Full text: Statement of Principal Chief George Tiger
Press Conference January 16, 2012
I would like to provide some clarification tothe publicity surrounding the attempted development by the Kialegee Tribal Town of a Tribal Casino on a restricted Muscogee (Creek) Allotment. This allotment involves two Muscogee (Creek) women whom I respect, and involves the Kialegee Tribal Town which is an important part of the Muscogee culture and heritage. This issue and press conference is not about the Muscogee (Creek) Nation vs. the Kialegee Tribal Town or the Muscogee (Creek) Nation taking one side over another – rather it’s a complicated issue oftribal jurisdiction over a Muscogee (Creek) Allotment and the procedures to obtain gaming on that allotment while maintaining good relationships with our Oklahoma Neighbors.
First, I want to make it clear to all of our Muscogee (Creek) people that I am sensitive to the plight of all our communities and our remaining traditional towns who seek to improve the lives of our people through the advancement of plans for economic development. I support their struggle to develop economic independence and to build a financial base upon which will benefit the Kialegee Tribal Town.
Our tribal towns are an important reminder to all of our people of our beginnings and our long struggle to maintain our independence in the face of an overwhelming force. The tribal towns are an important part of our culture and our heritage as Muscogee people as we were once a confederacy made up of tribal towns. It is my personal belief that the United States failed to follow through with promises and assurances that were made to provide a land base for our tribal towns at the time those traditional Creek towns agreed to reorganize and were granted federal recognition under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936. The unfortunate result of that failure has been to condemn these governments to operate in rural areas with a weak economy. This has proved true for the Kialegee Tribal Town.
I respect both the sovereignty and the governmental authority of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as well as the Kialegee Tribal Town and hope that the Muscogee (Nation), the State of Oklahoma, and the Federal Government assist the tribal town as they struggle to provide for their members and for self-sufficiency and self-determination.
However, the cure to the problem is not accomplished by allowing a casino to be built in Broken Arrow that is under the jurisdiction and authority of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation without the consent of the Nation and without following all proper procedures that would allow for gaming on that site.I understand that any lease on Restricted Indian Property must be either approved in open court by the District Court of Tulsa County or by the Bureau ofIndian Affairs. To date, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Realty Trust Services has not received an application for a BIA Business Lease and the District Court has withheld approval ofthe lease.
In addition, according to Muscogee Law, any other forms of Public Gaming Operations within the jurisdiction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation are prohibited without written approval of the Gaming Commissioner. 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.
Since, I took an oath to uphold the laws of the Nation, It is my position, as the Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, that the original restricted creek allotment in question should not be used as the site of a tribal casino by any other tribe, or tribal town without the consent of the Nation or without following all proper procedures. I will be carefully consulting with the Legislative branch of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to determine how the Nation will proceed in this matter. I am not the sole embodiment of this Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) National Council is an equal branch of government and together we will address this issue.
I want to thank you for your time. In the spirit of Martin Luther King Day, I want to express that we are all neighbors and I wish for us to work together for both the sake of all Tribal Nations and Residents of Oklahoma. I ask that elected officials who have taken such an aggressive stance on this issue to use that same energy to promote Indian Tribes and to lobby for our needs both in Oklahoma City and in Washington, D.C.