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Standing Bear united with Osage Congress: gaming compacts renew on Jan. 1

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said a recent offer from Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter was not enough to show him or show the Osage Congress they should take action.

Standing Bear and ON Attorney General Clint Patterson were among the 200 tribal leaders who attended an Oct. 28 gaming compact meeting in Shawnee at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Grand Casino Hotel & Resort.

The meeting began at 9 a.m. for the tribal leaders, going paragraph by paragraph of the current gaming compact with the tribes’ attorneys in preparation for the meeting with Hunter. Hunter arrived at 1:30 p.m. and the meeting was over by 3 p.m. Standing Bear said Hunter had a slide show presentation for the tribes but didn’t get past the first slide.

He offered a binding arbitration agreement to the tribal leaders on the condition they waive their sovereign immunity and that whatever is decided is enforceable in court, Standing Bear said.

“I told Hunter that I would have to take the offer to the Osage Congress, but I didn’t think the Osage Congress would pass that,” Standing Bear said.

A binding arbitration agreement is a private, less formal way to bypass traditional litigation. Hunter said the tribes could pick one arbitrator to sit on the three-person panel, the state would pick the second, and then both sides would select the third arbitrator.

The main conflict between the tribes and the state is the disagreement that the 15-year-old gaming compacts either end or renew on Jan. 1, 2020. It is the opinion of the Nation and the other 35 gaming tribes of Oklahoma that they renew on Jan. 1.

“I have a resolution of the Osage legislature (ONCR 19-19) which is very clear that we consider the rollover to be a fact of the compact and it is not in doubt. We reject the governor’s interpretation,” Standing Bear said. “Now, that means this is not just a legal question anymore, it is now a political question and the governor made it that way.”

Standing Bear said tribal leaders called for adjournment and he asked if they could be given a copy of Hunter’s presentation since he had only shown the first slide.

“He [Hunter] decided he was not going to share the rest of his presentation with us and he declined to give us a copy. But everybody was very respectful to each other,” Standing Bear said.

On Nov. 5, the tribes sent a formal letter rejecting Hunter’s arbitration proposal, according to the Tulsa World.

In the fiscal year 2018, tribes paid nearly $139 million in gaming exclusivity fees to the state, a 3.48 percent increase over the fiscal year 2017, according to the Tulsa World.



Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2019-11-08 00:00:00


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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