Creek Nation: No Gaming Application Made For BA Casino
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma - New Creek Nation Principal Chief George Tiger held a news conference Monday officially stating the tribe's stance on the controversial Broken Arrow Red Clay casino.
The Kialegee Tribal Town has been clearing land just north of the Creek Turnpike on 129th East Avenue in Broken Arrow to prepare for construction. The Kialegees are a small tribe centered in Wetumka whose members can share citizenship with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
"It's a complicated issue of jurisdiction over a Muscogee Creek allotment and procedures to obtain gaming on that allotment while maintaining a good working relationship with our Oklahoma neighbors," Tiger said.
The land where the casino is being built is owned by two women who are members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation but are leasing it to the Kialegees to develop the casino.
Chief Tiger says his tribe has jurisdiction over the land and the Kialegees have not applied for a business lease or a gaming license with the Creek Nation.
An attorney for the Kialegee's says the tribal town has no plans to file those applications because, she said, the Kialegee's are the ones who have jurisdiction on the land.
The lease on restricted Indian lands must be approved by the Tulsa District Court or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he said. The Bureau has not received an application, and the district court has withheld approval of the lease.
"To my knowledge, no request has been made to the Nation seeking consent, nor has an application been submitted to our Tribal Gaming Commission seeking a gaming license for that location," Tiger said.
The land "should not be used as the site of a casino without the consent of this Nation," he said.
The attorney for the Kialegee Tribal Town tells the News On 6 that they feel they have done what's need and construction on the casino will move forward.
The Kialegee Tribal Town issued the following statement in response:
"The Kialegee Tribal Town is extremely disappointed to hear that Principal Chief Tiger has chosen to oppose our project on political grounds. The Kialegee Tribal Town had hoped that the change in Muscogee Creek Nation leadership would finally mean that all Creek tribal towns would be able to pursue economic development opportunities without opposition and interference.
"The Kialegee Tribal Town, however, remains hopeful that we can resolve our differences with the Muscogee Creek Nation through inter-tribal discussions. The Kialegee Tribal Town has the legal right as a successor to the Creek Confederacy to pursue economic development on lands located within our former reservation boundaries.
"Finally, we have to express sadness that our fellow Creek Confederacy members would oppose for political reasons our attempts to finally attain economic self-sufficiency in light of our shared history of forced removal through the "Trail of Tears." That long march saw many of our people either die or contract illnesses that affected them for the remainder of their lives. In addition, our shared history in Oklahoma was one of widespread lack of economic opportunity and abject poverty for many of our members.
"Chief Tiger seems to have turned his back on his own tribal and family history and, in the process, proposed that our Tribe forever be second class citizens within its own reservation as defined by federal law."
Tiger noted that the Kialegee Tribal Town is seeking a spot for its casino outside the rural area near its home in Wetumka, and he sympathized with the Kialegee's desire for economic growth.
NewsOn6.com was planning to live stream the news conference but audio problems are interfering.
He also paid tribute to Congressman John Sullivan, calling Sullivan the only political leader who had contacted him to discuss the construction.
Congressman John Sullivan released a statement regarding comments from Muscogee (Creek) Chief George Tiger:
"I want to commend Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief George Tiger for his statement today publicly opposing the development of a gaming facility at the northwest corner of 111th Street and 129th E. Avenue in Broken Arrow.
I met with Chief Tiger, other Creek officials and members of his staff on Friday and we discussed the gravity of this issue as a potential precedent-setting matter that could negatively impact neighborhoods and communities all across Oklahoma. During the meeting, we also discussed the common ground we share – job creation and economic development – for Native Americans and all Oklahomans.
I intend to take Chief Tiger's statement into my meeting with National Indian Gaming Commission and Department of Interior officials on Wednesday, offering it as yet another brick in the wall of opposition that has been built against this casino development. I am confident it will carry much weight in my and the Broken Arrow community's efforts to stop the casino in its tracks."
"In the spirit of Martin Luther King, I want to express that we are all neighbors, and I want us to work together," Tiger said during Monday's news conference.
Many residents of Broken Arrow and some Oklahoma political leaders oppose the casino's construction.
The Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming released the following statement:
"Today's announcement from Muscogee (Creek) Chief George Tiger is very welcome news! With this announcement, Chief Tiger and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation demonstrate yet again their commitment to our neighborhoods, to our communities, to the city of Broken Arrow and to all of Tulsa County and Northeastern Oklahoma. The Muscogee (Creek) have long understood that they are stakeholders in the successes of our local economies and that as the local economies sustain success, so do the tribes, their citizens and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
The Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming, LLC (BACANG) deeply appreciate the leadership Congressman John Sullivan has continually demonstrated in spearheading a focused aggressive federal legislative opposition to this illegal casino. Congressman Sullivan is continually willing to tackle critical issues and fight for the citizens of our community. BACANG would not have made such progress without his leadership, support and unwavering energy. He is helping to spare this community from a land development which would certainly have a materially detrimental impact on Broken Arrow and the surrounding communities."
Chief Tiger says he has not met with the chief of the Kialegee's but plans to do so in the near future.