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FOR PUBLICATION

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF SILETZ
INDIANS OF OREGON,
Plaintiff-Appellee,
                                                     No. 96-36027
v.
                                                     D.C. No.
STATE OF OREGON; OREGON STATE
                                                     CV-96-00823-DCA
POLICE DEPARTMENT; R.J. SITTON,
                                                     OPINION
Lieutenant, Oregon State Police
Tribal Gaming Unit,
Defendants-Appellants.


Appeal from the United States District Court
for the District of Oregon
Donald C. Ashmanskas, Magistrate Judge Presiding


Argued and Submitted
November 5, 1997--Portland, Oregon


Filed April 24, 1998

Before: John T. Noonan and Michael Daly Hawkins,
Circuit Judges, and Robert R. Merhige,* District Judge.


Opinion by Judge Hawkins

_________________________________________________________________
*Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Senior United States District Judge
for the Eastern District of Virginia, sitting by designation.
                               3771


SUMMARY

The summary, which does not constitute a part of the opinion of the court,
is copyrighted C 1998 by West Group.
_________________________________________________________________


Government Law/Native Americans

The court of appeals reversed a judgment of the district
court. The court held that federal law does not preempt the
release of a report written pursuant to a compact authorizing
a state to monitor and investigate Indian gaming on a reserva-
tion.


Appellee Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon
and appellant State of Oregon negotiated a Tribal-State Com-
pact for the regulation of gaming on the Siletz reservation at
a site known as the Chinook Winds Gaming and Convention
Center. The Compact authorized Oregon to monitor and
investigate Chinook Winds to ensure compliance with the
Compact.


Per the Compact, Oregon's State Police Tribal Gaming
Unit conducted an investigation of Chinook Winds and gener-
ated a report of that investigation. The Governor of Oregon
informed the Siletz Tribe that a proper request had been made
for a copy of the Report and that Oregon was required to
release the Report under Oregon's Public Records Laws.


The Siletz Tribe filed an action in district court to prevent
release of the report. Both parties moved for summary judg-
ment, and the district court entered summary judgment for the
Tribe, enjoining release of any records generated by Oregon
in exercise of its authority under the Indian Gaming Regula-
tory Act (IGRA).


The district court found that, under the Indian Commerce
Clause and IGRA, Oregon's authority over the Tribe was lim-
ited to the application of the laws and regulations of the
Indian tribe or the State that were directly related to the
licensing and regulation of gaming activity. The court con-
cluded that neither IGRA nor the Compact authorized Oregon


                               3772


to apply the Public Records Laws to the Chinook Winds
report, which was generated from information provided by the
Tribe pursuant to the Compact.


The Tribe appealed, arguing that (1) the federal govern-
ment has exclusive authority over Indian affairs and that no
state law can apply to Indian activities on Indian lands unless
Congress expressly made that law applicable; (2) IGRA pro-
vides for the application of state laws and regulations directly
related to class III gaming, but not for the application of state
laws unrelated to Indian gaming, such as the Oregon Public
Records Laws, and; (3) because the Tribe did not agree to a
release of such reports in the Compact, Oregon's proposed
application of its Records Laws to the Report was preempted
by federal law.


[1] Preemption analysis was not necessary. The Compact,
which was a direct result of federal authority granted through
IGRA, served as the basis for any analysis of federal preemp-
tion. Without either IGRA or the Compact, there was no ques-
tion of federal law at stake. The Report's discussion of Indian
gaming did not make Oregon's control of that report a regula-
tion of the Tribe. Nor did the generation of the Report under
an IGRA-sponsored Compact necessarily make control of that
document a matter of federal law.


[2] The Compact itself controlled. To the extent the Com-
pact specifically permitted or prohibited the release of the
Report, the parties were bound by it. Where the Compact was
silent, however, neither IGRA, the Indian Commerce Clause,
nor any other federal law prevented Oregon from releasing
the Report. IGRA contains no such provision regarding the
confidentiality of information relating to Indian gaming.


