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1

Hydro, Okla. Property: Trust Land Status

Document Signing

 

Elected officials of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs signed documents to place approximately 16 acres at Hydro, Okla., into trust for the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes on May 22, 2019. From left: Wichita and Affiliated Tribes Vice President Jesse Jones, Jr.; Wichita and Affiliated Tribes President Terri Parton; BIA Agency Superintendent Rose Roberson; BIA Realty Assistant Tommy Pewo.

 

Statement from President Terri Parton on the Signing of Tribal Property in Hydro, Okla. into Trust Status

 

ANADARKO-On May 22, 2019, the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes signed an agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place purchased tribal property in Hydro, Okla., into trust status. Below is a statement from President Terri Parton regarding the land's new trust status:

 

"On May 6, 2014, the Wichita Executive Committee of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes enacted Resolution WT-14-100 for the purpose of approving a Purchase Agreement to purchase several properties in Hinton and approximately 16.2021 acres of land in Hydro.  The Wichita Executive Committee, in office at that time, decided, after conducting due diligence activities, that it would be in the best interest of the Tribe and its efforts toward improving the Tribes' economic development to proceed with the financing and purchase of the Property. The Tribe negotiated the loan documents for financing.

 

On August 8, 2014, the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes entered into a Loan Agreement for the financing and purchase of several properties in Hinton, Oklahoma and the 16.2021 acres of land in Hydro.  On December 9, 2014, the Wichita Executive Committee approved a resolution authorizing the prepayment of the full release price attributable to the tract of land located at the Hydro exit on I-40 in Caddo County.  The Wichita Executive Committee paid off the Hydro Property and all other tracts of land that it financed with the exception of the hotel that was purchased in Hinton. 

 

After paying off the property, we began efforts to take the land into trust.  On January 4, 2018, the Notice of Decision to acquire the land into Trust was issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  On February 2, 2018, the Caddo Nation filed a Notice of Appeal.  We went through a year of the appeals process.  On February 11, 2019, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) dismissed the appeal allowing the Tribe to move forward with taking the land into Trust.

 

Group Photo at Hydro Signing

 

Elected officials of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs signed documents to place approximately 16 acres at Hydro, Okla., into trust for the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes on May 22, 2019. Front row from left: Wichita and Affiliated Tribes Vice President Jesse Jones, Jr.; Wichita and Affiliated Tribes President Terri Parton; Bureau of Indian Affairs Agency Superintendent Rose Roberson; BIA Realty Agent Tommy Pewo; Wichita Secretary/Receptionist Kay Ahtone. Second row from left: Wichita Food Distribution Program Director Beth Parker; Mary Botone, Wichita Cell Tower Administrator; Sheena Ngu, Wichita Tribal Funded Social Services Director; Cassie Williams, Wichita Tribal Funded Social Services Intake Clerk; Jennifer Hill, BIA Realty Officer; Julie Anderson, BIA Realty Officer; Jane Aitson, BIA Realty Assistant; Neesa Frankilin, Wichita Tribal Administration Assistant. Third row from left: Michael McMahon and William Norman, Hobbs, Strauss, Dean and Walker attorneys.

The Wichita used to have land from Wichita, Kansas to Waco, Texas.  Our ancestors were moved around and watched other tribes move into the area and given our land that our people once freely roamed.  Our ancestors were then placed on a small reservation area with two other tribes, never having land to ourselves again.  Then in 2006, under the leadership of Gary McAdams, we took 5.074 acres into trust.  Our current casino now sits on that property.  In 2014, the Wichita Executive Committee at that time worked diligently together to acquire several pieces of land in the Hinton/Hydro area that the Tribe had set out to purchase at least 15 or more years prior to the purchase. Today, we took the 16.2021 acres of land into Trust status.  This was a monumental day for our people.  We hope to eventually do economic development on the property. 

 

I just want to thank the Wichita Executive Committee in the 2012-2016 term for having the foresight for the future and purchasing the land; the Bureau of Indian Affairs and their staff for working with us to get the application approved;  Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP for their role in the application process and doing the legal work to help the Tribe win the appeal; and the Maintenance staff for mowing the property and cleaning the building out that had to be torn down.  Most importantly I want to make sure to thank the current Committee, Jesse Jones, Myles Stephenson, Jr., Vanessa Vance and her work on application process, Shirley Davilla, Nahusheah Mandujano and Matt Roberson.  Everyone played a part in some way to get this taken into Trust.     

 

Most importantly, I want us to remember all of our ancestors that came before us and suffered and that gave up all their land so that they could survive and make sure that we had a future today.  The Wichita weren't moved here.  We were always here."