Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Minnesota


In a letter to the BIA, Gov. Jesse Ventura said he opposes a second attempt by the community to move land off the property-tax rolls and into trust. The powerful tribe wants to essentially annex the 776 acres of farmland to its reservation, all of which it bought since 1994. The tribe says it needs the land for housing for its members, who own Mystic Lake Casino. The BIA ruled against a similar request in 1998. Putting the land into trust with the BIA would exempt the tribe from paying property taxes and adhering to local zoning laws. "The state cannot encourage tribal activity that may harm local governments and other citizens," Ventura wrote in a letter released Dec. 21. "It is my belief that granting this trust request will harm the local governments and the citizens within those governmental jurisdictions." Shakopee, Prior Lake and Scott County have argued that they would lose millions of dollars in property-tax revenue in coming years.