[3] Because the Compact called for the application of Ore-
gon contract law, the contract provision dealing expressly
with the application of Records Laws had to be enforced


                               3773


according to its terms. It clearly called for the application of
the Records Laws.


[4] The Compact did not specifically apply the Records
Laws to the Report. The Compact was silent as to the public
release of the Report or the applicability of the Oregon Public
Records Laws to the Report. The Compact provided only that
Oregon had to provide a copy of the report to the Tribal Gam-
ing Commission. This provision did not specifically prohibit
any other release of the Report.


[5] Nothing in the Compact, or in any other legal authority,
prohibited Oregon from releasing the Report. Once compiled,
a copy of the Report had to be given to the Tribal Gaming
Commission. Whatever else Oregon did with the Report was
permissible. Supplying a copy of the Report to the media did
not violate the Compact.


[6] Congress has broad power to regulate tribal affairs
under the Indian Commerce Clause. Federal authority, com-
bined with the semi-independent position of the tribes, creates
two barriers to the exercise of state authority over tribal reser-
vations and members: (1) preemption by federal law; and (2)
infringement on tribal autonomy.


[7] In the context of Indian law, state law is preempted not
only by an explicit congressional statement - but also if the
balance of federal, state and tribal interests tips in favor of
preemption.


[8] For conduct involving non-tribal members, a court must
weigh the state, federal, and tribal interests at stake to deter-
mine whether, in the specific context, the exercise of state
authority would violate federal law. However, when on-
reservation conduct involving only Indians is at issue, state
law is generally inapplicable, for the State's regulatory inter-
est is likely to be minimal and the federal interest in encour-
aging tribal self-government is at its strongest.


                               3774


[9] The conduct at issue here involved non-tribal members
in on-reservation conduct. While the Report covered only on-
reservation matters, it discussed a gaming enterprise that was
used by large numbers of non-tribal members.


[10] Preemption generally applies in Indian law where the
application of state law interferes or is incompatible with fed-
eral or tribal interests as reflected in federal law. It was
unclear how the Oregon Public Records Laws interfere or are
incompatible with IGRA. The Records Laws do not usurp
tribal control over gaming nor do they undercut federal
authority over Indian gaming. The Records Laws could have
had a detrimental effect on the Tribe if the Report contained
damaging information on the operation of the Chinook Winds
casino and the release of that Report would cause a decline in
business. That possibility, however, was fully consistent with
IGRA's goal of fair and honest gaming.


_________________________________________________________________

COUNSEL

Michael D. Reynolds, Assistant Solicitor General, Salem,
Oregon, for the defendants-appellants.


Craig J. Dorsay, Portland, Oregon, for the plaintiff-appellee.

_________________________________________________________________

OPINION

HAWKINS, Circuit Judge:

OVERVIEW

The State of Oregon ("Oregon") appeals the district court's
summary judgment grant in favor of the Confederated Tribes
of Siletz Indians in the Tribe's action under the Indian Gam-
ing Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. SS 2701-2721, enjoining Ore-


                               3775


gon from public release of a state investigative report
concerning the Chinook Winds gambling casino. We reverse
and remand.


FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
("IGRA"), 25 U.S.C. SS 2701-2721, "to provide a statutory
basis for the operation and regulation of gaming by Indian
tribes." Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44,
_______, 116 S. Ct. 1114, 1119 (1996). Under IGRA, gaming is
divided into three classes: I, II and III. Class III gaming, the
type at issue here, is the most strictly regulated of the three.1
Class III gaming may be conducted on Indian lands if: (1)
authorized by the tribe seeking to conduct the gaming; (2)
located in a State which does not bar such gaming; and (3)
"conducted in conformance with a Tribal-State compact
entered into by the Indian tribe and the State . . . ." 25 U.S.C.
S 2710(d).


