Lawton, Oklahoma — Comanche Nation Chairman William Nelson, Sr. issued the following statement on Thursday (May 7).
Nelson sent the statement to The City Sentinel and other news organizations after his tribe was suspended from the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) on Wednesday for the remainder of this calendar year.
Recently, Chairman Nelson signed a gaming compact with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. Nelson’s tribe has for some time been involved in a legal dispute with the Chickasaw Nation over a controversial approval the Bureau of Indian Affairs took stopped work on a Comanche casino along the Red River.
In his statement Thursday, Nelson said:
“It’s unfortunate the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) doesn’t respect individual tribal sovereignty to negotiate new compacts. The Comanche Nation constitution makes our duty clear — the common well-being of all Comanche Nation members.
“The Comanche Nation compact is legal. The Comanche Nation compact speaks to the well-being of all 17,500 members. The Comanche Business Committee looks forward to the immediate approval by the Office of Indian Gaming. I believe the hype of United for Oklahoma gets lost when a sovereign nation does indeed practice sovereignty.”
About the Comanche Nation: The Comanche Nation is located in Southwest Oklahoma, with headquarters located right outside of Lawton. The tribe currently has approximately 17,000 enrolled tribal members with 7,000 residing in the tribal jurisdictional area around the Lawton, Ft. Sill, and surrounding counties.
In the late 1600s and early 1700s the tribe migrated from their Shoshone kinsmen onto the northern Plains, ultimately relocating in Oklahoma.
Lands sacred to the Comanche are scattered throughout the American southwest, including along the Red River in southwest Oklahoma.
For more information about The Comanche Nation, visit comanchenation.com.
NOTE: Patrick B. McGuigan contributed content to this report.