BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - The National Indian Gaming Commission may have placed a final nail in the coffin of the Kialegee's Red Clay Casino Friday.
The commission ruled that the controversial Broken Arrow plot, in the which the Kialegee Tribal Town planned to build, does not belong to them, U.S. Rep. John Sullivan confirmed in a press release.
The solicitor general at the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed with the decision, NIGC chairwoman Tracie Stevens wrote in a letter to Kialegee Chief Tiger Hobia.
"I direct the Kialegee Tribal Town not to commence gaming under IGRA on the proposed site, whether the operation is tribally or individually owned," Stevens wrote.
Organizers of a grassroots group known as Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming also praised the decision.
"We knew from the beginning the law was on our side. It's whether this is a lawless land or whether the law will be followed, and in this case, on this day, the law is going to be followed," said Rob Martinek, one of the group's organizers.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., supported the commission's announcement late Friday.
"Today's NIGC ruling against the casino in Broken Arrow is a win for the entire community. The system in place to review these matters worked as it should have, and the right decision was reached," Inhofe said in a press release. "After working hard with the federal agencies involved to prevent this project from moving forward, I am pleased with today's announced decision."
The land in question is allotted to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, of which the Kialegee is a branch, according to the Department of the Interior.
While the tribe says the State gave them a gaming compact last summer, Attorney General Scott Pruitt has argued gaming cannot occur on Indian land not belonging to the exercising tribe.
U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory Frizzell granted a temporary injunction last week against the casino after Pruitt sued the tribe in federal court.
The commission cited the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in its decision, according to the release.
Calls for comments to the tribe's attorneys were not returned.
The Broken Arrow Citizens Against Neighborhood Gaming plan to hold a rally in celebration of the decision on June 9th.
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