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July 19, 2019

 For Immediate Release
July 19, 2019

Media Contact:
Liz Gray
O: (918) 549-2453
C: (918) 758-8106

Inter-Tribal Council unanimously pass three resolutions at July quarterly meeting

TULSA, Okla. – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation hosted the quarterly meeting of the Five Civilized Tribes Inter-Tribal Council  July 10-12 at the River Spirit Casino Resort.

During the meeting the ITC addressed three resolutions, which passed unanimously. The first resolution passed opposed Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s attempt to repudiate the State-Tribal Gaming Compact.

The Model Tribal Gaming Compact is a 15-year agreement approved by a vote of Oklahoma citizens in November 2004 in relation to Class III gaming and exclusivity fees paid to the state. Gov. Stitt issued a letter July 5 addressed to tribal leaders for renegotiation of a new gaming compact.

“It is the position of the Inter-Tribal Council and Five Civilized Tribes that the Compacts will automatically renew on January 1, 2020,” the Council declared in their resolution. “The [ITC] do hereby memorialize our intent to reject the State’s attempt to unlawfully and unilaterally terminate the Compact.”

The next resolution supports the expansion of Opportunity Zones in Indian Country. Currently, the Opportunity Zones created through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has been problematic as it places the authority with states’ governors and has caused tribal nations to be disregarded by their respective states when creating these zones.

ITC supports the expansion across Indian Country, “so that tribal nations have the same economic development opportunities as the rest of the country and to further improve the quality of life for Native peoples.”

The final resolution urged the state of Oklahoma to remove the cap on Itemized deductions for gaming losses. The state passed a law creating an overall cap of $17,000 on deductions from state income taxes, which includes deducting gaming losses. This deters gaming players and negatively affects tribal gaming in Oklahoma therefore the ITC “supports the continuation of the federal standard that calculates taxable income by deducting total gaming losses from total winnings,” urging the state to pass and sign legislation removing the cap and include retroactive legislation so casino players can accurately record their income.

Prior to the addressed resolutions, each of the ITC leaders provided updates of their respective tribal nations.

MCN Principal Chief James Floyd introduced the new MCN Ambassador Jonodev Chaudhuri to ITC and also addressed the Margaritaville closure due to flooding in the months of May and June.

“We are very thankful to host you here because we didn’t know if we were able to do this 30 days ago,” Floyd said.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker gave his final update as principal chief. The newly-elected Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. will be greeted during the next ITC meeting set to be hosted by the Choctaw Nation.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton dedicated his time to Choctaw’s involvement within the community, with hosting a veteran’s eligibility summit and a summer feeding program with 10 sites within their boundaries that have provided 13,000 meals and 500 snacks.

Batton announced the economic development of the Choctaw Nation with the opening of a coffee shop in Talahina, Oklahoma.

“This last quarter we opened our first version of what we call our Starbucks café, our Rustic Roast that created about 30 different jobs,” he said.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Anoatubby used part of his update to announce the Chickasaw Nation’s new transportation service center in Ada, Oklahoma.

“They offer access to affordable transportation within our communities,” Anoatubby said. “They provide 43,000 rides for medical appointments, job interviews, worksites and 100s of rides to Native Americans and community members during the year.”

Seminole Nation Principal Chief Greg Chilcoat updated the ITC on the Seminole Nation Language Department’s stride to reach the community.

“Everyday we strive to do something better, something stronger, to be a better example to others as we all move forward,” Chilcoat said.

The Choctaw Nation will host the next ITC meeting Oct. 9-11, 2019.