Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Shawnees May Go to War with Remington over Land Trust

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Shawnees May Go to War with Remington over Land Trust

Article excerpt

No one, it seems, has ever wanted the Shawnees.

Although they fought (unsuccessfully) with the French against the British in the mid-1700s, the victorious Brits negotiated land settlements with the Iroquois, who claimed control of the land west of the Appalachian Mountains and dominance over the Shawnee.

As a result, the Shawnee settled mostly in the Ohio River Valley until the U.S. government decided the land wasn't theirs. The Shawnee Tribe, now based in Miami, Okla., ended up in Kansas, from which they were more or less expelled after the Civil War. The group was known by some as the Loyal Shawnee, either because of their allegiance to the Union in the Civil War or because they were the last to leave the Ohio River Valley.

They were also known by some as the Cherokee Shawnee, a confusion that caused the federal government to consider them part of the Cherokee Nation. Congress undid that in 2000, recognizing the Shawnee as an independent nation - albeit a nation without any land.

The Shawnee bought 104 acres in Oklahoma City and asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place it in trust. The land is in the Adventure District, near Remington Park. The tribe would like to build a $400 million resort that would include a large hotel, retail shops, restaurants, a performance hall, a bowling alley and a 16- screen movie theater. There will be other stuff. Oh - and a large casino. I almost forgot that part.

The BIA started taking comments on the plan May 9, originally asking a select group for input. The comment period was to expire June 9, but may be extended. Suddenly, there is uproar.

Once again, it seems, no one wants the Shawnee.

Oklahoma's congressional delegation told the BIA they're opposed to the plan. County Commissioner Ray Vaughn and state democrat Rep. Mike Shelton's districts include the tribe's 104 acres, and both are opposed.

Not surprisingly, Remington Park is having an all-out conniption. They're predicting doom and gloom if the Shawnee project wins approval.

The project is a long, long way from that. No Indian land has ever been placed in trust that wasn't part of the tribe's reservation or jurisdictional area. …

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