Land Dispute At Center Of Broken Arrow Casino Controversy
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma - One of Oklahoma's major tribes - the Muscogee (Creek) Nation - plan to announce their position on a casino planned for Broken Arrow.
The Kialegee tribe is building it, on land that was allotted to the Creeks.
The two tribes are both independent and related - the Kialegees are a band of the Creeks. Whatever the Creeks have to say about it could have a big impact.
Friday morning, dirt work continued at the planned site of the Red Clay Casino. It's a Kialegee Tribal Town project, on what is historical Creek Nation land.
The attraction of that site could be that it's the rare large piece of property still controlled by heirs of the original allotted.
"It's rare to find something still, still in their hands," said Randy Coffman of Tulsa Abstract & Title.
Tulsa Abstract is one of the companies that traces land titles. In Tulsa County - the title to every piece of property eventually goes back to an Indian tribe.
"The Cherokee land was north of Admiral, and the Creek land was all South of Admiral, what is today Admiral Boulevard," Coffman said.
The U.S. Government deeded land to the Creeks in 1852.
The Creeks divided their land into homesteads for their members in the early 1900's. Every address in northeast Oklahoma can be traced back to that individual with just a few minutes of research.
It's the Creek designation of the land - with the Kialegees trying to build - that opponents hope to seize on to stop the Red Clay Project.
They believe a tribe with no land - starting a casino on another tribe's allotment - is illegal.
"And so it kind of flies in the face of the purpose of that law, to go ahead and ignore what is written without following what they're supposed to do," said Jared Cawley of Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming.
So far, the Creek Nation hasn't taken a position on the Kialegee's casino plans yet, but Chief George Tiger announced he will do that in a news conference Monday afternoon.