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NCAI leader urges open discussion about Poarch Creek casino


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Security show up to Save Hickory Ground rally at National Indian Gaming Association conference in San Diego, California. Photo from Facebook

Tribes should have an open discussion about controversial issues like a casino on a sacred burial ground, a leader of the National Congress of American Indians said.

Treasurer Dennis Welch said he wasn't speaking on behalf of NCAI. But he said the organization should be able to facilitate a discussion about a $250 million casino that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians built on Hickory Ground.

“I wish there would be a public debate on the issue at NCAI or one of the other big conferences with all the parties presenting their cases. That would be the appropriate place to have all the tribes, the leaders and the delegations sit in on it and have a two or three hour discussion,“ Welch told Indian Country Today. “The funny thing is we won’t discuss it among ourselves as tribal nations and leaders but we’ll go to court and discuss it in front of strangers.”

Save Hickory Ground staged a rally at the National Indian Gaming Association conference earlier this month to call attention to the issue. Security guards dispersed the group but NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens told ICT he didn't order anyone to do that.

Save Hickory Ground rally at National Indian Gaming Association conference in San Diego, California. Photo from Facebook

Get the Story:
Save Hickory Ground Rally Shut Down at NIGA (Indian Country Today 5/30)

Related Stories:
Richard Pombo: Day of shame in opening of Poarch Creek casino (12/24)

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