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Decision Allows Cherokees New Gaming Opportunity (Nov 10, 2010)

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — A decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior means the Cherokee Nation now is eligible to conduct gaming activities on newly acquired trust lands.

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk announced Wednesday the approval of the acquisition of 17 acres of land into trust for the Cherokee Nation. The land is located within the tribe's former reservation in Oklahoma.

The Interior Department also approved the acquisition of 405 acres of land for the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Echo Hawk says the projects "represent an important economic development opportunity" for the tribes.

The agency also ruled the Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma doesn't qualify for gaming under an exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The tribe wanted to put land near Remington Park in Oklahoma City into trust so it could build a hotel and casino.

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