Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Indian Symposium Opens with Discord among Some Tribes

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Indian Symposium Opens with Discord among Some Tribes

Article excerpt

By Nancy Raiden Titus

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Gov. David Walters kicked off an Indian legal conference Tuesday by heralding a new spirit of cooperation between the state and individual tribes, even as he told the gathering that a lawsuit filed Monday prevented him from giving a prepared speech.

"I had a detailed speech prepared, but since I was named in a lawsuit filed yesterday I have had about 19 attorneys tell me not to give it," he told participants of the fifth annual Sovereignty Symposium.

The suit was filed by the Ponca tribe in federal court naming Walters and the state for failing to negotiate in good faith for a gaming compact that would include machine and casino gambling on Indian land.

The symposium, which runs through Thursday at the Marriott Hotel, is designed to provide a scholarly forum for ideas on legal issues affecting Native American tribes. It is sponsored by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission and Sovereignty Symposium Inc.

The governor praised Oklahoma's "Indianness" and told participants that "the days of acrimony are behind us; the days of cooperation are here."

Walters pointed to compacts that have been signed with Indian groups on law enforcement and tobacco payments as proof of the new cooperative spirit between the legal entities. Four of the compacts _ signed Friday and Monday with four of the Five Civilized Tribes _ provided for the tribes to pay the state "ineu" payments for tobacco products sold to nondians.

More than 20 other tribes labeled the compacts an infringement on their sovereignty and adopted a statement distancing them from the actions.

Sac and Fox Principal Chief Elmer Manatowa read the statement during the opening session of the symposium after describing moderny warrty preparations in which the warriors are briefcaseting attorneys armed with treaties and legal precedents. …

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