Mobile County, AL (WKRG)
A small Indian tribe isn’t giving up the fight over gaming. Recently, the Attorney General declared victory over the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians after a court ruled their gaming machines seized in 2013 must be destroyed. The judge also ordered more than $10,000 in profits sent to the general fund. Speaking recently in Mobile, Attorney General Luther strange was happy with the order.
“That’s just consistent with the efforts we’ve done across the state to give everyone their day in court and as you know we’ve done that now,” said AG Luther Strange. At issue is whether the MOWA tribe is federally recognized.
“We are federally recognized, we are part of the Choctaw Nation and congress is the only one to take away that federal recognition,” said Tribal Chief Framon Weaver. However, repeatedly in this decision the judge says they are not federally recognized. The order says the tribe does not enjoy sovereignty from state law and that even though the state of Alabama recognizes them it’s not equal to federal recognition. This building used to be where the tribe had gaming machines it’s pretty much been used for storage since 2013 and the chief says gaming really is one of the few industries profitable enough for them. Framon Weaver said they’ve tried raising catfish and a general store among other business attempts in the past. He says gaming is the only thing with enough of a profit margin to fund the tribal government.
“Those activities generated little revenue but at the end of the day that’s not nearly enough,” said Weaver. Weaver said they are working on writing an appeal now.