Published: January 26, 2020

In First State Of The Nation Address, Muscogee (Creek) Chief Says Tribe Will 'Stand Firm' On Gaming Compact Position

OKMULGEE — Delivering his first State of the Nation address Saturday morning, Principal Chief David Hill reiterated that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation will continue to defend its sovereignty while working to expand programs and services across eastern Oklahoma.

Addressing the national council at its quarterly session, Hill called on the legislative branch and other tribal leaders to work with his three-week old administration moving forward.

“We are gathered here together at a crucial time. We will not dwell on the past,” he said. “Promises have been broken and that can’t be changed. But we can continue to work together towards a brighter future.”

Along with more than 30 other tribes across Oklahoma, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is in a protracted dispute with Gov. Kevin Stitt over the status of Class III tribal gaming in the state.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council voted unanimously Tuesday night in an extraordinary session to appropriate an extra $500,000 for legal costs associated with joining the lawsuit filed by the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations over whether the model state-tribal gaming compact automatically renewed on Jan. 1.

An additional tribe, the Shawnee-based Citizen Potawatomi Nation, filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit Friday evening.

“We will continue to work with the state of Oklahoma, but the Muscogee (Creek) Nation will not be controlled or intimidated by the state,” Hill said.

“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation stands firm in our position on the gaming compact. And I want to emphasize this — it is ‘compact.’ Please don’t get me mixed up trying to say ‘contract.’ ”

Aside from the compact situation, Hill used his 15 minutes at the podium to tout the tribe’s continued commitment to expanding its services for citizens.

Along with putting more than $15 million toward college and vo-tech programs in 2019, the tribe has been working with the Oklahoma Department of Education to provide professional development opportunities for area teachers.

He indicated his support for a continued expansion push for Creek and Euchee language programs in schools and communities across eastern Oklahoma.

“We have to continue to educate the public on what is and is not Muscogee,” Hill said.

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