AKELA, N.M., Jan. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe filed a motion to compel the National Indian Gaming Commission to comply with an Order of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which requires the NIGC to reconsider a May 5, 2015 Decision and Order in which the NIGC determined that the Fort Sill Apache Tribe was not eligible to conduct gaming on its reservation at Akela Flats, New Mexico. The NIGC had until January 13, 2017 to reconsider its 2015 Decision and Order. The Tribe's motion also seeks to require the NIGC and its Chairman to appear and show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for violating the order. Please access the motion here.
In October 2015, the Tribe and the Government agreed to a process that, it was hoped, could resolve the dispute over gaming at Akela Flats, NM. The parties agreed that the Department of Interior would issue an opinion regarding the tribe's eligibility to conduct gaming, and the NIGC would reconsider its earlier decision in light of the Department of Interior's opinion and would issue a new Decision and Order reflecting that reconsideration. This agreement of the parties was subsequently embodied in several orders of the District Court, most recently the court's October 21, 2016 Amended Order. The NIGC has refused to follow the court order.
"Today, the Tribe is moving the court to require the NIGC to comply with the court's order to reconsider its May 2015 Decision and Order," said Jeff Haozous, Fort Sill Apache Tribal Chairman. "This is at least the fourth time in the last four months the government has simply refused to obey the court's orders. For this reason, the Tribe is also asking the court to require the NIGC and its Chairman to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for violating the court's order. The NIGC has abused the Tribe's right to a speedy resolution of this matter, and has wasted taxpayer and tribal resources by delaying their decision for over five years, and now an additional 15 months by not fulfilling its obligations in the agreed-upon resolution process. We have worked in good faith with the current Commission and have relied upon their repeated commitments to participate in this process in good faith. Now they are defying a court order to issue a reconsideration based on further evidence provided by the Tribe and the Department of Interior. The Tribe not only seeks to require the government to comply with the court's order and a finding of contempt, but will also be seeking damages from the Government for its continued false promises and delays."
"We hope the new Administration will review this process and work with us toward restoring respect for our people and an amicable resolution to this legal matter," added Chairman Haozous.
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SOURCE Fort Sill Apache Tribe