Oklahoma Tribal Gaming Compact Negotiation
July 30, 2019 8:22 AM   Subscribe

The state of Oklahoma has a compact with Indian tribal leaders that gives the tribes a monopoly on casino games in Oklahoma in exchange for a percentage of revenue from the games. This compact is set to expire at the end of this year, with conditions for auto-renewal. On July 8, in an opinion piece in the Tulsa World and without consulting the tribes in the agreement Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt asserted that the compact would be renegotiated. The Inter-Tribal Council has given a response.

Some additional background on the issue.
posted by Quonab (13 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
It should be noted that if the compact expires, it will not affect existing gaming operations in the state. It would just allow the state of Oklahoma to set up competing casinos.
posted by Quonab at 8:26 AM on July 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


The compact clearly states, however, that the agreement will renew automatically on that day with or without renegotiation.

So the governor is fear-mongering to try and push the tribes back to the bargaining table, even though there is no downside for them to simply ignore his call for renegotiation. Typical Republican "Art-of-the-Deal" style bullshit.
posted by Chrischris at 8:55 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


even though there is no downside for them to simply ignore his call for renegotiation.

I mean, I guess you could take that view. I'd put forth that doing so is playing with fire.

I point you to a post from just yesterday (and my subsequent comment/feelings on the same) regarding how the behavior of the powers that be regarding tribal compacts or agreements has a history of going really, really, really poorly for the tribe when the people those tribes previously trusted to keep their word all of a sudden decide that keeping their word isn't in their own best interest anymore. Case law, for the most part, laughs when tribal entities attempt to stand up against said behavior using normal legal channels.

My reaction if I wasn't so tired.

posted by RolandOfEld at 9:08 AM on July 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


Not especially surprising given the history of the state. Never forget that the reason white people in Oklahoma proudly(!) call themselves "Sooners" is in reference to their white ancestors who illegally stole native land sooner than the Federal Government was planning to let them. Abusing and stealing from native Americans is standard operating procedure for white people in Oklahoma.

I did find this sentence from the Governor's letter telling: "may continue to lawfully conduct certain class III games in Oklahoma after that date"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the tribes are not "in Oklahoma", yes? That's what sovereignty means. When you're on Cherokee land you aren't in Oklahoma, or even really the USA. Unless they're operating casinos off reservation territory Oklahoma law doesn't apply, right?

I mean, that's why there's a crisis of white men going to reservations and committing crimes (mostly rape): because htey know they can get away with it. State investigators don't care because the crime wasn't committed in the state, the tribes aren't permitted to arrest white people, and the Department of the Interior doesn't care and won't bother investigating.

But suddenly when it's a matter of the tribes getting money state laws apply?
posted by sotonohito at 9:22 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


But suddenly when it's a matter of the tribes getting money state laws apply?

As Quonab says up above, the casinos on the reservations are not affected either way by the expiration of the agreement. This is about Oklahoma allowing non-Cherokee casinos.

So even if your preposition was correct (and it really isn't), it would actually be worse for the Cherokee since the last thing they want is competition.
posted by sideshow at 9:35 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Correct me if I'm wrong, but the tribes are not "in Oklahoma", yes? That's what sovereignty means. When you're on Cherokee land you aren't in Oklahoma, or even really the USA. Unless they're operating casinos off reservation territory Oklahoma law doesn't apply, right?

It's not so much "you're wrong" or "you're not wrong" but more of "it's complicated".

I mean, I don't even get it and it's something that directly impacts our tribe rather frequently. If someone does have a good, citation based, somewhere between ELI5 and supreme court opinion reading level link I'd consume the hell out of it.

