CASINO UPDATE: TODAY: U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Governor Mary Fallin, Shawnee Tribe Chief Ron Sparkman to Sign Tribal Application

Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin will be joined by U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Ron Sparkman, chief of the Shawnee Tribe, in signing the Shawnee Tribe’s fee-to-trust application for a gaming facility. The signing will take place at 2:30 p.m. TODAY, Friday, Jan. 19, at the Oklahoma History Center. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, John Tahsuda, will join Secretary Zinke, and Chris Benge, Oklahoma’s secretary of Native American Affairs, will join Governor Fallin.

The casino will benefit the approximately 2,500 tribal members of the Shawnee Tribe. It is estimated to create 200 permanent jobs and a $30 million annual impact for the local economy. While the Shawnee Tribe is currently a landless tribe in northeastern Oklahoma, the Shawnee Status Act in 2000 confirmed the tribe’s eligibility to acquire land in trust with the consent of other tribes from the jurisdiction. Because of the limitations of the Act, the closest land the Shawnee Tribe is eligible to acquire land is 370 miles west of its headquarters.