Oneida Nation leader responds to Interior threat

Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter criticized efforts to invalidate the tribe's gaming compact with the state of New York.

Halbritter said leaders don't go back on their promises. He said people who are trying to force the tribe to make a new deal are really trying to tax the tribe.

"We're one nation that doesn't plan to allow them to wiggle out of their agreements," Halbritter said, The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported.

Anti-Indian groups and local officials won a lawsuit that said the tribe's 1993 compact was invalid because it didn't receive state legislative approval. As a result, the Interior Department -- for the first time in the history of Indian gaming -- is reconsidering its approval of the deal.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne wants the tribe and the state to start negotiations by April 1. Otherwise, the tribe could face action over gaming at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino.

Whatever happens, Halbritter said the tribe won't be forced to share revenues with the state. He said the unapproved compact was ths state's problem, not the tribe's.

"If it's their mistake, why shouldn't they correct it?" he said, The Syracuse Post-Standard reported.

Get the Story:
Halbritter says he wants promises kept (The Utica Observer-Dispatch 3/22)
Oneida leader opposes sharing casino proceeds (The Syracuse Post-Standard 3/22)
Halbritter speaks out (News 10 Now 3/22)