Cheers all round for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, as work on their new Wetumpka casino resumes following a two week break to resolve disagreements between them and the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma, who claimed that the site they were using for construction was a sacred burial ground of theirs. Eager to carry on, the Poarch Creeks wanted to put an end to years of bitter rivalry and arguments over the site, on which the $246 million casino now continues to rise.
Although every effort was made to reach an agreement which could appease the Muscogee Creek while still allowing for the continuation of the twenty story hotel and casino, no such agreement was reached and the Poarch Creek have decided to press on regardless of the impasse. “We have been extremely careful to plan a development that is culturally sensitive while ensuring the economic well-being of our tribal members, our community, and our state. It is a balanced, reasonable approach for using land that we own, which has been met with increased opposition from some in Oklahoma,” said Arthur Mothershed, a member of the Tribal Council, in a press statement released as they resumed. Tribal Chairman Buford Rolin also confirmed the fact that discussions had come to a dead end, and that they had chosen to carry on with building their slot machine games.
Arthur Mothershed went on to add, “Now, we are being faced with demands to remove ancestral remains that have already been reinterred. We can ensure that no more remains will be excavated. It has been almost eight years since any remains have been unearthed. We cannot change the fact that remains were found and removed. Those remains are now reinterred and we cannot support disturbing those remains again.” It is expected that construction, which began in July this year, will be finished by January 2014, although it is unclear whether that estimate now needs to be adjusted due to the two weeks of downtime. The Muscogee Creek had previously vowed to take legal action against the site along Coosa River.