TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation expresses its disappointment in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decision to place property owned by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians into trust.
“This decision is not supported by the law. Time after time, courts have held it is the Cherokee Nation, and no other tribe, that has jurisdiction over this land,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree.
The BIA’s decision was partly based on the notion that both the Cherokee Nation and the UKB share the same former reservation.
Under an agreed order reached between the state of Oklahoma and the UKB, gaming will continue to take place on the property. However, the UKB must actually have the land placed in final trust status within a year of the initial decision. This “final” decision will occur only after a lengthy appellate process.
“I look forward to appealing this decision. It is fraught with legal misconceptions. Now we will move to a court of law with learned judges who will see through the emotions of this case. I mean no ill will to our UKB brothers and sisters, or to their government. However, this land has always been, and always will be, under the jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation” Hembree said.
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