In 1994, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Ore-
gon ("Siletz Tribe" or "Tribe")2 and Oregon negotiated a
Tribal-State Compact ("Compact") for the regulation of class
III gaming on the Siletz reservation3 at a site known as the
Chinook Winds Gaming and Convention Center ("Chinook
Winds"), located within Lincoln City, Oregon. 4
_________________________________________________________________
1 Class III gaming "includes such things as slot machines, casino games,
banking card games, dog racing, and lotteries." Seminole, 517 U.S. at _______,
116 S. Ct. at 1119.
2 The Siletz Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe, restored to fed-
erally recognized status in 1977. Pub. L. No. 95-195, 91 Stat. 1415, Nov.
18, 1977, as amended 25 U.S.C. S 711.
3 The Tribe's reservation land was taken into trust as restored reservation
land on April 17, 1995, pursuant to Public Law No. 103-435, 108 Stat.
4567 (Nov. 2, 1994).
4 The Compact was executed by the Tribe and Oregon on November 14,
1994 and approved by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (the

"Secretary") on March 14, 1995. An amendment to the Compact was exe-
cuted by the parties on October 27, 1995, and approved by the Secretary
on January 19, 1996.


                               3776


Among other things, the Compact authorizes Oregon to
monitor and investigate Chinook Winds to ensure compliance
with the Compact:


      1. Monitoring. The State is authorized hereby to
      monitor the Tribal gaming operation to ensure
      that the operation is conducted in compliance
      with the provisions of this Compact. . . . The
      State shall have free and unrestricted access to
      all areas of the Gaming Facility during the nor-
      mal operating hours without giving prior notice
      to the Tribal Gaming operation.


      2. Access to Records. The State is hereby autho-
      rized to review and copy, during normal busi-
      ness hours, and upon reasonable notice, all
      records maintained by the Tribal gaming opera-
      tion; provided, that any documents containing
      financial information, proprietary ideas, plans,
      methods, data development, inventions or other
      proprietary information regarding the gambling
      enterprise of the Tribe, games conducted by the
      Tribe, or the operation thereof provided to the
      State by the Tribe, any copy thereof and any
      information derived therefrom shall be deemed
      confidential and proprietary financial informa-
      tion of the Tribe and is hereby acknowledged by
      the State to have been submitted to the State by
      the Tribe voluntarily and in confidence, and
      with the expectation that the records will be
      regarded as confidential. The State agrees that
      the disclosure of such documents shall be pro-

      tected to the extent provided under ORS
      192.410 to 192.505. Any records or copies
      removed from the premises shall be returned to
      the Tribe after use. Nothing in this subsection
      precludes the State or the Tribe from disclosing
      information subject to an appropriate judicial


                               3777


      order under the Rules of Civil Procedure or Evi-
      dence in connection with litigation, a prosecu-
      tion or a criminal investigation.


      3. Investigation Reports. After completion of any
      inspection or investigation report, the State shall
      provide a copy of the report to the Tribal Gam-
      ing Commission.


Pursuant to this section of the Compact, Oregon's State Police
Tribal Gaming Unit conducted an investigation of Chinook
Winds and generated a report of that investigation dated April
17, 1996 (the "Report"). Soon thereafter, legal counsel for the
Governor of Oregon informed the Siletz Tribe and its attorney
that a proper request had been made for a copy of the Report
and that the Governor believed Oregon was required to
release the Report under Oregon's Public Records Laws
("Records Laws"), Or. Rev. Stat. SS 192.410-192.505 (1996).


The Siletz Tribe protested the proposed release and, when
it and Oregon could not reach a settlement, filed an action in
the United States District Court for the District of Oregon to
prevent its release. The Tribe and Oregon stipulated to the
entry of a preliminary injunction pending a full disposition of
the issues. Both parties moved for summary judgment, and
the district court entered summary judgment for the Tribe
enjoining release of any records generated by Oregon in exer-
cise of its authority under the IGRA.


Relying on Seminole, 517 U.S. at _______, 116 S. Ct. at 1114,
and White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Bracker, 448 U.S. 136
(1980), the district court found that, under the Indian Com-
merce Clause, U.S. Const. Art. I, S 8, cl. 3., and IGRA, Ore-
gon's authority over the Tribe was limited to "the application
of the criminal and civil laws and regulations of the Indian
tribe or the State that are directly related to, and necessary for,
the licensing and regulation of such [gaming] activity." See 25
U.S.C. S 2710(d)(3)(C).


