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Feds approve tribe’s plan for casino in Oklahoma Panhandle

OKLAHOMA CITY – Federal officials have approved an Indian tribe’s request to put more than 100 acres of land into trust to pave the way for a 42,000-square-foot casino in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke joined Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday for a signing ceremony for the approval of the Shawnee Tribe’s application. Zinke said in a statement making “tribal sovereignty meaningful” is a priority.

Some have complained the Shawnee Tribe has no historical ties to the proposed site of Golden Mesa Casino near Guymon, 366 miles west of tribal headquarters in Miami, Oklahoma.

Historically, the government has required Oklahoma-based tribes to build casinos within their tribal jurisdictions. Congress in 2000 restored the Shawnee Tribe’s federal recognition and allowed it to secure property outside lands assigned to other Oklahoma-based tribes.