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Richard Pombo: Day of shame in opening of Poarch Creek casino

Filed Under: Openings and Closings | Opinion
More on: alabama, muscogee, poarch creek, richard pombo, sacred sites
Richard Pombo, a former Republican Congressman, criticizes the Poarch Band of Creek Indians for opening a $250 million casino on a sacred site:
As patrons gaze at sharks circling a 16,000 gallon tank on their way to over 2,500 new slot machines, the Poarch no doubt hope that these prospective customers view their facility as unique. Indeed, Wind Creek Casino is a unique place, but not for reasons Poarch would want you to know. It is unique in that it is the only tribal casino in America that should have never been built in the first place. It is unique in being a disgraceful affront to American Indians and American taxpayers alike. It’s unique because it is the only tribal casino ever to be built by destroying a National Historic Landmark, the historic Hickory Ground.

Hickory Ground is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, due to its great cultural and historic significance. It was the last Capitol of the Creek Nation before forced removal from Alabama to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). It is the site of many cultural and religious ceremonies. It is the burial place of countless elders and chiefs, who are the ancestors of today’s Hickory Ground Tribal Town in Oklahoma, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. As one of the starting places on the Trail of Tears for the Muscogee Nations, it is a tragic memory still fresh in the minds of the Muscogee people.

In 1980, the Poarch acquired Hickory Ground with historic preservation grant funds provided by Alabama and the U.S. government. In return for this taxpayer money, the Poarch promised to preserve Hickory Ground forever on behalf of Creek Indians in both Alabama and Oklahoma. That promise has been shamefully broken.

Get the Story:
Richard Pombo: Opening of Casino On Hickory Ground a Day of Shame (Indian Country Today 12/24)

Related Stories:
Poarch Creeks signs agreement for fire service at $250M casino (12/04)

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