In her role as Tribal Chairperson for the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell attorney Sara Dutschke Setshwaelo lead her tribe in the successful acquisition of over 200 acres of trust land in Plymouth, California for the Tribe’s exclusive use and benefit. The acquisition involved negotiation of a multi-million dollar land purchase agreement and securing a commitment from the United States Department of the Interior to carry out its 2012 decision approving the Tribe’s land acquisition application.
The United States’ acquisition of this land in trust for the Tribe marked the end of a nearly two-decade long federal fee-to-trust process, involving approvals at various levels of federal government and litigation through a petition for a writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States. Members of the Ione Band – formally restored to federal recognition in 1994 – have worked for over one hundred years to restore a homeland for their people. In the near term, the newly-acquired trust land will be used for development of a multi-phased tribal gaming complex.