03/8/16

Chief Of Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Testifies At Public Safety Committee Public Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chief Richard Velky
March 8, 2016

Email: chiefvelkystn@aol.com

CHIEF OF SCHAGHTICOKE TRIBAL NATION TESTIFIES AT
PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE PUBLIC HEARING
Urges Legislators to Amend SB 357 to Allow All State Recognized Tribes the
Opportunity to Conduct Tribal Bingo Operations

Kent, Connecticut — Today, the Chief of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation (STN), Richard Velky, testified before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, urging legislators to amend Senate Bill 357 (An Act Concerning Gaming). During his testimony, Chief Velky asked the committee to “keep focused” on the bill’s stated purpose, which is to amend and correct the State’s bingo laws.

“…the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation is a Connecticut recognized tribe, just like the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe. And as many of you know, we have been pursuing an opportunity to create our own gaming entity,” Velky remarked. “We therefore ask the Committee to amend S.B. 357 to give the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation…and all state-recognized tribes…an opportunity to conduct tribal bingo operations…and ensure STN is given equal consideration for any future commercial casino in Connecticut.”

“To us, tribal gaming is about creating an economic opportunity for an impoverished people and if we were permitted to pursue gaming, we would use that opportunity to create jobs for us and for the surrounding communities,” added Velky.

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation is one of the oldest state-recognized tribes in the U.S., formally recognized by the Colony of Connecticut in 1736.

Read Chief Velky’s full testimony here.

03/5/16

Hartford Courant: Schaghticoke Chief Plans Lawsuit Over Third Casino

By Russell Blair

…”Without any competitive bidding or gaming study, Connecticut shut out [the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation] and awarded to one pair of Native American tribes the exclusive ability to develop a highly-valuable commercial enterprise,” Chief Richard L. Velky said in a statement. “Under the equal protection clauses of both the federal and state constitutions, [the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation] should have the same right to pursue this economic opportunity as anyone else.”

Velky said the lawsuit will be filed Monday…

Read more here: http://www.courant.com/business/hc-schaghticoke-third-casino-lawsuit-0305-20160304-story.html

02/5/16

Chief Velky: This Is “An Unconstitutional Act”

From the Hartford Courant:

“The obvious result of denying or rescinding our registration as a ‘tribal business entity’ would be to prevent us from issuing a request for proposals to municipalities regarding the establishment of a possible casino gaming facility in a host community,” Velky said in a statement. “We view this as an unconstitutional act on the part of the Secretary of the State’s office.”

Read more: http://www.courant.com/real-estate/property-line/hc-schaghticoke-fire-back-merrill-20160204-story.html

02/5/16

CT Post: State Admits Error In Accepting Schaghticoke Tribe’s Latest Casino Bid


Read the report by Jim Shay and Susan Tuz here: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Schaghticoke-tribe-pursues-3rd-CT-casino-6803196.php

To read Chief Velky’s response to Secretary Merrill, click here: 2-4-16 letter to Secretary of State Merrill.

To read the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation press release on the news, click here: Immediate Release Chief Velky STN 2-4-16

To read the STN press release on initial approval, click here: Schaghticoke Press Release 2-1-16.

07/1/15
hc-tribal-leaders-condemn-new-federal-rules-bl-002

Chief Velky: “The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation will not be deterred”

hc-tribal-leaders-condemn-new-federal-rules-bl-002

Richard Velky, chief of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, stands in his hometown of Bridgeport in a 2005 Courant file photo. The federal government issued new standards this week for Native American tribes to gain recognition. (Richard Messina)

From Gregory B. Hladky in the Hartford Courant:

…Richard Velky, chief of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, issued a statement saying the new rules approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs “betrays the trust” between the federal government and the tribe.

“The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation will not be deterred by the grave omissions and errors” in the new federal rules announced Monday, Velky said…

Read more here.

 

03/27/15

In A Rare Moment, Blumenthal Agrees With Chief Velky

Gale Courey Toensing writes in Indian Country Today:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) rarely, if ever, agrees with Schaghticoke Tribal Nation Chief Richard Velky about anything having to do with federal recognition, but that rare moment has arrived.

Blumenthal, Connecticut’s former attorney general, now says that a third party veto provision he helped insert into the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ proposed revisions of the federal recognition rules is unconstitutional, the Connecticut Mirror reported. Velky said the same thing a year ago.

The provision would give third parties that were involved in litigation against tribes veto power over those tribes’ right to re-petition for federal recognition under the revised rules. A tribe would have to go to the same third party that fought its federal recognition at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals and/or in federal court to get consent to re-petition. In Connecticut, which has fought indigenous sovereignty for almost 400 years, the likelihood of that happening is slim to none, Indian leaders say.

“I’ve argued, and so have other parties, that [the third party veto] raises very severe constitutional questions,” said Blumenthal, who has successfully fought federal recognition of Connecticut’s three state recognized tribes – the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation (STN), the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation (EPTN) and the Golden Hill Paugussett Indians (GHP)…

Read more: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/03/27/blumenthal-flip-flops-federal-rec-third-party-veto-159772

03/23/15

Blumenthal Admits Veto Provision May Be Unconstitutional

Ana Radelat of The CT Mirror writes: 

…The Connecticut tribes, and many other Indians, hope the BIA eliminates the “third-party veto” provision, which they say is unconstitutional.

The senator agrees with the tribes that the veto provision may not stand up in court. “I’ve argued, and so have other parties, that it raises very severe constitutional questions,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said the final regulations issued by the BIA may not include the controversial language, so he’s pressed the agency to scrap plans to issue any new recognition rules at all.

“We think these rules are illegal and extremely unwise,” Blumenthal said.

Opponents include state and local officials and some business interests. They are concerned federal recognition of additional tribes will result in new casinos, extensive land claims and the end of a revenue-sharing agreement with Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe, that run big gaming operations in the state. . .

. . . “They want to make a decision that won’t be hammered in court,” Velky said.
The chief also said BIA officials told him the final regulations would be made official in April or May.

Velky said public pressure, and pressure from Indian Country, persuaded Washburn to allow tribes like the Schaghticoke to have another chance at federal recognition.

“I think the tribe is hopeful,” Velky said. “We’d like to get this behind us.” . . .

Read more: http://ctmirror.org/2015/03/23/blumenthal-effort-to-block-recognition-of-ct-tribes-faces-challenges/

10/1/14

Radelat: Connecticut presses BIA to scrap Indian recognition proposal

By Ana Radelat for The CT Mirror

Washington — The administration of Gov. Dannel Malloy has asked the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to scrap proposed rule changes the state believes could lead to recognition of additional Indian tribes in Connecticut.

The BIA has been considering the rule changes for months. The state says the changes could open the door to large land claims and expanded Indian gaming in Connecticut. Yet Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, has said he’s determined to fix what he’s called a “broken” federal recognition process.

The federal tribal recognition rules in place require a tribe to prove its continuous community and political authority since first contact with European settlers. Washburn’s proposal would change that to allow a petitioning tribe to demonstrate it has maintained a state reservation since 1934. Washburn‘s new regulation would also allow tribes that have been denied recognition to apply again. . .

Click here to continue reading.