MADISON (WKOW) -- The Kenosha casino debate has left Wisconsin's Native American tribes divided following a decision by Gov. Scott Walker not to approve the project.
UW-Madison professor Richard Monette, who serves as director for the Great Lakes Indian Law Center, tells 27 News he can't think of an issue in recent years that's comparable to the scope of this one, which has a lot of implications for all the state's tribes.
Monette says the governor's decision was a difficult one but relatively justified, because it was based on many considerations. The process caused tension though, because of a lack of clarity over whether the governor or the federal government has the authority to determine a casino's fate.
That tension led to an unnecessary division between the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. The Potawatomi led opposition to Menominee's casino proposal.
Monette tells 27 News the everyday relationship between the tribes and the state has become politicized by the discussion over the past year and a half.
"When you get these that have a tendency to pit one tribe against another and the state takes the opportunity to do just that, there will never be any good that comes from that," says Monette.
Monette says while Gov. Walker's decision was solid, blaming former Gov. Jim Doyle's compact agreements with the tribes is not a fair basis, because it's a much larger issue.
Tensions are likely to continue between the tribes and with the state. The Menominee may file a lawsuit of its own now. The Potawatomi filed suit related to the casino proposal a day before the governor's decision.