Poarch Creek Indians Stop Construction at Wetumpka Casino

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By Jessica Gertler

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has stopped construction on a multi-million dollar expansion at Creek Casino.

After an agreement with the Oklahoma-based Muscogee Creek Nation, the Poarch Creek Indians are stopping construction on the $246 million dollar casino expansion.

So far, the Creeks have uncovered 60 human remains on the site including the remains of seven chiefs.

The Muscogee Nation says those remains are their ancestors, and the grounds should be preserved.

In what the Creeks are calling a matter of good faith, construction will stop until further notice, which has some residents concerned.

"I would like it to pick back up. We need it for our the economy. We need the jobs very bad," says Christie Ann Christmas of Wetumpka.

The 20-story hotel is scheduled to open on New Year's 2014 and is expected to employ more than 1,000 people.

Leonard Gray-
"I think they should go ahead and build it. We need the jobs. We need the tourist money in here," says Leonard Gray of Wetumpka.

But some are hoping the issue is not resolved, and the site remains empty.

"I feel there are other ways for our economy to grow other than gambling," says Linda Prescitt of Wetumpka.

Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis says he is not concerned about the tribe's decision. He thinks construction will pick back up in the next few days, and this will not disrupt the time line.

A spokesperson with the Poarch Creek Indians says they will meet in the next few days, and will comment after that meeting. CBS 8 News will keep you updated.

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Toy said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 11:41 AM

I live near the area and understand how bad jobs are needed but there are other places to work, you may not have it in your backyard and may have to commute a bit. BUT jobs or not .. answer this question with all honesty, sincerity, compassion, and truthfullness WOULD YOU DID UP YOUR GREAT GRANDMOTHER TO BUILD A BUSINESS THAT WILL AFFORD A FEW GREAT WEALTH AND A GREAT MANY A FEW DOLLARS A WEEK? WOULD YOU DIG UP YOUR GREAT GRANDPARENT FOR ANY MONETARY GAIN? Only if you answer that with a true heart can you understand why this situation is a tragedy!

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Jessica Milton said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 10:46 AM

It's funny when people talk about the jobs these places create, but they don't tell you about how much money a casino takes out of the economy. Both casinos take $1,200,000 a month in EBITDA. That's $14,000,000 a year. And it all goes to a tribe that pays NO state TAX.

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Eli Grayson said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 10:35 AM

somebody tell bubba and that other white girl to go dig up their own grandmother and replace her with a casino...its NOT the Muscogee (Creek) Nation responsibility to give you a job, for goodness sake, you are already living on stolen land...now you want us to provide you a job...lordy

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Ray said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 10:18 AM

The people of this area would only care if they were Confederate soldiers.

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Donna Spradley said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 9:50 AM

Your reporting is very incomplete with the focus on whether the casino is built and whether it affects the economy. The whole problem stems on the "desecration" of Hickory Ground by the Poarch Band. And not just because they've uncovered remains. Please see the posts on FB called Save Hickory Ground. -- You need to include the very Historic and Sacredness of this place, the last Muscogee Creek Nation "capital" prior to the Removal of the Muscogees in the 1830s (Trail of Tears). This is a very narrow focus, the people of Wetumpka need to hear the REAL story. It's not about gambling or building a big casino or the economy of the area. MANY people in the Indian Nations and reservations are VERY upset with the Poarch Band. There was much deceit in getting possession of this property. The Muscogees want the buildings torn down, the bones re-interred where they were dug up, and the land returned to nature. Please be more complete and accurate when reporting important issues like this.

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Charlie said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 9:40 AM

I hear people talking about the economy and gambling, but completely forgetting about the Ancestors corpses that are being disturbed in the name of greed. Ruining ancient sites isn't progress, it's ignorance. You don't see other countries ruining their ancient and historical sites do you?

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Gina Odell said on Thursday, Oct 18 at 9:34 AM

This is desecration of a sacred burial site. Regardless of needing jobs for the economy, this is immoral. How would you like your family's graves dug up to build a casino? Money should not favor over doing what is right. The construction should remain halted and begin demolition!

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