Tigua: High court rejects Tigua stay request

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 12 08:11:38 MST 2002

Note by Hunterbear:

The Tiguas  [ located near El Paso, Texas]  will -- like every Native
nation, big or small, survive -- as they've survived constant adversity
since the 1500s.  Much more than that, they, like all Native tribes and
people, will fight on -- and on.  And, at
key junctures, there'll be significant victories -- and new mountains to
climb, more rivers to cross.

The Tigua situation -- the attack on the casino so critical to their
economic health -- illustrates the great difficulty Native nations and
people consistently have in what's called the United States of America.
Even the most basic pieces of justice often hang high, very high, for Indian
people.  In addition to indicating the fickle nature of the Federal courts,
the crisis at Tigua also indicates why Native people want to avoid , in
every case, involvement with the states --  never sensitive to Indian
concerns and always hostile and greedy.  In this case, on top of everything
else with which the Tiguas must contend, they face old-fashioned Texas
bigotry -- rank bigotry, bigotry high and bigotry deep.

It is not enough to see Native people as "la raza de bronce que sabe morir."
We have always known how to die -- ideally how to fight well and how to die
with high courage  -- but we are all fighting to live and to live well -- to
live as we wish to live.

The Tiguas will prevail .  So will all Native nations -- and most of our
Native people.

Hunter [Hunterbear]

High court rejects Tigua stay request

Times staff, wire report  [February 11 -  02]

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to grant a stay that would have
the Tigua Indians to continue operating their Speaking Rock Casino while the
tribe's case continued winding its way through the appeals process.

Without explanation, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy handed down the refusal,
clearing the way for a final shutdown of the casino Monday night.

"In an era of declining direct federal financial aid to Indian tribes,
of the casino will result in devastating consequences for the tribe and the
surrounding community," the tribe said in a brief requesting a stay of the
order to close. "Tribal members who lose their jobs will also lose the
protection of 'safety net' programs, such as health insurance or emergency

Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans declined to
grant a stay. A three-judge panel of the appeals court had earlier affirmed
lower court ruling that the casino violates state law and must close.

That mandate was scheduled to take effect on Monday.

The Tiguas are still waiting for a response from the appeals court on their
request to have a rehearing before the three-judge panel or a hearing before
the entire court.

Texas Attorney General John Cornyn filed a lawsuit to close the casino in
six years after it opened.

Cornyn's office has maintained that state law prohibits casino-style
and that the Indians are subject to that law because of an agreement they
signed in 1987 that restored their trust relationship with the federal

A call to Cornyn's office seeking comment wasn't immediately returned

The tribe has said it is a sovereign nation and not subject to specific
criminal laws. Tribal officials also have said their games of chance are
structured so they comply with the Texas State Lottery Act and that they
the right to do anything allowed to the state.

Tribal leaders said the loss of the casino, which brings in an estimated $60
million annually, would devastate the community of 1,250 Indians near El

Funds from the casino have been used to build homes, provide scholarships
cover health insurance costs.

"Our casino was the economic engine that provided for the welfare of the
tribe," Tigua Gov. Albert Alvidrez said. "Eighty-seven percent of our
are subsidized by gaming revenues ... Everything will be affected."

He said the tribe would turn to the Texas Legislature if the appeals fail.
"What we offer is legal, and we have the right to engage in gaming
Alvidrez said.

Meanwhile, the tribe was offering 60-day severance packages to about 600
workers who will be laid off if the casino closes. Most of them are not

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