Narragansett Tribe Chief Praises Court Decision on Casino Question

Narragansett Indian Tribe Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas said that the decision that the Supreme Court made July 13 is a victory for all Indians.

The court's decision was to bypass the request of Governor Don Carcieri and Attorney General Patrick Lynch, two longtime casino opponents, to launch an advisory opinion on the constitutional amendment before the question of a casino is allowed on the November ballot.

"They're saying the governor has no duty to act on a constitutional amendment," court spokesman Craig Berke said. "An amendment is between the General Assembly and the people. Not the governor. Not the attorney general."

The decision will now enable the residents of Rhode Island to decide on a constitutional amendment that would allow the Narragansett Indian Tribe to build a casino in West Warwick.

The tribal chief is thankful for the decision, saying that most Narragansett Indians have to subsist on less than $15,000 per annum. The chief is optimistic that the casino revenue would help the tribe to take better care of its elderly and give the Indians better access to education when the federal funding of the tribe is being cut.

The Narragansetts have released a summary of their contracts with Las Vegas gaming giant Harrah's Entertainment that says it will get five percent of the casinos net profit.

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