                               3778


After determining that the information contained in the
Report "is appropriately characterized as on-reservation con-
duct involving only Indians," the district court concluded that,
under White Mountain, "neither IGRA nor the Compact
authorizes [Oregon] to apply the [Public ] Records Laws to a
report discussing the operation of Chinook Winds by the
Tribe which is generated, in part, from information provided
by the Tribe pursuant to the terms of the Compact."


STANDARDS OF REVIEW

A summary judgment grant is reviewed de novo. See Covey
v. Hollydale Mobilehome Estates, 116 F.3d 830, 834 (9th Cir.
1997). We must determine, viewing the evidence in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, whether there are any
genuine issues of material fact and whether the district court
correctly applied the relevant substantive law. See id. at 834.
The district court's findings of fact supporting its judgment
are reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. See Adler
v. Federal Rep. of Nig., 107 F.3d 720, 729 (9th Cir. 1997).


The interpretation and meaning of contract provisions are
questions of law reviewed de novo. See HS Servs., Inc. v.
Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 109 F.3d 642, 644 (9th Cir. 1997).
The district court's interpretation of a statute is also reviewed
de novo. See Pinal Creek Group v. Newmont Mining Corp.,
118 F.3d 1298, 1300 (9th Cir. 1997).


ANALYSIS

I. Release of the Report

The Tribe argues that the federal government has exclusive
authority over Indian affairs and that no state law can apply
to Indian activities on Indian lands unless Congress has
expressly made that law applicable. According to the Tribe's
argument, IGRA provides for the application of state laws and
regulations directly related to class III gaming, but not for the


                               3779


application of state laws unrelated to Indian gaming, such as
the Oregon Public Records Laws. Because the Tribe did not
agree to a release of such reports in the Compact, Oregon's
proposed application of its Records Laws to the Report is pre-
empted by federal law.


[1] We are not persuaded that a preemption analysis is nec-
essary here. Rather, we look to the Compact itself. The Tribe
correctly contends that the Compact, a direct result of federal
authority granted through IGRA, serves as the basis for any
analysis of federal preemption. Without either IGRA or the
Compact, there would be simply no question of federal law at
stake. Contrary to the Tribe's argument, however, the
Report's discussion of Indian gaming does not make Oregon's
control of that report ipso facto a regulation of the Tribe. Nor
does the generation of the Report under an IGRA-sponsored
Compact necessarily make control of that document a matter
of federal law.


[2] In our view, the Compact itself controls. To the extent
the Compact specifically permits or prohibits the release of
the Report, the parties are bound by it. Where the Compact is
silent, however, neither IGRA, the Indian Commerce Clause,
nor any other federal law prevents Oregon from releasing the
Report.5


[3] The Compact deals expressly with the application of
Records Laws: "[Oregon] agrees that the disclosure of [the
records maintained by the Tribal gaming operation ] shall be
protected to the extent provided under ORS 192.410 to
192.505." The Tribe relies on the absence of any explicit
_________________________________________________________________
5 Congress has limited the information a state may release to the public
regarding certain Indian affairs, see 16 U.S.C. S 470hh(b) (protecting con-
fidentiality of information regarding Indian artifacts), as well as other
areas of the law. See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. S 551(c) (cable subscribers); 5 U.S.C.
S 552(b)(4) (trade secrets); and 35 U.S.C.S 122 (patent applications).
IGRA contains no such provision regarding the confidentiality of informa-
tion relating to Indian gaming.


                               3780


statement regarding its agreement to this point, suggesting
this shows that the Tribe did not accept this provision.6 We
are not persuaded. Because the Compact calls for the applica-
tion of Oregon contract law, we must enforce this unambigu-
ous contract provision according to its terms, see Pacific First
Bank v. New Morgan Park Corp., 876 P.2d 761, 764 (Or.
1994), and it clearly calls for the application of the Records
Laws.


