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Casino sets Indian-only job fair

BY TONY THORNTON Published: October 13, 2008
CATOOSA — Seeking work that pays at least $2.45 above the federal minimum wage? One of the Cherokee Nation’s expanding casinos may hold just the job for you.

Just one thing: Whites, blacks, Asians and most other races need not apply. Not yet, anyway.

The tribe’s business arm is hosting a job fair next month for American Indians only, hoping to fill 1,000 casino jobs. Leftover jobs will be opened to non-Indian applicants.

Normally, a race-specific job fair would violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

However, tribes are exempt from that landmark law’s hiring provisions, said Dianna Johnston, an attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

No other race has such an exception.

Citizenship preferred
Mike Miller, spokesman for the Cherokee Nation, said the tribe isn’t offering preference based on race but on tribal citizenship.

"There are some jobs that you just want citizens of your own country doing,” Miller said.

He said non-Indians hold many of the tribe’s 7,000 total jobs.

However, Miller said, "If we have a qualified Cherokee applicant, we want to give that person an opportunity.

Job fair
→When: Nov. 7-8

→Where: Cherokee Casino Resort, Interstate 44 and S 193 Ave. in Catoosa

→What to bring: Two forms of identification plus a tribal enrollment card or certified degree of Indian blood card

According to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, 31 percent of American Indians in Oklahoma were unemployed in 2005.

Cherokee Nation’s minimum wage is $9 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $6.55.

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