Land Acquisitions | Legislation
Creek Nation land-into-trust bill doesn't include gaming ban

The House Natural Resources Committee approved H.R.1554, the Fountainhead Property Land Transfer Act, on Wednesday after a discussion about gaming on newly acquired lands.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars gaming on lands acquired after 1988. However, it contains an exception that allows Oklahoma tribes to open casinos on land within their former reservations.

The Muscogee Nation is interested in pursuing gaming at the former Fountainhead Resort, a top aide to Chief A.D. Ellis said in testimony to the committee. H.R.1554 would require the tribe to go through the two-part determination process of IGRA, which requires the approval of the state governor.

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), the top Republican on the committee, said Congress should outright bar gaming at the site. But he conceded the two-part determination process would be adequate to protect state and local rights.

Rep. Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma), the bill's sponsor, said requiring the tribe to go through the two-part determination process would foreclose the Oklahoma exception.

The tribe purchased the 48-acre resort on the open market for $2 million. However, the tribe found out that one building sat entirely on land owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and that the property line cut through another building.

The buildings at the resort have since been demolished but the land issue remains. The Corps offered to sell 18 acres to the tribe, requiring an act of Congress.

Get the Story:
Congressman Dan Boren advances Creek Nation bid to buy Fountainhead Resort land near Eufaula (The Tulsa World 6/17)

Committee Markup:
Full Committee Markup (June 16, 2010)

Committee Hearing:
'Full Committee Legislative Hearing On H.R. 4445, H.R. 1554 And H.R. 2340 (April 21, 2010)

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House Resources Committee markup for Indian, Native bills (6/16)
House Resource Committee markup includes three land bills (6/11)
Audio: House Resources Committee hearing on land bills (4/21)
Witness list for House Resources hearing on Indian bills (4/20)
House Resources Committee to take up Pueblo land bill (4/19)