AKELA, N.M., July 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe filed a motion in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to amend its complaint in its case against the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). The amended complaint asks the Court to overturn a May 2015 Decision and Order of the NIGC that forbids the Tribe from conducting legal gambling on its reservation at Akela Flats, New Mexico. The Tribe believes the NIGC's Decision and Order is contrary to the law and the evidence before it.
The amended complaint also asserts that the Decision and Order violates the terms of a binding settlement agreement made between the United States and the Tribe in 2007. For this reason, the amended complaint also seeks to enforce the agreement and has added the United States and the Department of the Interior as defendants in the action.
A copy of the motion and the first amended complaint can be found here.
"The recent decision by National Indian Gaming Commission completely disregarded an agreement made in 2007 between the Tribe and the Department of the Interior. By ignoring this agreement and denying our tribe the right to conduct gaming on its only reservation, the NIGC has once again broken a promise made by the United States to the Chiricahua Apaches," said Jeff Haozous, Fort Sill Apache Tribal Chairman.
"It's the latest of a long string of broken promises by the U.S. since its agreement with Geronimo in 1886 to return our people to their homeland after two years of imprisonment. We are asking the court to compel the defendants to uphold this latest agreement that was made with us so that at long last our people can return to their rightful home," added Haozous.
The Fort Sill Apache Tribe is the successor to the Chiricahua & Warm Springs Apache Tribes. In 1886, they were taken as prisoners of war by the U.S. Army and removed from their homelands of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona to Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma, where they were released. They organized as the Fort Sill Apache Tribe after a Federal Court affirmed their claim for the loss of over 14.8 million acres of their homeland. The Tribe has always maintained both its independence as Chiricahua – Warm Springs Apaches and its desire to return to its rightful home. After receiving an invitation from the Governor of New Mexico in 1995 and again in 2000 to return to New Mexico, the Tribe purchased the property at Akela Flats in 1998. It was made tribal trust land in 2002 and designated a Reservation in November 2011.
SOURCE Fort Sill Apache Tribe