Bureau of Indian Affairs ability to protect and put land into trusts for tribes recognized by the federal government after the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted in 1934.

This ruling has major legal implications for all tribes because it will allow legal challenges for all land trusts and tribes. It can remove land trusts made after 1934, and prevent tribes from developing land they were given by the government. Currently, there are 566 federally recognized tribes, and 258 were recognized after 1934.

Many legal experts in Indian gaming agree this is a decision that can affect tribes and land trusts. Many tribes should consider consulting a Coachella Valley tribal attorney to review the laws and how it affects their tribes. A Coachella Valley Native American trust lawyer knows the laws and the ins and outs of the legal system.

Experts are hopeful this decision will be reversed by the court and reviewed again. Many experts believe this case has an excellent prospect for a legal review. Another option is that the Big Lagoon Rancheria can appeal to the Supreme Court.

Contact Our Coachella Valley Tribal Attorneys for a Consultation

We stay up to date on the issues tribes face on tribal land. If you have questions regarding your land, Indian gaming issues, or trusts on Native American land, contact our Coachella Valley tribal attorneys for a consultation about your case at 760-322-2275.


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