A protest Friday at the Creek Casino in Wetumpka ended with the arrests of 4 people from the Muskogee Tribe of Oklahoma. All four were charged with trespassing, but one also found himself charged with one count of making a terrorist threat.
Wayland Gray led the protest and promptly walked onto the property with the hope of 'honoring' the ancestors who were buried there. Each in the group he led was arrested for trespassing. Gray also faces a charge of making a terrorist threat. Each was taken to the Elmore County Jail. Gray is being held on a $30,000 bond.
The feud over casino development and sacred burial grounds does not appear to be close to an end.
In the shadow of the large cranes and construction workers, Native Americans from Hickory Ground Tribal Town in Oklahoma shook their ceremonial rattles and beat their drum. They continue to be unhappy with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians' move to expand its casino, which they say desecrates the graves of their ancestors.
The Creeks declined to allow the media onto the property, but in an email told WSFA 12 News that "The Tribe reserves the right to restrict access to a construction site for safety reasons."
Later in the day the Creeks issued another statement saying, "The individuals were advised to leave. These individuals made threatening comments and were repeatedly warned that they were trespassing and facing imminent arrest. These individuals continued to challenge tribal police and were arrested."
As for the graves, the Creeks added, "When re-interment took place last year, a ceremony and prayer was conducted by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians."
Wayland Gray and his fellow tribe members said they plan to come back to the site of the multi-million dollar construction site as many times as is possible, saying they'll do whatever it takes to get their point across."
The Muskogee Nation and Hickory Ground Town of Oklahoma filed legal action against the development in federal court back in December 2012. Gray says there has not been any movement in that claim.
Construction on the $246 million complex, which will include a 20-story hotel and casino, continues as planned. When complete, the facility is expected to employee more than 600 people.
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