April 2, 2015

Fort Sill responds to gaming denial by Supreme Court

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Courtesy of Jeff Kubina via Flickr

The New Mexico Supreme Court denied a request by a southern New Mexico Native American tribe earlier this week that would have paved the way for the tribe to build a gaming facility.

Courtesy of Jeff Kubina via Flickr

Courtesy of Jeff Kubina via Flickr

Three of the five justices agreed to deny a petition from the Fort Sill Apache tribe to be able to sign on to a recently approved gaming compact. The court did not issue an opinion or any reason why they denied the tribe’s request.

In a statement, Fort Sill Apache Chairman Jeff Haozous said the group is not happy with the court’s decision, but that they are not giving up.

“Although we are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to deny our petition, we are steadfast in our resolve to be treated fairly and equally by this administration.  We will of course review our legal options and continue to oppose the highly discriminatory and exclusionary language contained in the recently negotiated compacts.  

Our people remain confident that we will soon receive a favorable ruling by the NIGC and pleased that in its response to our Supreme Court filing, the administration has publicly committed to negotiating a compact with our tribe.  We will expect terms of this future compact to be equal with compacts negotiated with our fellow New Mexico tribes and pueblos.”

The Fort Sill Apache have been trying to open a tribal gaming facility on their small piece of land in South Amierca near Deming. The Martinez administration has argued that Fort Sill is prohibited from signing a compact until their New Mexico land is federally approved for gaming.