Lower Brule Tribal members protest plans for a casino - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Lower Brule Tribal members protest plans for a casino near Oacoma

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The Lower Brule Tribal Council and residents of Oacoma met last night to discuss the building of a $34 million casino and travel plaza. 

Several members of the Lower Brule Tribe are protesting the casino and calling foul play. 

The proposed casino would be built on tribal-owned land on the west edge of Oacoma using $21 million of Lower Brule tribal funds.  Some members of the tribe are protesting the casino, saying the business plan has nothing to do with benefiting the tribe. 

"Any of the needs of the tribal members are not being met in any way shape or form and we live in poverty right now when we receive 40 million dollars a year," said one tribal member who is an advocate with the Lower Brule Land Owners and Tribal Members Association. 

Advocates within the tribe say that $40 million comes directly from the U.S. government. 

"It's American tax payer money, it's not tribal money, we are poor....we have no money as a tribe and the money that we do get is American tax payer money," said one tribal member. 

The group protesting the casino says their tribal leaders and council are not using the federal dollars to benefit the 1200 tribal members living on the reservation. 

"One of the presenters went before us and said that the tribal members would not be qualified to work in that casino," said one tribal member. 

The Tribal Members association says members of the tribe have not been able to give any input on the casino project, they say all planning meetings are held behind closed doors. 

The group of protesters is trying to work through the matter in tribal courts, but they say connections and alliances among tribal leaders are nearly impossible to break through.

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