Sovereignty lets "Federally Recognized" (which is in itself a term indicating a very problematic power imbalance) tribes self govern and self adjudicate, at least insofar as the matters involve tribal citizens as it gets complicated if the crime involves outside parties, with the understanding that this right is independent of the state itself. However, this only goes so far in practical terms. The real life example I have of this is when our tribe started operating gaming facilities and the state of Alabama decided to go into full challenge mode. The final ruling was in our favor but it was by no means a predetermined, forgone conclusion. There's also ancillary things like hunting/fishing exceptions and tribal ID cards that function as passports in some situations.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:40 AM on July 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


Absent changes to state law that I seriously doubt will happen, there aren't going to be non-tribal casinos in Oklahoma any time soon.

Also, it doesn't surprise me one bit that a Republican that could win in Oklahoma would be so disconnected from reality as to consider this a viable negotiation tactic. Unlike in Alabama, the law in Oklahoma surrounding tribal casinos is very well settled, making it unlikely that even Trump's court packing will have any bearing on the situation. Nonetheless, the belief that hoping and wishing hard enough will get them what they want has been a continuing feature of the Republican leadership in Oklahoma for most of the 21st century.

I'd be less confident in the eventual outcome if the state hadn't fought tooth and nail against tribal casinos back when they first opened, but they did, bringing every half baked legal theory to bear and even a few that weren't ludicrous on their face, yet still lost, even with the "advantage" of forced allotment eliminating reservations in the state entirely, unlike in many other states where it was never explicit and was instead merely assumed.
posted by wierdo at 10:21 AM on July 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Sorry if I missed this in the links but how does this intersect with the politics around the pending SCOTUS case that in theory could lead to native tribes reclaiming like half the land in Oklahoma? (On Metafilter yesterday)

Are they setting up a showdown over the tribes' rights to sovereignty?
posted by Wretch729 at 10:24 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Never forget that the reason white people in Oklahoma proudly(!) call themselves "Sooners" is in reference to their white ancestors who illegally stole native land sooner than the Federal Government was planning to let them.

The land for the first land run had been taken away 20 years earlier, after the Civil War. The tribes had fought on both sides, but enough fought for the Confederacy that they were punished with new treaties in 1866. Much of the land was re-allocated to other tribes, and the rest was opened to settlement in 1889. The other big one was the Cherokee Outlet, which the Cherokee were physically separated from by the Osage nation after the war; it was purchased and opened to settlement in the land run of 1890.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the tribes are not "in Oklahoma", yes? That's what sovereignty means. When you're on Cherokee land you aren't in Oklahoma, or even really the USA. Unless they're operating casinos off reservation territory Oklahoma law doesn't apply, right?

The Cherokee Nation does not live on or operate a reservation, and neither do the Creek, Choctaw, Seminole, or Chickasaw. The collective lands were broken up (allocated to individuals and/or sold) between 1898 and statehood in 1907. Jurisdiction over the area is...complicated, and is a subject of the Supreme Court case from that other post. The Osage Nation appears to be an exception to this.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:28 AM on July 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


Are they setting up a showdown over the tribes' rights to sovereignty?

I'm not sure anyone knows what they are thinking. Oklahoma politics often doesn't make any sense. Oklahoma tribes made contributions to Stitt's inauguration:
Other top donations came from Oklahoma tribes. The Chickasaw and Cherokee Nations each contributed $75,000. Stitt is Oklahoma’s first governor who is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.

The Choctaw Nation contributed $50,000. The inaugural committee also accepted a $25,000 contribution from the Osaga Casino, which is run by members of the Osage Nation and $10,000 from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
posted by Quonab at 11:02 AM on July 30, 2019


Sorry if I missed this in the links but how does this intersect with the politics around the pending SCOTUS case that in theory could lead to native tribes reclaiming like half the land in Oklahoma? (On Metafilter yesterday)

I'm thinking a wholesale re-litigation of every case decided on the precedent of stealing land from Native Americans with the aspect of "This decision was obviously racist, therefore unconstitutional"

The way Dred Scott v Sandford was reconsidered.
posted by mikelieman at 1:59 PM on July 30, 2019


OK, let’s start on the east coast first, then work our way across.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:10 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


> I'm thinking a wholesale re-litigation of every case

That would be a hell of a thing to see.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:40 PM on July 30, 2019


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