TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker today announced two possible scenarios to avoid a long and complicated federal battle on the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Corporation land into trust application and Cherokee Nation’s pending injunction on that process.
“As Cherokee people I believe we should be able to find a solution that works for everyone – always remembering that we all come from one fire,” Baker said.
Baker’s settlement offer was conveyed to the UKB and the Department of Interior today. The first option is for the Department of Interior to take the 2.03 acres into trust on behalf of the Cherokee Nation and for the Cherokee Nation to immediately sign a 99 year lease agreement with UKB, with an automatic renewal clause, allowing the UKB to continue gaming operations. Through that agreement, the UKB would retain the profits, maintain their employment base and gaming would not cease at the UKB Casino in downtown Tahlequah, the capital city of the Cherokee Nation.
The second option, according to Baker, is to arrange for the UKB gaming facility to move their existing operations to an acreage of land the Cherokee Nation already has in trust for gaming purposes near the junction of Highways 82 and 62, south of Tahlequah. Under this option, the Cherokee Nation would immediately sign a 99 year renewable lease for UKB to conduct a comparable gaming operation (in size and number of machines) to their current facility on that land.
“As the elected leader of the Cherokee Nation, I never want to see jobs or economic opportunities lost for our extended Cherokee families,” Baker said. I hope that Chief Wickliffe and the UKB Council will consider our offer and join us in finding a solution that will meet all our needs and keep Cherokees employed.”
Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896
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