Federal Appeals Panel Puts United Keetoowah Land Near Tahlequah Into Trust

Thursday, September 5th 2019, 5:41 pm
By: News On 6

A federal appeals court panel has overturned an earlier court ruling in determining that land the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma own near Tahlequah can be placed in federal trust.

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned an Oklahoma federal judge's ruling that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs placing the land in trust in 2011 was not legal. The 76-acre tract is within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, which sued to overturn the BIA decision.

The trust designation gives the Keetoowahs authority over the land's use, including potentially placing a casino there, although Keetoowah attorney Klint Cowan said the tribe has no casino plans for the land and will use it for tribal government operations.

Cherokee Nation spokeswoman Julie Hubbard said the appeals court ruling is under review by the nation's legal staff.