- By Native News Online Staff
OKLAHOMA, Okla. — Citizen Potawatomi Nation has asked a federal judge to permit it to join the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations in an existing Federal lawsuit against Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. The lawsuit seeks a judicial declaration that the gaming compacts the tribes have with the state automatically renewed on Jan. 1, 2020.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation requested Timothy D. DeGiusti, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma, grant them permission to join the other tribes in the fight against Stitt, who alleges that gaming compacts expired.
Last week, Stitt asked the court to stop American Indian tribes from operating Class III gaming in Oklahoma. Stitt is seeking new compacts with higher exclusivity fees from the tribes, which pay between four and six percent of their gaming revenues to the state.
"To say that the tribes aren't paying their fair share is a misrepresentation of all that we do for Oklahoma. We contribute 100 percent of our tribal revenue to Oklahomans through infrastructure, education, economic development and more," Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Chairman John Barett said.
“We are committed to remaining a strong partner with the State of Oklahoma,” Barrett said. “We do that through our tribal enterprises, which create an economic impact of more than $530 million, and through programs and initiatives that provide healthcare, address infrastructure needs, and fund education.”
The gaming compacts at issue require tribes to pay the state “exclusivity fees” of between 4% and 10% on gambling revenue in exchange for exclusivity rights to operate casinos in Oklahoma. The exclusivity fees paid by tribes generated nearly $139 million for the state last year, with most of it earmarked for education funding.
Support Independent Indigenous Journalism
Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission: We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country. We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.
Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.