Tribe Files Lawsuit to Stop Wetumpka Casino Expansion

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By CBS 8 News

A Native American tribe in Oklahoma has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the $246 million expansion of a hotel and casino, saying the construction desecrates ancestral and ceremonial land.

The Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Montgomery.

Muscogee Creeks say Poarch Creeks excavated 57 sets of human remains and reburied them to develop a 20-story hotel and casino in Wetumpka. They say the territory was once the capital of the Creek Nation. Muscogee Creeks say the remains should be returned to their original places.

A Poarch Creek tribal official tells the Montgomery Advertiser the tribe will respond once they have reviewed the lawsuit. Construction was expected to be completed by January of 2014.

The Poarch Creek Indians have released a statement in response to the lawsuit, saying, "While we respect the Muskogee Tribe's rights as a sovereign Indian nation, we cannot agree with the Muskogee's efforts to control the use of our land. We believe that this action will be found to be without merit."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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