Source: Fort Sill Apache Tribe
Copyright © 2008 Fort Sill Apache
Akela Flats, NM (Feburary 28, 2008) - Today Governor Bill Richardson deployed 50 New Mexico State Police officers to illegally block access to the Fort Sill Apache land at Akela Flats in blatant violation of the United States Constitution's Interstate Commerce and Supremacy Clauses. In a shocking and threatening manner workers, tribal employees, and tribal members were forced off Federal Indian Trust property by the Richardson Administration in a manner that smacked of Jim Crow oppression in the south and Governor Wallace blocking the school house door at the University of Alabama in the 1960's.
Governor Richardson and his private attorneys at Sutin, Thayer, & Browne have made false, misleading and illegal assumptions about Tribal and Federal agreements. They are politically pressuring the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), the Department of Interior, and the New Mexico federal delegation to ignore legal agreements between the United States government to the Fort Sill Apache tribe, resulting in this illegal action by the Governor and a destruction of good will between the federal government, state government, and federal recognized tribes in New Mexico. In addition, the NIGC has caved into political pressure by the Governor to break its commitments to the Tribe to maintain a fair and impartial process.
"To date, no federal law has been violated in the development of this project," said tribal Chairman Jeff Houser. "With Class II & III occurring on and off Indian Reservations in the State of New Mexico, the Governor's statements about the impact of Class II gaming on New Mexicans are false, misleading, and irresponsible. Governor Richardson and his attorneys falsely claim that our agreement with the state indicated no gaming would ever occur. That is false. These 'illegal' lies ignore the record of the federal government and our tribe. The land was a non-gaming acquisition at the time and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was not required," said Chairman Houser.
Fort Sill Chairman Jeff Houser has tried to work with Governor Richardson on this matter and has never received a response. The Richardson administration went so far as to send state gaming officials on to tribal land this past weekend posing as federal officials and trespassing on tribal land to obtain false and misleading information to federal regulators. "We are disappointed in the Governor's behavior to date and are only trying to create jobs and become part of the economic landscape of New Mexico our ancestral homeland," said Houser.
Visit the Fort Sill Apache Tribe online.