POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 10:27am
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 11:08am
Akela, NM (KTSM) — Fort Sill Apache Tribe (FSA) filed a lawsuit against Governor Susana Martinez and her administration in the New Mexico Supreme Court asserting that the Governor is violating a state statute in failing to recognize FSA as a New Mexico tribe.
The lawsuit alleges that the Governor and her administration have ignored the fact that FSA is a federally recognized tribe located in southwestern New Mexico.
By failing to recognize the Tribe, they are discriminating against the Tribe by excluding it from consultations with other tribes, barring it from the State's annual State-Tribal summit, and by refusing to include it on a list of recognized New Mexico tribes.
“It is a shame that it has come to this,” said Tribal Chairman Jeff Haozous.
The lawsuit seeks an order from the Supreme Court requiring Martinez to recognize the Tribe under state law and requiring Martinez and her administration to include the Tribe in the annual State-Tribal Summit.
The lawsuit alleges that such recognition will open the door to the collaboration, benefits and recognition enjoyed by every other New Mexico tribe and Pueblo.
FSA filed the lawsuit after repeated attempts to obtain legal recognition by the Governor and her administration had failed.
Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell says the tribe "is an Oklahoma tribe trying to capitalize on the gaming market in New Mexico."