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PATAKI WANTS TO REVIEW LAND CLAIM SETTLEMENTS

Gov. George E. Pataki on Friday said he was withdrawing pending land claim settlements with four Indian tribes, saying a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court made it necessary to "review and re-evaluate" them.

But Pataki spokesman Todd Alhart said Pataki remains committed to the settlements, which would allow the four tribes to each operate a Las Vegas-style casino in the Catskills.

Last year, Pataki reached a series of proposed settlements with the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York, the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.

The governor introduced in February sweeping legislation to carry out those settlements and authorize the creation of the casinos.

Last month, the nation's top court ruled that an Indian tribe could not expand its sovereign territory simply by reacquiring former reservation lands and declaring them sovereign and tax-exempt.

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