According to the Lansing State Journal, a Native American tribe eager to build a $245 million casino in downtown Lansing says it has earned a victory that could help end its over five year legal dispute with opposing tribes.

The Sault St. Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Indians cites a Jan. 19 letter from the U.S. Department of Interior that states the tribe's application for the Lansing casino is mandatory under the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act.

Aaron Payment, the Sault St. Marie Tribe's chairperson, and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernaro said they believe this letter sent to Payment shows the Interior Department accepts the tribe's legal position and is willing to work with them.

Bernaro also said, "we are very encouraged by the Interior Department's statement on the tribe's trust application. It is another step forward in what we knew would be a long, complicated process.