- Associated Press - Saturday, February 11, 2017

CANTON, Ga. (AP) - An Oklahoma Indian tribe wants to return to its ancestral Georgia home, and bring a casino with it.

It’s the latest twist in the effort to legalize gaming in Georgia.

WSB-TV (https://2wsb.tv/2kepht7 ) reports a lawyer for the United Keetoowah band of the Cherokee said an Indian casino will help a native Georgia people struggling to survive.

The Keetoowah band was driven from Georgia during the Trail of Tears in the 1830s.

The impoverished tribe’s executive director hopes for a fruitful homecoming. Anile Locust says she would like to see her people flourish in her lifetime.

The tribe wrote to Gov. Nathan Deal last month and said that through federal law, they have status superior to all other efforts to build a casino.

Their attorney, Richard Lea, said two casino companies are in active discussions.

“They can partner with an Indian tribe. They can cut through the regulation and on an expedited basis, they can get approval and build an Indian casino a lot quicker,” Lea said.

The casino company would buy the land and the feds would declare it sovereign in trust for the tribe.

The state legislature would not be involved.

“We’ve just seen the start of the casino fight in the legislature and it’s divisive,” Lea said.

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Information from: WSB-TV, https://www.wsbtv.com/index.html

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