City Council pledges support for Alabama-Coushatta tribe

Joseph Brown | The ItemThe Huntsville City Council pledged support to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas during its meeting on Tuesday. 

Counties and municipalities in East Texas are increasingly expressing their support for the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, which is seeking federal regulation to clarify its gaming rights. 

On Tuesday, the city of Huntsville joined the list.

After years of fights with the state of Texas, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas is seeking to be put on the same footing as nearly every other Indian nation when it comes to gaming. The tribe currently operates Naskila Gaming, a Class II gaming facility operated in nearby Livingston.

“The tribe was federally recognized in 1987, so we believe that we should operate under federal gaming regulations, the state says that we should operate under state regulations,” said Cecilia Flores, tribal council chairwoman for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Equal and Fair Opportunity in July 2019 and is currently being considered in the U.S. Senate. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has asked the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs not to move forward until the concerns of the state can be resolved. Cornyn’s letter referenced concerns posed by Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton about the bill.

According to information provided by the Texas Forest Country Partnership, in addition to the 370 jobs at the Naskila Gaming facility, 211 additional jobs have been created in the region and $140 million infused into the local economy.

Walker County and the city of New Waverly previously passed similar resolutions.