Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Hails U.S. Supreme Court Decision Ending Mohegan, Mashantucket Annexation Claims

February 25, 2009

"This huge, historic victory prevents expansion of the Mashantucket and Mohegan reservations. It effectively prohibits the Mohegan and Mashantucket tribes from annexing land outside their settlement areas.

"My office filed a friend of court brief supporting Rhode Island's position that the Secretary of the Interior may only take land into trust on behalf of tribes federally recognized when the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act was passed. Neither the Mohegan nor the Mashantucket Pequot tribes were federally recognized in 1934. I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court decisively agreed with our argument, ending more than decade of rancorous wrangling over tribal attempts to take land into trust.

"No more land can be taken off the tax rolls or put outside state and local land use, environmental and health laws or zoning rules. Towns bordering the reservations no longer face the fear of massive tax revenue losses caused by tribes taking land into trust.

"Now that all doubt on the reservation boundaries has been removed, I urge the tribes and the towns to seize this opportunity for a new era of cooperation and respect. The Mashantucket and the Mohegan tribes are valued and vital members of the community, as well as economic engines providing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in state revenue. I will continue to work closely with the tribes and the towns on issues of mutual interest and concern.

"The Supreme Court decision leaves intact the existing reservations, because both were created by acts of Congress."