[4] On its terms, the Compact applies the Records Laws to
certain Tribal records; it does not specifically say that the
Records Laws apply to the Report as well. Indeed, the Com-
pact is silent as to the public release of the Report or the
applicability of the Oregon Public Records Laws to the
Report. The Compact only provides that Oregon "shall pro-
vide a copy of the report to the Tribal Gaming Commission."
(emphasis added). This provision, however, does not specifi-
cally prohibit any other release of the Report. Rather, the use
of the word "copy" seems to assume that Oregon will main-
tain control over the original Report and treat it as it would
any other state record.


[5] Nothing in the Compact, or in any other legal authority,
prohibits Oregon from releasing the Report. Once compiled,
a copy of the Report must be given to the Tribal Gaming
Commission. Whatever else Oregon does with the Report, as
is consistent with state law and the terms of the Compact, is
permissible. In this case, supplying a copy of the Report to the
media, either pursuant to or independent of the Records Laws,
does not violate the Compact.
_________________________________________________________________
6 If the Siletz Tribe is correct, and IGRA precludes Oregon from releas-
ing any document or potential report pursuant to the Public Records Laws,
this confidentiality agreement would be unnecessary as there would be no
need to distinguish between confidential and non-confidential material.
Indeed, that the Compact contains this agreement seems to indicate that
the parties presumed some documents/reports would be released to the
public.


                               3781


Accordingly, we reverse the district court and grant sum-
mary judgment in favor of Oregon. Although we believe the
case can be disposed of through simple contract interpreta-
tion, we nonetheless address the parties' preemption argu-
ments to explain why a preemption analysis is inappropriate
here.


II. Preemption of State Public Records Law

A. Indian Law and Preemption Generally

[6] "Congress has broad power to regulate tribal affairs
under the Indian Commerce Clause, Art. 1, S 8, cl. 3." White
Mountain, 448 U.S. at 142 (citation omitted). The Supreme
Court has made clear that this federal authority, combined
with the "semi-independent position" of the tribes, creates
two barriers to the exercise of state authority over tribal reser-
vations and members: (1) preemption by federal law; and (2)
infringement on tribal autonomy. Either basis, "standing
alone, can be a sufficient basis for holding state law inapplica-
ble to activity undertaken on the reservation or by tribal
members." Id. at 143.


[7] "In determining whether federal law preempts a state's
authority to regulate activities on tribal lands, courts must
apply standards different from those applied in other areas of
federal preemption." Cabazon Band of Mission Indians v.
Wilson, 37 F.3d 430, 433 (9th Cir. 1994). "State jurisdiction
is preempted by the operation of federal law if it interferes or
is incompatible with federal law, unless the state interests at
stake are sufficient to justify the assertion of state authority."
New Mexico v. Mescalero Apache Tribe, 462 U.S. 324, 334
(1983). Thus, "in the Indian law context, state law is pre-
empted not only by an explicit congressional statement - but
also if the balance of federal, state and tribal interests tips in
favor of preemption." Gila River Indian Community v. Wad-
dell, 91 F.3d 1232, 1236 (9th Cir. 1996) (citations and quota-


                               3782


tion omitted).7 Moreover, "ambiguities in federal law are
resolved in favor of tribal independence." Cabazon, 37 F.3d
at 434.


Thus, the Court has "rejected the proposition that in order
to find a particular state law to have been preempted by oper-
ation of federal law, an express congressional statement is
required." White Mountain, 448 U.S. at 144. Nonetheless, the
state's interest must be given weight as the Indian tribes do
not have an automatic exemption from state law. See id.


