Patrick B. McGuigan, Publisher, The City Sentinel
The Comanche Nation of Oklahoma continues to battle dubious acquisitions of lands the federal government placed in trust for the powerful Chickasaw Nation in secretive decisions.
In a fresh filing in the federal Western District Court, lawyers for the Comanche have sought “declaratory and injunctive relief.” The Comanche also assert “violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)” at gaming-eligible lands in Terral and Marlow, Oklahoma. Those areas should be “ineligible for gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act of 1988.”
For this reporter, fresh insight emerged in the affidavit of Jimmy W. Arterberry, a long-time Comanche tribal official I respect. He attested that lands the Department of Interior put into trust for the Chickasaw (without notification to the Comanche) include Red River areas that were “a trade route and Comanche sites … certain to have contained artifacts from historic camp grounds.”
Arterberry references a “Spanish fort” area from the Eighteenth Century, near where Comanche had an abiding presence long before arrival of others (white and Chickasaw) from the East.
From the fresh legal brief: “Based on Comanche customs, burial grounds would
have been dispersed in proximity and throughout the area including closer to [the] river where construction managers are now saying the [sewage] lagoons identified in the [Chickasaw] environmental assessment are going to be relocated .… and Several thousand Comanche would have camped in that corridor along the river extending between the current allotments … and the Spanish Fort stretching for several miles making the Site an ideal location for Comanche camping grounds.”
In short, the new filing reaffirms in historical context and in plain English that the area federal officials unjustly (and without consultation) awarded to the Chickasaw is actually Comanche country.
I concur there is “the potential for the discovery of human remains and artifacts” and that should trigger “provisions of [the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act] and NHPA [National Historic Preservation Act], in the corridor including the Site which thereby gives cause for cessation and/or review with mitigation measures being established with the Comanche Nation [Historic Preservation Officer].”
Note: The map with this article shows “Comancheria,” circa 1850. This article appears on page one of the November 2019 print edition of The City Sentinel, a newspaper based in Oklahoma City. The Comanche v. Chickasaw controversy was previously examined in page one stories for the October 2018 and April 2019 editions of The City Sentinel newspaper, and may be studied in reasonable depth in past articles posted at these websites: www.CapitolBeatOK.com, and www.City-Sentinel.com.