New Jersey has moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Native American tribe that claims the state gave it official recognition decades ago but then rescinded it.
The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation traces its history in the area back thousands of years and says it now has 3,000 members, the majority of them living in the state.
Its lawsuit claims that the state Legislature passed a resolution recognizing the tribe in the 1980s but that a state staffer emailed the federal government’s General Accounting Office several years ago saying New Jersey had no recognized tribes.
An attorney for the tribe has said some state officials became nervous about the possibility of recognized tribes trying to develop casinos. They say they have no interest in doing so.
The state argued that the Legislature’s action didn’t amount to official recognition because Congress has the sole authority to recognize tribes.