Wayland Gray upon his release from jail in February 2013
WETUMPKA, ALABAMA — Wayland Gray, a tribal citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, was facing jail time when he went to court this week for his role to bless an ancient burial site at the Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Wetumpka, Alabama in February 2013.
On Wednesday, a jury deliberated for less than an hour and acquitted Gray of the charges against him.
Six months later, in August 2013, Gray was found guilty of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and trespassing by an Elmore County Circuit judge. Gray took the legal matter to a higher court.
Gray was arrested on February 15, 2013, along with three others, for trespassing on what was then a construction site at the casino. Gray and the others were upset with the Poarch Creek Tribe’s disruption of a sacred burial site to put on an addition to their casino and hotel complex.
In ecstatic Gray issued the following statement to Native News Online late Wednesday:
“Today was a good day for our ancestors and our people. There are tribes all over this country fighting for sacred lands and burials of their people with people going to jail. We should not have to fight for our sacred lands or ancestors burials on our own land.This is our homelands.”
“We have been treated like this for so long it has become normal and acceptable by not only non-natives, but as in our situation our own people. It’s up to us to stand up and change this mindset in this country. It’s not a race thing. We will even go after our own for acts such as desecrating our ancestors or developing our sacred lands. We cannot leave our fights for our future generations they will have their own. Today the truth came out .due to all the prayers and having the creator on our side we won.”