Federal ruling hands authority over land to Keetoowah tribe
The Associated Press - September 7, 2019 8:49 am
DENVER (AP) – A federal appeals court has determined that land owned by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma can be placed in federal trust, giving the tribe authority over use of the 76-acre tract.
A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Thursday that a 2011 federal Bureau of Indian Affairs decision to place the land near Tahlequah in trust was legal. The Cherokee Nation had sued to overturn the bureau’s decision, saying that it fell within their tribal lands.
The trust designation means that the Keetoowahs would be within their rights to place a casino there. Keetoowah attorney Klint Cowan says that the tribe has no such plan and will use the land for tribal government operations.
Cherokee Nation spokeswoman Julie Hubbard says that the tribe’s legal staff is reviewing the ruling.