Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Legal Studies

Reader 1

Ralph Rossum

Rights Information

© 2014 C.W. Lucas Agnew


In 1987, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. A landmark decision, the case carried significant ramifications for tribal sovereignty and the creation of the Native American gaming industry. In response to the decision, the United States Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act the following year. Since the Supreme Court ruled in Cabazon, Native American gaming has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry and the most significant source of revenue for many tribes across the country. Given the complexity of Native American law and the controversial nature of casino gaming, the industry has resulted in many contentious legal battles between tribes and parties ranging from state governments to private corporations. As the Cabazon decision was the breakthrough for reservation gaming, this thesis will examine the Supreme Court’s rulings regarding tribal gaming and how they affected the Native American gaming industry and the doctrine of tribal sovereignty.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.