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December 19, 2013

Fort Sill Apache sue governor for recognition

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Fort Sill Apache Tribe is suing Gov. Susana Martinez to force her to recognize the tribe’s status in New Mexico.

The largely Oklahoma-based tribe was granted federal reservation status for a small plot of its homelands in southwestern New Mexico two years ago, and it alleges Martinez is violating a state law and discriminating against the tribe by ignoring it.

Chairman Jeff Haozous says despite attempts to reach out to the administration, the tribe has been barred from the state’s annual state-tribal summit, excluded from consultations with other tribes and prevented from accessing state capital programs and benefits.

The lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to require Martinez to recognize the tribe.

The tribe has been battling state officials over attempts to build a casino on its homelands in Akela Flats.

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