BIA Decision

Oklahoma City – The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs says the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians can place 76 acres of land south of Tahlequah into trust status.

The Tahlequah-based tribe received a letter Tuesday from the BIA regional office in Muskogee stating the agency's approval of the UKB's application.

The UKB has been trying since June 2004 to place the land into trust status with the federal government, a step which gives tribes opportunity to exercise jurisdiction over land. Tribal spokesman Sammy Still says the land contains a community service center, a wellness center, an elder center, a civil defense center and a yet-to-be-opened museum.

The Cherokee Nation opposes the UKB application, saying the land falls under Cherokee jurisdiction under an 1866 treaty. The Cherokee Nation will appeal the BIA decision.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.