[8] Out of these competing interests, the Supreme Court
established a balancing test in White Mountain . For conduct
involving non-tribal members, a court must weigh the state,
federal, and tribal interests at stake to determine "whether, in
the specific context, the exercise of state authority would vio-
late federal law." Id. at 145. However:


      [w]hen on-reservation conduct involving only Indi-
      ans is at issue, state law is generally inapplicable, for
      the State's regulatory interest is likely to be minimal
      and the federal interest in encouraging tribal self-
      government is at its strongest.
_________________________________________________________________
7 The Siletz Tribe argues that this balancing test is not applicable under
IGRA. According to the Tribe, in passing IGRA, Congress made it clear
that the statute expressly preempts the entire field of Indian gaming:


      [IGRA] is intended to expressly preempt the field in the gover-
      nance of gaming activities on Indian lands. Consequently, Fed-
      eral courts should not balance competing Federal, State, and
      tribal interests to determine the extent to which various gaming
      activities are allowed.


S. REP. No. 444, 100th Cong., 2d Sess., 5, 6 (1988), reprinted at 1988
U.S. CODE, CONG. & ADMIN. NEWS, 3071, 3076. The Tribe's argu-
ment should be rejected, however, as the application of Oregon law here
has no effect on the determination "of which gaming activities are
allowed." In addition, this court has previously applied a preemption bal-
ancing test to IGRA. See Cabazon-Wilson, 37 F.3d at 430.


                               3783


Id. at 144.

B. The District Court's Preemption Analysis

In granting summary judgment to the Tribe, the district
court found that the "information contained in the report
relates to the operation of the Chinook Winds, which is appro-
priately characterized as on-reservation conduct involving
only Indians." Applying the White Mountain preemption test,
the district court dismissed Oregon's interest as minimal com-
pared to the Siletz Tribe's "well-recognized and long upheld
interests in keeping information relating to tribal business
within the confines of the tribe." Without any further discus-
sion of the interplay between IGRA and the various federal,
state, and tribal interests, the district court held that Oregon
Public Records Laws were preempted.


[9] We reject the district court's analysis for two reasons.
First, we dispute the district court's finding that the conduct
at issue here involves only tribal members involved in on-
reservation conduct. While the Report covers only on-
reservation matters, it discusses a gaming enterprise which is
used by large numbers of non-tribal members.8


[10] Second, because this case concerns the application of
a state statute unrelated to Indian gaming, we question
whether White Mountain preemption applies at all. Preemp-
tion generally applies in Indian law where the application of
state law "interferes or is incompatible with federal or tribal
interests as reflected in federal law." Cabazon, 37 F.3d at 433.
It is unclear how the Oregon Public Records Laws interfere
or are incompatible with IGRA.9 The Records Laws do not
_________________________________________________________________
8 Although the record does not provide precise numbers on member/non-
member usage of Chinook Winds, it seems likely that outsiders provide
most of the money spent at the casino.
9 According to the declaration of policy section contained in IGRA, the
purpose of the act is:


                               3784


seek to usurp tribal control over gaming nor do they threaten
to undercut federal authority over Indian gaming. To be sure,
the Records Laws could have a detrimental effect on the
Siletz Tribe if the Report contained damaging information on
the operation of the Chinook Winds casino and the release of
that Report would cause a decline in business. That possibil-
ity, however, is fully consistent with IGRA's goal of fair and
honest gaming. See 25 U.S.C. S 2702(2).


Rather than apply the White Mountain preemption test in
this case, we conclude that preemption does not apply here at
all because Oregon's Records Laws are not related to IGRA.


REVERSED AND REMANDED.

_________________________________________________________________
      (1) to provide a statutory basis for the operation of gaming by
      Indian tribes as a means of promoting tribal economic develop-
      ment, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments;


      (2) to provide a statutory basis for the regulation of gaming by
      an Indian tribe adequate to shield it from organized crime and
      other corrupting influences, to ensure that the tribe is the primary
      beneficiary of the gaming operation, and to assure that gaming is
      conducted fairly and honestly by both the operator and players;
      and


      (3) to declare that the establishment of independent Federal
      regulatory authority for gaming on Indian lands, the establish-
      ment of Federal standards for gaming on Indian lands, and the
      establishment of a National Indian Gaming Commission are nec-
      essary to meet congressional concerns regarding gaming and to
      protect such gaming as a means of generating tribal revenue.


25 U.S.C. S 2702 (1988).
                               3785








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