Citizen Potawatomi Nation launches new battle in war with city

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma, has been closed since March 2014 due to extensive damage caused by a water line break. Photo from CPN

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is suing the city of Shawnee, Oklahoma, in response to the flooding of the tribe's cultural center.

The tribe blames the city for causing $1.2 million in damage at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center. A lawsuit filed in tribal court accuses Shawnee Municipal Authority employees of intentionally tampering with the water system, causing the flooding of the facility in March 2014.

“The lawsuit has been filed … to protect CPN from malicious and gross negligent destruction of tribal property,” Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett told The Oklahoman. “The outcome being sought is to banish Shawnee Municipal Authority workers, while acting in their official capacity, from tribal property in the interest of public safety, protection of tribal property and the necessity to protect tribal employees.”

City officials won't comment on the suit. But they have hired attorney David McCullough to represent them, the paper said.

The cultural center, meanwhile, remains closed.

The lawsuit comes as the tribe continues to oppose attempts by the city to impose a 5 percent sales tax on tribal trust lands. The tribe filed to a petition detach its trust lands from the city but the request was denied.

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Potawatomis suing city of Shawnee in tribal court (The Oklahoman 6/7)

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