The Norman Transcript

State/Region

July 24, 2013

Cherokees seek injunction

TULSA — The Cherokee Nation on Tuesday filed a federal injunction request to prevent the U.S. Department of the Interior from recognizing a rival tribe that has operated a casino on a 2-acre parcel of land within the Cherokees’ control.

The 33-page suit was filed in Muskogee federal court against the 16,000-member United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, who have until July 31 to either shut down the casino in Tahlequah or have the land in question taken into trust — a move that would recognize the parcel as Indian land.

The 323,000-member Cherokee Nation — one of the largest Indian tribes in the U.S. — said in the suit that a preliminary injunction would “preserve the status quo until there is a proper judicial review of the administrative record” of the case.

“The attempt ... to place land into trust for another tribe or band of Indians in our jurisdiction is contrary to law, and we intend to prove that in court,” Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree said Tuesday. “The Cherokee Nation will do everything in its power to preserve the integrity of our sovereignty.”

The Keetoowahs — who trace their history to Cherokees who settled in Indian Territory in the 1820s — have fought for decades over the Keetoowah Cherokee Casino, which opened in 1986.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently said it would proceed with the Keetoowahs’ trust application, prompting Tuesday’s filing.

A message seeking comment left with the U.S. Department of the Interior was not returned late Tuesday.

Supporters of the UKB called Tuesday’s injunction request by the Cherokee Nation a “never-ending quest to destroy its Cherokee brothers and sisters,” because hundreds of UKB casino employees would lose their jobs.

“The effect of this injunction, if granted, would immediately throw some 300 Keetoowahs out of work, UKB attorney James McMillin said Tuesday in a statement. “We trust that the federal court, upon hearing all of the evidence, will decline to issue an injunction and permit the (U.S.) Department of (the) Interior provisionally to take the land into trust.”

Last year, the UKB tribe reached an agreement with Oklahoma’s attorney general in which the tribe would pay $2 million in damages and agree to close the casino if it hadn’t obtained federal trust status.

Placing the land in trust recognizes it as Indian land, which is required under state law for a casino.

The UKB is based in Tahlequah, along with the much larger Cherokee Nation.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Fallin disappointed SBAdenied loans

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she is disappointed that a federal agency denied a request for loans to businesses in two Oklahoma towns affected by an emergency bridge closure....

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014

  • March Oklahoma revenue misses mark by 9.1 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s finance secretary says collections by the general revenue fund fell 9.1 percent below the official estimate in March....

    April 16, 2014

  • University of Tulsa researchers find new species

    TULSA — A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy....

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma House passes state trooper pay raise bill

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could get their first pay raise in seven years under a plan given final legislative approval Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether money will be available in the overall state budget to ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Barresi decries plan to eliminate Okla. tests

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi is raising concern about a bill before the Legislature that would eliminate state testing in social studies and geography....

    April 16, 2014

  • State-mandated minimum wage draws ire across state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers seeking a higher minimum wage in Oklahoma are upset with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma’s 8-month streak without tornado falls

    TULSA — After Oklahoma’s eight-month streak without a tornado was snapped this weekend by a pair of suspected twisters, the state’s wild weather jag continued into Monday, with blowing snow from the Panhandle to Tulsa and freezing ...

    April 15, 2014

  • 4 now charged in college player’s death

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A fourth person was charged Monday in the death of an Australian baseball player who was fatally shot as he jogged in a southern Oklahoma neighborhood last summer....

    April 15, 2014

  • Fallin signs minimum wage increase ban

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Cities across Oklahoma are now prohibited from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day requirements under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin....

    April 15, 2014