What seemed initially to be a death blow to the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation’s (STN) bid for federal recognition and likely a resulting effort for an Indian casino in Kent, no seems to be just another step in the decades-long process. The STN has a glimmer of hope as the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is considering scrapping certain criteria for tribal recognition.
The proposed changes in BIA regulations have state officials including the state’s congressional delegation in a panic. After all, the very last place one would think a casino could be located would be in bucolic Kent. Fright would ensued there, the home of author William H. Armstrong, James Burnham, actor and homeowner Ted Danson, actor Brendan Fraser, Adam Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. Secretary of State who has a home in town and often does television interviews from Kent; Seth MacFarlane animator of Family Guy; Edmund Morris, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer; and Lynn Redgrave, actress.
And then there’s the landmarks and tourist destinations like Macedonia Brook and Kent Falls state parks, Bull’s Bridge, and the Stanley Sloan Museum. Nothing says “beautiful Kent” like halls filled with slot machines.
The ironic thing is that the Schaghtikokes can’t even decide among themselves which group is the real tribe. The Schaghtikoke Indian Tribe (not to be confused with the Schaghtikoke Tribal Nation) occupies 400 acres in Kent. But the STN is trying to make claims on a much bigger parcel including a big chunk of land owned by the Kent School.
The problems with the BIA changing regulation don’t stop in Kent. It could lead to claims on other lands in the state turning the Land of Steady Habits into the Land of Steady Craps.
Be sure that all state officials—including Gov. Dan Malloy—are concerned with the possible regulation changes and will do everything they can to stop it.