Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has filed legal action to block the construction of a casino in Carter Lake, Iowa, that would be run by the Ponca Tribe. Bruning says that land was originally bought by the tribe to be used to construct a medical facility. Ponca Tribe Chairman Larry Wright Junior says an earlier plan to build the medical facility didn’t pan out so they decided to use the land for gaming.
Wright says: "We take exception to the fact that he said we just flat out lied. From the beginning, if the tribe at that time would have decided to go after gaming enterprise when the land was brought, the tribe would have been successful in the determination at that time as well. At the time, the tribe didn’t intend to do this and was looking at other options." Wright says the tribe has every right to decide what to build on the land.
Wright says, "Just like any other tribal nation or state government, the tribe exercises sovereign rights to change the use of the land when other economic development initiatives didn’t prove to be sustainable or meet the market needs so the tribe exercises its rights to look at other options." Bruning had said essentially if this facility is built, it will be in Omaha, even though officially it is in Iowa, a person can’t get there unless they travel through Nebraska, where gambling is illegal. Wright says anyone can travel to get anywhere.
Wright says: "For instance, I live in Lincoln. If I want to go to the boats, I have to travel through Nebraska to get to Council Bluffs. I’m not going via Kansas, Missouri or South Dakota to get there. If I want to go to Vegas, they got to travel through that area to get to Eppley to fly out." Wright says in 1892, the Supreme Court decided that Carter Lake was a part of Iowa and this is a matter between the Ponca Tribe and Iowa, not Nebraska.