Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt continues to push back against Tribal governments

September 4, 2023

His latest comments came during a local chamber event.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently addressed more than 1,000 residents at a Tulsa Regional Chamber event and continued to speak out against Tribal governments, according to a local report in The Oklahoman.

In his speech, which was billed as a “State of the State” address, Stitt described the ongoing conflict with the state’s Tribal nations as a “storm of injustice” and said, “They want to turn Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma into a reservation.”

He went on to say, “There is a storm of injustice that needs to be faced head-on. There are some that want to ignore the last 116 years of state investments and jurisdiction.”

The controversy between Stitt and the state’s Tribes began when the Governor failed to renegotiate the compacts in 2019, claiming voter-approved deals from 2004 had expired. The negotiation pushed for the state to gain larger shares of the Tribes’ gaming revenue.

This resulted in a legal battle, which started after several Tribes, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Citizen Potawatomi and Choctaw nations sued in Washington’s federal district court because of Stitt’s compacts with the Comanche Nation, the Otoe-Missouria, the Kialegee Tribal Town and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

A federal judge later automatically renewed the compacts, siding with Tribal leadership. Stitt hired private law firms in the suit, racking up close to $600,000 in legal fees.

Oklahoma lawmakers previously struck down a recent sports betting bill that made it to the Senate committee. The bill failed to advance because the Senate committee wanted to see continued dialogue between the Governor and Tribes.

According to officials, the fate of legalized sports betting within Oklahoma’s borders could hinge on the Governor’s relationship with local Tribes.


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