Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has negotiated two new tribal compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and Keetoowah Band of Cherokee, which are now subject to approval by the Department of Interior.
Oklahoma Negotiates Two More Tribal Compacts
With Oklahoma’s government and tribes at daggers drawn, Gov. Kevin Stitt seems to have made another headway by signing two additional compacts with Indian tribes in the state. The Kialegee Tribal Town and Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians have accepted the governor’s terms.
This has been a blow against tribes that still see Gov. Stitt’s moves as illegitimate, but according to the governor, the compacts would help Oklahoma develop further economically. The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association previously went so far as to expel tribes that had agreed to comply with the governor’s new compacts.
According to OIGA chairman Matthew Morgan, these compacts were neither helpful nor legal, but he’s yet to prove this in a court of law, which is exactly what he is trying to do now before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Commenting on these developments, Morgan had this to say, cited by the Associated Press:
“We agree with Oklahoma’s legislative leadership and Attorney General Mike Hunter that Gov. Kevin Stitt unilaterally entering into new gaming agreements with tribal nations violates state law.”
According to him, Stitt’s actions in the past few years have caused tribes and gaming operations in the state “unnecessary strife,” and have led to costly allegations as well as wasted the state’s resources, Morgan continued.
New Construction Under Way
With the signage of the Kialegee Tribal Town contract, Stitt has approved the construction of a casino in eastern Oklahoma County, just east of Choctaw Road. Meanwhile, the partnership with the United Keetowah Band allows the tribe to erect a new casino in Logan County. Both properties are close to the federal highway, allowing them good connectivity with passing traffic.
According to Morgan, Stitt is completely breaking existing agreements between the state and tribes and “crafting gaming compacts outside of the model compact process authorized by state law.
Yet, none of the compacts are considered legal until the U.S. Department of the Interior has approved them. This has already happened in the cases of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation compacts which DOI gave its approval for.