Tribe Behind Broken Arrow Casino Remains Silent Amid Controversy

Wednesday, January 4th 2012, 5:21 pm
By: News On 6

WETUMKA, Oklahoma -- The tribe that has been clearing land just north of the Creek Turnpike on 129th East Avenue in Broken Arrow to build the Red Clay Casino is facing a lot of questions.

The Broken Arrow City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to send the tribe a cease and desist order, but tribal law prevents the council from taking any legal action.

01/03/2012 Related Story: Cease-And-Desist Order Issued In Broken Arrow Casino Controversy

We've heard from angry residents and Broken Arrow politicians, but we haven't heard from the Kialegee Tribal Town, the people behind construction of a casino in Broken Arrow.

The small city of Wetumka is home to the Kialegee Tribal Town and most of its 439 tribal members who can share citizenship with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

The goal was to talk to the Tribal Town's chief, Tiger Hobia, with the tribe's headquarters as our first stop. We were told he was at the Kialegee Tribal Annex, but a woman there told us he was not there and that he was in a meeting and too busy to talk.

We left a message at both buildings and waited, at one point the woman stepped into the doorway to take our picture.

The Kialegees are a federally recognized tribe with their own government.  According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the tribe created an Industrial Development Authority in 2002 and announced plans to own and operate a service station. It's unclear if that ever happened.

News On 6 had several questions for the tribe's leaders, but the only person interested in talking was Ricky, a Tribal Town member.

He said he was a member of the tribe but didn't know much about the casino. He said the tribe doesn't own any other casinos but that the money is needed to help tribal members.

"Creek Nation doesn't help, and every time we try an adventure, they shut us down," Ricky said.

We never heard back from the tribe's chief.

We also left several messages with one of the two sisters who own the land in Broken Arrow.  She now lives in Virginia, and those messages were not returned either.