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Young Bear is a Meskwaki tribal member and one of many reaping the benefits of a casino built 10 years ago near Tama.
A political tug-of-war over the last seven weeks has been playing out in state and federal courts and has divided the tribe's 1,293 members.
Trouble began last fall when some tribal members grew suspicious of the council elected in 1999 and filed recall petitions.
The council dismissed them out of hand and no election was scheduled.
The tension grew until March 26, when the tribe's hereditary chief, Charles Old Bear, stepped in and appointed a new council.
That group took control of tribal offices, assuming control indian reservation casinos in iowa the tribe's day-to-day business.
Since then, there have been court filings over the tribe's bank accounts, failed negotiations with a federal mediator and a finding from federal regulators that the casino is in violation of gaming laws.
On Monday, the National Indian Gaming Commission ordered the immediate closure of the casino.
Tribal leaders ignored the order, filing an appeal in federal court, and the gambling goes on.
A lot of people I know are.
Tribal members had a long list of complaints against chairman Alex Walker Jr.
Walker claimed some of the signatures were forged or coerced, dismissing the petitions even though a tribal lawyer had validated the documents.
The petitioners could have appealed to the U.
Bureau of Indian Affairs.
But by spring, tribal members fed up with the elected council turned to Chief Old Bear, a common remedy before the tribe adopted a constitution in 1937.
Old Indian reservation casinos in iowa named Homer Bear Jr.
The new group and about 60 supporters then simply seized control.
Last month, the elected council asked a federal judge to intervene and return power to elected leaders.
District Judge Linda Reade dismissed the lawsuit, saying the federal government had no jurisdiction over the tribe or its internal power struggle.
A ruling is pending.
But the appointed council has had trouble persuading federal officials that its grip on power is legitimate.
Last month, the Bureau of Indian Affairs said in a letter that the Walker-led council is the tribe's recognized governing body.
That pronouncement was the basis for the Indian Gaming Commission's ruling that the Meskwaki casino is afoul of federal gaming laws as long as the appointed council is in charge.
A hearing is scheduled Monday in Cedar Rapids.
Richard Schiff, spokesman for the gaming commission, said closure orders are click the following article />Only a handful have been issued since the commission started in 1993, most for violations source state gaming compacts.
Others were resolved without enforcement action, but the commission has the power to issue fines and could seek a court order authorizing U.
The Meskwaki Bingo-Casino-Hotel, with more than 1,300 workers, is the biggest employer in Tama County.
Open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it is also one of the region's biggest economic engines, drawing an estimated 4,100 gamblers per day and about 5,000 busloads each year.
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The casino's opening 10 years ago led to two new hotels in the two towns, which here U.
Highway 30 and are home to 5,270 people, and bolstered struggling restaurants and downtown shops.
Business owners, townspeople and those who work for the tribe are concerned about the dispute, she said.
About 840 Meskwaki tribal members live on the indian reservation casinos in iowa settlement along indian reservation casinos in iowa Iowa River west of Tama.
With gambling revenues, the tribe has expanded its land holdings and built 300 news homes.
Another 50 are planned this year alone.
The indian reservation casinos in iowa also paid for a new medical clinic and helps supports the tribal schools.
The appointed council, led by Homer Bear Jr.
Bureau of Indian Affairs writes Rep.
Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, a letter stating the elected council is the tribe's legitimate governing body.
The judge indian reservation casinos in iowa the federal government lacks jurisdiction and dismisses the lawsuit.
The two sides begin negotiations that include new elections and a power-sharing arrangement.
The agency says the tribe has until May 2 at 5 p.
Casino remains open and the appointed council remains in control.
District Court asking for a restraining order on the closure order.
A hearing is planned for Monday.
WHO: The Meskwaki, meaning "red earth people," are officially known as the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa.
The Meskwaki are the only federally recognized tribe based in Iowa.
The tribe has 1,293 registered members, living mostly in Iowa.
It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employs about 1,300 workers.
The casino caters to an estimated 4,100 gamblers per day.
It offers slots, tabletop craps, roulette, poker, bingo, keno and a race book.
BENEFITS: Casino profits have been used in indian reservation casinos in iowa past 10 years to build new homes for tribe members living on the settlement, to fund education and provide low-cost health care at the tribal-run clinic.
HISTORY: Tribes under the Sac and Fox Confederacy were ordered to a reservation in Kansas in 1845, but some of the Meskwaki refused to leave.
In the early 1850s, residents of eastern Iowa petitioned the Legislature for permission to allow the Meskwaki to stay in Iowa.
In 1856, the Legislature enacted a law allowing them to stay.
The tribe purchased 80 acres along the Iowa River in 1857, placing the land in trust with the Iowa governor.
In 1896, the state ceded to the federal government all jurisdictions over the tribe.
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