Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse police at an allotment in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, on August 16, 2017. Photo: Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Openings & Closings

Muscogee Nation raids allotment and makes arrest in dispute over casino bid

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation arrested one of its own citizens on charges of unlicensed gaming on an Indian allotment in Oklahoma.

In a press release, Attorney General Kevin Dellinger said tribal police conducted a raid on the allotment in Broken Arrow on Wednesday evening. They arrested Stephen “Steve” Bruner for possession of unlicensed gambling devices and for maintaining an unlicensed gambling premise, he said.

Dellinger further said the Muscogee Nation secured an injunction against Bruner, the Kialegee Tribal Town and the developers associated with a potential casino on the allotment. He said the injunction prevents the project from going forward.

"The fact that gaming machines and other gaming equipment were found on the premises makes it clear that all earlier statements that gaming was only being considered were false, and the intent of the parties involved has always been to open an unlicensed casino," Dellinger said in the press release. "The Nation will continue to take all actions necessary to prevent unlicensed gaming within its jurisdiction.”

Bruner appeared in Muscogee Nation court on Thursday morning, The Tulsa World reported. He entered a not guilty plea and was later released after posting bond, the paper said.

The Muscogee Nation previously warned Bruner not to engage in gaming activities on the allotment, asserting jurisdiction over his allotment. A letter from the National Indian Gaming Commission also said a casino would be illegal in a June 21 advisory letter.

The Kialegee Tribal Town believes otherwise. A lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday claims Bruner as a citizen and asserts the right to engage in gaming on his allotment.

"Kialegee claims jurisdiction over the Bruner allotment, as well as all lands within the Creek Reservation, in common with the other recognized Creek tribes in Oklahoma," the complaint reads. "This shared jurisdiction is guaranteed by various Creek Treaties with the United States read in context with the Indian Canon of Construction."

Bruner announced the opening of a restaurant called The Embers Grille on his land. The Kialegee Tribal Town has made no secret of its desire to add gaming machines to the business, and a development group associated with the effort has advertised dozens of casino-related jobs on Indeed.Com.

Read More on the Story:
Broken Arrow casino raided, Bruner arrested (Mvskoke Media August 17, 2017)
Property owner of potential Broken Arrow casino site appears in tribal court to face unlicensed gaming charges (The Tulsa World August 17, 2017)
Raid on the Embers Grille (Public Radio Tulsa August 17, 2017)
Police raid Embers Grill in Broken Arrow, man arrested accused of unlicensed gambling (KTUL August 17, 2017)
Broken Arrow's Embers Grill Raided By Police (NewsOn6 August 16, 2017)

National Indian Gaming Commission Indian Land Opinions:
July 8, 2013 | June 8, 2012 | May 24, 2012

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Oklahoma v. Hobia (December 22, 2014)

Related Stories:
Kialegee Tribal Town warned not to engage in gaming on allotment in Oklahoma (August 11, 2017)
Kialegee Tribal Town continues to seek employees for casino-related positions (August 7, 2017)
Kialegee Tribal Town faces opposition to potential casino on allotment (August 2, 2017)
Kialegee Tribal Town confirms interest in gaming facility on allotment (July 19, 2017)
Kialegee Tribal Town aims to approve gaming at allotment in Oklahoma (July 17, 2017)
Muscogee Nation asserts authority at allotment where casino was proposed (June 19, 2017)
Restaurant set to open on site of failed Kialegee Tribal Town casino (June 12, 2017)
Kialegee Tribal Town stays quiet as failed casino sits unfinished (February 12, 2016)