Pojoaque Tribe Says New Mexico Is Bullying Them Into Higher Revenue Sharing Rate

Anne Minard

Meanwhile, 13 other New Mexico tribes have signed on to New Mexico’s terms, 10 percent tax and all. Derrick Watchman, CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, said the Navajo Nation signed on because the 2015 provisions “allow the Navajo Nation to continue to grow its gaming business and continue to provide jobs in the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation. This is all in line with the Nation exercising its sovereignty."

But Talachy points out that every tribe is different; what works for the Navajo Nation doesn’t automatically fit a rural Pueblo with 1,200 members. And for him, sovereignty means negotiating a fair deal for his people. “If the state wins,” he says, “it sets a precedent for any state in the country to bully a tribe into a compact that isn’t fair.”

The State doesn’t appear to be stopping at a legal battle. Talachy says the state has already put his vendors on notice that they’ll suffer consequences if they continue to deal with the Pueblo.

Lonergan made the state’s position clear: “the U.S. Attorney’s decision provides no protection to banks, credit card vendors, gaming machine vendors, advertisers, bondholders, and others that are now doing business with an illegal gambling enterprise,” he said.

Talachy is unfazed. “Attack our vendors. Attack our employees. Hell, you can put me in jail,” he said. “But I’m not going to give in to your bullying.”



You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page