Chief Of Kialegee Tribal Town Comments On Broken Arrow Casino - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Chief Of Kialegee Tribal Town Comments On Broken Arrow Casino

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The Kialegee Tribal Town offices are located in Wetumka. The Kialegee Tribal Town offices are located in Wetumka.
Chief Hobia says he expected some opposition to the casino because it's change, but never imagined Broken Arrow residents would protest against it. Chief Hobia says he expected some opposition to the casino because it's change, but never imagined Broken Arrow residents would protest against it.
Tribal leaders say a Kialegee gas station was only open for three months because they didn't have enough money or business to keep it running. Tribal leaders say a Kialegee gas station was only open for three months because they didn't have enough money or business to keep it running.
WETUMKA, Oklahoma -

The leader of the Kialegee Tribal Town is talking with the media about the tribe's Red Clay Casino project.

The chief spoke Friday about the casino the tribe is building in Broken Arrow for the first time since those plans went public. He says his people have a right to take advantage of their opportunities.

Wetumka is the headquarters for the Kialegee Tribal Town, but Chief Tiger Hobia says it's no place to develop a business.

"This is a small town and as far as having an economic impact, it's just not feasible on our part," Chief Hobia said.

Chief Hobia says the casino idea first came up two years ago, when a Creek citizen approached him. He won't reveal that person's identity, but says it's not one of the two Broken Arrow landowners.

Hobia says the tribe researched the developers, but he won't explain how that relationship started.

"It was an opportunity that we think was best for the tribe," he said.

The tribe believes building the Red Clay Casino in Broken Arrow is the key to the tribe becoming economically self-sufficient. It's got a big population, more traffic and past development attempts in Wetumka have failed.

For example, tribal leaders say a Kialegee gas station was only open for three months because they didn't have enough money or business to keep it running. They believe the only way to succeed is to go outside their town.

"We're trying to build up not only the tribal town, but our public relations. To meet the public and let them meet us," Chief Tiger

The tribe admits it may have taken some wrong steps by not reaching out to homeowners near the casino site. Rhonda Ellig, a Kialegee Business Committee member, says they're simply taking what's theirs. 

"The shoe is on the other foot. We were forced to be put here, we were forced off our land and now that we're trying to do something with our land, we're getting feedback," she said.

The tribe plans to use the profits from the casino to support its elderly with housing and its young with scholarships.

The tribe says half of it's members have moved away from Wetumka to seek better opportunities.

A temporary casino is scheduled to open in Broken Arrow by March and the permanent facility will open in 2013.

1/27/2012 Related Story: Documents Reveal City Of Broken Arrow Knew About Casino Before December

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