OUR PATH TO SELF-RELIANCE

OUR PATH TO SELF-RELIANCE

1763

THE MIGRATION

Both Alibamu and Koasati Tribes begin to migrate westward, first to Louisiana and then to the Big Thicket area of Southeast Texas.

1813

COUSHATTAS JOIN US ARMY

Coushatta warriors fought with Samuel Kemper’s Republican Army at the battles of Salado and San Antonio. The Coushatta’s were sited for bravery in the battle of Rosalis (Salado) for charging the Spanish military force.

1840

LAND GRANTED BUT NEVER CAME ABOUT

The Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas authorized President Lamar to set aside “two leagues” of land for both the Coushatta and Alabama Tribes “for the entire and exclusive use and benefit of said tribes of indians until otherwise provided for by law.”

Although the land granted them was surveyed and field notes filed, white settlers had already claimed the land and the grants never became effective.

1853

SAM HOUSTON, CHIEFS & POLK CO CITIZENS FOUGHT FOR THE LAND GRANT

At the suggestion of Sam Houston, the Alabama Chiefs held a meeting with neighbors and friends of Samuel Rowe in Polk County.

At the meeting, the Chiefs expressed a desire to settle on land on big Sandy Creek near the Big Thicket. Following the meeting, the Alabama Tribe, with the support of forty-two citizens of Polk County, petitioned the Texas State Legislature for a grant of 1,280 acres, or as much as the state was willing to give the Tribe, in compensation of the loss of the two leagues of land they were granted by the 1840 act.

1854

ACT FOR RELIEF OF THE ALABAMA INDIANS

Texas legislature passed the “Act for relief of the Alabama Indians.” The act authorized the state to either grant or purchase “1280 acres of unappropriated land, situated in either Polk or Tyler counties or both” to be set apart “for the sole use and benefit of, and as a home for the said Tribe of Indians.

Thereafter, the State purchased 1,110 acres about 17 miles south of Livingston, Texas.

1856

ACT FOR RELIEF OF THE COUSHATTA INDIANS

Texas Legislature passed the “Act for the relief of the Coushatta Indians.” However, the land was never located.

In 1859, the Alabama Tribe agreed to allow Coushatta members to move onto the Alabama Reserve.

1928

LAND PURCHASED & INITIAL FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF THE ALABAMA & COUSHATTA TRIBE

The United States authorized the Secretary of the Interior to purchase land for the Alabama and Coushatta Tribes in Polk County. It was this Act that created initial federal recognition of the Alabama and Coushatta Tribes, the name “Alabama and Coushatta Tribes of Texas” was used to describe the Tribes.

Thereafter, the Secretary purchased 3,071 acres of land in Polk County adjoining the 1,289 acres purchased and awarded in the 1854 Act. The land purchased was “taken in the name of the United States in trust for such Indians.”

1953

PRESIDENT EISENHOWER SIGNS LAW TRANSFERRING TRUST RESPONSIBILITIES FROM THE US TO THE TRIBE OF TEXAS

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe passed a Resolution requesting that the Secretary of the Interior “recommend to the Congress of the United States the enactment of necessary legislation in order to accomplish a complete transfer of the trust responsibilities and authorities from the Federal Government to the State of Texas.”

President Dwight Eisenhower signed Public Law 627, therein terminating the trust relationship between the Tribe and the United States and transferred all trust responsibilities for the Tribe of Texas. 

1981

HUNTING ON TRIBAL LANDS

A Texas game warden was driving through the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation and observed a Tribal member field-dressing a deer in his front yard. The game warden also learned another Tribal member had also killed a deer on the same day.  Both Tribal members were cited for hunting without a license and hunting out of season.

Upon hearing testimony in the Polk County Justice of the Peace Court regarding the lack of prior state enforcement and the history of hunting on Tribal lands, the case was dismissed.

1984

RESTORATION ACT WAS INTRODUCED TO TEXAS FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe turned to Congress to secure federal recognition for the Tribe. The first version of the Restoration Act was introduced by Texas Congressman Ronald Coleman and Charlie Wilson.

1987-1988

RESTORATION ACT SIGNED INTO LAW

President Reagan signs HR 318, thereby restoring federal recognition to the Alabama- Coushatta Tribe of Texas and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

President Reagan signs the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), the federal law that regulates gaming on tribal lands.

1994

5TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

In a case involving the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals finds that the Restoration Act, not IGRA, controls the ability of the Pueblo and Tribe to offer gaming.
2001

ENTERTAINMENT CENTER OPENS

To challenge the 1994 Fifth Circuit decision, the Tribe opens a casino, but closes the facility after nine months when a District Judge finds that he is bound by the 1994 Fifth Circuit decision.
2002

CASINO CLOSURE

The Fifth Circuit affirms the District Court decision that forced the casino’s closure.
2014

TRIBE PROMPTS DEPT OF INTERIOR

Members of the Tribe vote to allow electronic bingo on their reservation, prompting a request to the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow bingo under the Restoration Act.

2015

NATIONAL GAMING COMMISSION

The National Indian Gaming Commission approves a Class II gaming ordinance for the Tribe.
2016

NASKILA GAMING OPENS

The Tribe opens NASKILA GAMING, but the State of Texas soon sues to close the facility. That litigation is ongoing.
2019

HR 759

This bill amended the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act, which restores the federal trust relationship between the United States and the tribe, to prohibit the Act from being construed to preclude or limit the applicability of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It is an equal and fair opportunity settlement act that was passed by the House unanimously, but failed to get through the Senate.
2019

OPPOSITION

For some unknown reason, several Texas elected officials have gone out of their way to block our path to self-sufficiency. Specifically, Senator Cornyn, Governor Abbott and A.G. Paxton, have all felt it necessary to send letters to Congress in an attempt to control the Tribe’s right to operate Naskila Gaming.

2021

HR 2208

On March 26, 2021, HR-2208 was introduced. This bill will resolve the issues between the State and the Tribe and allow Naskila Gaming to continue its operation. This is the 3rd bill that’s been introduced. We’re extremely confident that HR-2208 will gain wide-spread support and passage this year.