One of the newly-elected leaders of the Meskwaki Settlement spoke to reporters this morning as the tribe’s casino prepared to re-open. Wayne Pushetonequa, one of the newly-elected council members of the Sac and Fox tribe of the Mississippi, calls this a day of celebration, a new beginning for the tribe, and a time to rebuild. Homer Bear, Junior is the leader of a group of candidates who fought to recall the tribe’s former leaders and hold an election this year that would be recognized by all sides and sanctioned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That federal recognition just weeks ago cleared the way for the National Indian Gaming Commission to approve the re-opening of the casino, closed during the sometimes vicious battle over tribal leadership last spring. Pushetonequa says the tribe’s gone through a difficult time, but is committed to closing this chapter in its history and moving forward. While the tribe’s hotel and restaurant remained open the past seven months, the closing of the $100 million-a-year casino threw 1300 people out of work in Tama County.
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