Tuesday, March 7, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Citing a remedy to help with economic development and self-determination, Governor Mary Fallin today announced she has concurred with the findings of a federal agency giving permission to the Shawnee Tribe to build a casino near Guymon.
In 2000, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe succeeded in winning congressional approval of a measure called the Shawnee Act, which restored the tribe's federal recognition and gave the tribe the right to secure land essential to its economic well-being as long as that land is outside the assigned lands of other Oklahoma tribes.
The history of Shawnee migration in response to western expansion can be traced to the 1700s. Relocating to eastern Kansas on a 1.6 million-acre reservation in the early 1860s, the tribe’s land holdings were reduced over the years by the federal government.*
“I appreciate the growing partnership our state and the tribes have developed and improved over the last several years,” Fallin said. “I believe the Shawnee Tribe has demonstrated its commitment to our country and this state. It is fitting that we follow the acknowledgement by Congress to offer this tribe the ability to self-determination and self-governance by allowing economic development opportunities.”
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs earlier determined putting the land into trust would be positive for the Shawnee Tribe and the Panhandle community. The governor’s review and decision was the next step in the two-part determination process.
The proposed Golden Mesa Casino to be built southwest of Guymon would create about 175 jobs and produce an annual payroll of about $3.7 million, according to Shawnee tribal officials. The proposed casino is seen as an entertainment and destination point.
“I concur with the secretary of the interior’s determination that the Shawnee Tribe’s proposal will provide economic development to the Guymon and surrounding area, bringing in out-of-state dollars as it will draw from population centers outside our state,” said Fallin. “This will also benefit the Shawnee Tribe in helping it develop a funding source as it works toward self-determination and self-governance.”
The Shawnee Tribe is a landless tribe. Having a unique history, the Shawnee Tribe was assigned no jurisdictional land of its own and operates within the territory of another tribal government. Because of this unique history, Congress enacted the Shawnee Status Act in 2000, which enabled the tribe to begin a process of growth and recovery.
In the past, the federal government has generally required tribes to build casinos on their own reservations or — in states like Oklahoma where tribes don't have reservations — within their tribal jurisdictional areas.
Plans call for building a $25 million casino called the Golden Mesa Casino that would include a restaurant on 107 acres about 4 miles southwest of Guymon. The tribe is expected to partner with Global Gaming Solutions, the gaming division of the Chickasaw Nation, with Global Gaming serving as the management company for the project, which has a projected economic impact of $32 million.
Upon approval of the tribe’s fee to trust application, the tribe will initiate the process for adopting Oklahoma’s model tribal-state Class III gaming compact, which will ultimately provide increased funding for education.
*The Shawnee people in Kansas were known as the Loyal Shawnee due to their service to the Union during the Civil War. Ultimately, the Shawnees were removed to present-day Oklahoma, but the federal government did not establish a reservation for them.