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Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island

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Rhode Island and the tribe are battling over a 32-acre parcel of Charlestown land. The clash intensified when Gov. Lincoln Almond appealed the BIA decision to take the property into trust. Almond, a gambling foe, said state and local laws would no longer apply to the property and the Narragansetts could build a casino there without statewide approval. "The tribe had repeatedly and consistently attempted to operate a casino gambling facility within the state," the state said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Almond's attorney said the state doesn't want land "ripped" from its civil and criminal jurisdiction. "It opens up a Pandora's box of issues that don't need to be there, not the least of which is gambling." The tribe says that position is ironic. Rhode Island wouldn't exist if it weren't for the Narragansetts, since the land had been "ripped" away from the tribe, said Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas. "If anything, we're just getting a drop back," he said. "We're very disappointed that the state has taken this position." The tribe has started building a housing development on the site. It received a $4.1-million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project.

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