PCI situation complicated

Published 5:00am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apparently there is some uncertainty regarding the Creeks operating casinos and possibly having to pay certain taxes according to late Associated Press and news stories in The Atmore Advance and other publications.

These tribal entrepreneurs should not be shut down and denied employment for thousands of workers from this county. Do you realize these jobs touch 3000-4000 families? This includes Indian and non-Indian employees. And many of these workers are voters in this county.

This is not an Atmore thing but it is, indeed, an Escambia County “thing.”

If the tribe is not conforming to proper standards then actions by these politicians are in order. But if this is not the case I believe venom or joy will accompany voters to the polls in the next county election.

Again, I do not know all the details but many of the headlines on this torrid story grow more and more every day.

I remember Devon Wiggins telling me back in the early 1970s, after I founded The Tri City Ledger, politicians must always keep their constituents apprised of their agendas with well-defined narratives in the newspapers. If I were a politician I believe I would do the same.
I don’t understand the origin of this story. As I said, are the Creeks not acting properly or are there other reasons?

It is good to read, however that commission members, state senators and some legal representatives are right now, according to the Associated Press in an April 22, 2012 press release, “pushing the federal government to clarify its position on tribal land in the state, a decision that could affect the status of three casinos run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Alabama’s only federally recognized tribe.”
Again, I see this story as so vastly big it already has legs. As one friend very close to the Creeks told me, “damage has already begun.” I am not exactly sure what he means but he said it while we were discussing the political aspect of this story.

So much for my opinion.

The Creeks outlined their mandate in a clear manner when they promised better living to their tribal members. They exercised positive foresight creating jobs for members of their tribal band, as well as non-Indians.

You see, I was fortunate to hang around with Hugh Roselle back when he, Chief McGhee and another attorney, Lenoir Thompson, spearheaded the drive for Creek federal recognition. I actually drove these three men to the airport the day they went to Washington D.C. to gain final approval.

Hugh was very articulate and a great writer. He and I became close friends in 1955 when he would bring his son Eddie to WATM where I worked part time while attending college. Eddie was fascinated over my playing records on a turntable and over the entire radio concept. I would often let him set in my chair with me and let him announce the name of the records. And then he would push the switch and the records would play.

From 1955 until the day he died I regarded Hugh as one of my closest friends. I don’t know how he became involved in it but he became the main wrestling ring announcer at the National Guard Armory in 1955. He made me his assistant and I was paid a small check for helping him introduce the wrestlers.

Hugh was also involved in a business school here where returning veterans could get high school credit by attending these classes. Again, Hugh gave me a part time job helping him teach.

Incidentally Hugh was a close friend with former wrestler Tom Drake. This highly educated north Alabama man went on to become an attorney and later became the Alabama speaker of the house under the George Wallace administration. Blessed with a Hollywood like facial profile he could have made it as a movie star.

More next week.

Lowell McGill can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

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