Tiger Hobia, leader of the Kialegee Tribal Town, has responded to U.S. Rep. John Sullivan’s concern about a proposal to build a casino in Broken Arrow, OK by claiming the Native American tribe has no other real options for economic development.
“The Kialegee Tribal Town project is the epitome of the Congressional vision for Indian economic development,” Hobia said in a prepared statement released by the tribe’s attorney Vicki Sousa, according to press reports.
Sullivan sent a letter to the National Indian Gaming Commission last week urging it to keep the concerns of Broken Arrow residents opposed to the casino in mind as it considered the tribe’s gaming license request. The tribe has started groundwork for the Red Clay Casino at a site adjacent to Creek Turnpike and zoned for industrial use in the city’s comprehensive plan.
City officials reportedly said they have no jurisdiction in dictating planning requirements there because the property is an original allotment of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, of which the Kialegee Tribal Town is a branch. Paxton Myers, chief of staff for the National Indian Gaming Commission, said last week the tribe risked violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act if it opened a casino. The commission is still reviewing whether the land is eligible for gaming.
Hobia said the tribe has kept federal and city officials informed about the project’s progress at all times, that it had no other viable economic development opportunities and it is dependent on limited allocations and subsidies, the Tulsa World reported.
Residents have expressed opposition to the project, citing its close proximity to schools and the strain on public resources.