Nearly 60 employees of the Silver Buffalo Casino in Anadarko, Oklahoma recently were surprised to find the doors shut with no explanation—and no paychecks. Instead of their regular salaries they received just 0 in cash.
Although the casino workers did get paid, the incident is just one result of a power struggle inside the Apache Indian Tribe of Oklahoma. Donnie Cabannis, who says he is chairman of the tribe, said the casino closed because his rivals had been stealing money. “There’s a lot of corruption going on in our casinos now, and we need to take control of that,” Cabannis said.
But Tribal Administrator Ernest Redbird said Cabannis is no longer the chairman, and money has not been stolen. Redbird said, “I think there’s been miscommunication of money being transferred from one bank to another.”
Also in Oklahoma, the state attorney general’s office gave the United Keetoowah Band another 30 days to have its Tahlequah gaming facility’s 2.03 acres of land placed in federal trust. Diane Clay, director of communications for the attorney general’s office, explained that under a settlement reached in 2012, the UKB had been required to close its casino if the U.S. Department of Interior had not taken the casino land into trust by July 30, but it was expected to happen by the end of August.
The UKB and the Cherokee Nation have been at odds over the UKB’s land for years. According to federal gaming laws, all tribal gaming facilities must be located on trust land. However, Cherokee Nation officials said the UKB cannot legally obtain trust status in northeastern Oklahoma because the CN has tribal jurisdiction over the area.