Oklahoma Creek Principal Chief blocked from meeting President by Secret Service
Muscogee-Creek Principal Chief George Tiger has failed a Secret Service background check and therefore was denied attendance at a special conference between President Obama and leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes. The Secret Service did not reveal what made Tiger such a security risk, but given how sleazy some of the people are that the President must meet with, it must have been something pretty serious.
Earlier, on May 15, 2015 the Muscogee-Creek National Council voted 12-0 to ask Principal Chief George Tiger to resign because of secret business dealings and general corruption in his administration.
Meanwhile, the recently resigned Muscogee Second Chief, Roger Barnett, is facing at least five years in federal prison for embezzlement of tribal funds and racketeering. Barnett’s siphoning of tribal funds began when he was an official of the College of the Muscogee-Creek Nation. It just got worse, when he was elected Heneha (Second Chief.)
The news from Oklahoma keeps going from bad to worse. The governments of the Choctaw and Cherokee Nations can best be described as organized crime. A link to the Lighthorseman article on the Choctaw corruption is in the first comment below. “Lighthorsemen” is the traditional name of Muskogean and Cherokee tribal police, dating back to the early 1800s.
Investigative reporters in Oklahoma newspapers and TV stations have uncovered corruption in the office of Cherokee Principal Chief, Bill John Baker, and blatant voter fraud in the Cherokee elections. According to a June 22, 2015 article in Tulsa Today, Baker repaid donors to his campaign by scheduling unwanted entertainment events at a Tulsa establishment. See the links to news articles in the comments below. This past week the government of the Cherokee Nation uninvited staff of the Carter Center in Atlanta to observe their upcoming elections. You KNOW the elections are crooked, if they don’t want the Carter Center people around.
The crimes going on at many levels in the Muscogee-Creek Nation don’t even deserve to be called organized. Mayhem is a better word.
Tiger’s vote of no confidence was the result of a series of sleazy business activities associated with Native American casinos. One of the charges is that while taking a large sum of money to gain approval of a casino planned by a quasi-independent Creek tribal town, he directed efforts by the Muscogeee Nation Justice Dept. to stop the casino.
The MCN is also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys in a publicly stated attempt to stop licensing of the Poarch Creek casino in Wetumpka, AL (See photo above.) Tiger only authorized the legal effort after the casino was well under construction – thus insuring that Alabama courts would be highly unlikely to stop the project. The legal effort appears to have been window dressing to please cultural preservationists in Oklahoma. It would be very interesting to find out if the private attorneys involved in the suit earlier made handsome contributions to their respective tribal leaders.
While architect of the Trail of Tears Memorial in Tulsa during 2008 and 2009, I personally observed the corruption. After twice receiving rigged bids from general contractors politically connected with Tiger and Barnett, the frustrated Oklahoma Centennial Commission hired the sculptor of the metal flames in the monument to be the construction manager for the overall project.
The process of self-destruction of the Muscogee-Creek Nation began in 2009. After being sworn into office, one of the first actions of George Tiger was firing Muscogee District Court Judge, Patrick Moore. Moore was responsible for ethical oversight of the Creek casinos and distribution of casino profits for educational and cultural purposes. He is considered one of the most brilliant Native American attorneys in the nation. Moore’s key staff members were fired soon thereafter. With Moore and his staff out of the way, organized crime moved in to reap contracts from the Muscogee Creek Nation and to siphon off profits to “their people.”
Tiger’s and Barnett’s presence in the tribal government has had a general corrupting influence on the tribal bureaucracy. Those who are honest are disheartened and feel no incentive to do their best work. They will only be punished for being honest and incorruptible like Patrick Moore’s staff.
In the Southeast, the Eastern Band of Cherokees will soon face an alternative of either filing for bankruptcy or giving much of there casino related real estate to front corporations for the Russian and Italian-American Mafias. Meanwhile, a few days ago the EBC ejected all reporters from a council meeting prior to voting massive raises for elected officials and top bureaucrats in the tribe. Just watch the events unfold and don’t believe a word that any of the North Carolina Cherokee officials tell the media during the process.
This sad story is all about greed, self-centeredness and a disdain for the welfare of the whole community . . . the very traits that our Native American ancestors accused the Southern Planter Class of having. It’s what was really meant by the term “filter down theory” three decades ago. Corruption, excessive wealth and absolute power at the top will eventually filter down and destroy a whole nation.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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