Court Intervention Sought By Native Indian Tribe

Published on: March 17, 2008 

Oklahoma’s Fort Sill Apache tribe has filed suit in the federal court in Oklahoma City to help get their casino in Luna County opened after the Governor of Oklahoma, Bill Richardson, swore to block access to the establishment using law enforcement and every means necessary to keep it from happening.  This controversial casino has caused the tribe to petition the federal government to process the plot of land the casino is on as reservation property and status.

The Luna County land was acquired by the tribe and given reservation status with the land in 2002.  In order to get the casino approved and built, the land needs to have this status.  Any land granted after 1988 is prohibited by a certain law from having Indian gaming on it.  There are exceptions to the law, one of which includes land that’s been granted reservation status for the first time.  The Fort Sill Apache tribe states that the government has been slow in processing their reservation application and have been waiting for two years to get it resolved.

According to tribe chairman Jeff Houser, by not completing the application process even after being ordered to by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the government is not upholding their end of the bargain.  He also contends that Governor Bill Richardson is helping the process slow down, reneging on the original deal.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs is maintaining that the application is being processed and that the government will file a formal response to the tribe’s court motion.   

The casino, a 6,000 square foot establishment with electronic slot machine-like bingo games, is just off Interstate 10, forty miles from Las Cruces.  The two Senators from New Mexico have agreed to help the Governor block the casino from being opened.  The tribe maintains that the government’s settlement to process application in 2007 was the go ahead they needed to build the casino, but spokespeople with the government are denying that they were ever ‘promised’ the right to game in the county.

The settlement in 2007 was the resolution of a lawsuit between the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma against the government and the Fort Sill Apache tribe.  The Comanche’s want the casino shut down and the casino expansion stopped one and for all.  Houser states that had the tribe known the state and federal government would not honour the 2007 deal, they would never had made it and would’ve looked for someplace else to build the casino.

Other Recent News:
News Archives
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Casino Offers