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Border decision favoring tribes won't mean what writer claimed

Sep 7, 2017 Rod Kell, Ethete

Editor:

In reply to "Tribes are 'not qualified to run city government,'" there seems to be quite a bit of confusion on the concept of Riverton being located in "Indian Country." This is the heart of the matter: whether Riverton is located in Indian country.

here are a lot of ideas floating around about what this means for the land status, people and businesses of Riverton.

Let's explore this issue a bit.

First of all, it doesn't mean that the businesses in Riverton will be subject to taxation of any kind by the tribes. Nothing in the area of taxation will change, except natives would be exempt.

It doesn't mean that the land status will change. Everyone that owns deeded land now will still own their land. The land will still be under the jurisdiction of the city, county, and state.

It doesn't mean that BIA police will be arresting or ticketing citizens of Riverton. The only thing that will change in the law enforcement side is that natives will be transferred to tribal court if they are arrested in Riverton. Everyone else will still be under the jurisdiction of the city, county, and state.

It certainly doesn't mean that the tribes will be running the city of Riverton's government. It doesn't mean that the tribes will be taking over county operations in that part of the county.

So what does it mean? Tribal members will be tax exempt on purchases. And for those tribal members residing in the Riverton area, it means a sales tax exemption for vehicle purchases.

It also means the tribes get a chance to provide their input on matters that could affect their air quality.

And it means that tribal members would be transferred to tribal court for incidents that occur in Riverton.

Lastly, if anyone bothered to read the original affidavits that the state put out in opposition to this, or actually understood all of the positive implications... well, let's just say I'm surprised that Riverton businesses and individuals would be against this.

I know why the city, county, and state are against it. But if I was a Riverton resident or business, I'd be looking forward to it.

Instead of making wild accusations and assumptions, maybe have a visit with the hundreds of deeded land owners on the reservation that are, no question about it, within Indian Country. Or the dozens of private businesses, including a bank, located on the reservation, on deeded land, that are, no question about it, within Indian Country.

Educate yourself on the issues before needlessly spreading fear and animosity.

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2017-09-24