Indian Occupation
By Earl
According to the UPI, an unspecified number of members of the Kickapoo Tribe since Wednesday have occupied the tribe's Lucky Eagle Casino here. Their dispute is reportedly over the leadership of the tribal government. The protesters are not thought to be armed, though police have been positioned outside the casino. There have been no arrests on any charges, reported Sgt. Sergio Beattie of the Maverick County Sheriff's Office. “We are basically waiting for information from the federal government on whether we should use the necessary force to remove them from there,” Sgt. Beattie said.

On Monday the occupiers voted to oust tribal chairman Raul Garza for allegedingly failing to represent the majority of the tribe. They also voted to remove four other councillors from the tribal council. The occupiers have tried to get recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As that accreditation has yet to come, Garza argues the vote of the occupiers is illegal. Garza claims to retain the authority of the Bureau, affirmed Sgt. Beattie.

The phone in the casino is not being answered and its website is shut down.

In an update on the situation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through a spokesman, reportedly told the San Antonio Express-News on Tuesday that the BIA still recognized the Garza regime. Dan Dubray, another spokesman, this time for Neal McCaleb, the Deputy Interior Secretary for Indian Affairs, said, “At this point, there is nothing before the BIA that says there has been an orderly and proper change of leadership in accord with the tribe's governing documents.”

The casino remains peacefully occupied, the leadership dispute unsettled, the authorities above undeclared on the matter, and the will of the broader Kickapoo community has not been solicited.

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