Judge Rules in Favor of Comanche Nation, Ft. Sill Halts Construction at Medicine Bluff

September 24, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: KSWO


On Wednesday, the Comanche Nation spoke out about its legal victory to stop Fort Sill's construction near the historic Medicine Bluffs on post. Although the fight isn't over, the tribe is celebrating a federal judge's preliminary injunction to halt the post's work on its new Training Services Center near the base of the bluffs. The Comanches say the area is sacred to the tribes religious practices, and following the judges decision, tribal leaders hope Fort Sill will abandon it's quest to build there.

What happens next will be up the Army and the US Attorney's Office. An attorney's spokesman says the judge's order was about 34 pages long, and they are still combing through it before they decide what action they take next - if any.

Last month, Fort Sill officials told 7News that they had been planning construction near the bluffs for years, and that the Comanches said they were okay with it. Fort Sill also said construction was planned for outside the historic boundary. "This was not an issue," said Colonel Robert Bridgford last month. "We talked about other issues, but this was not brought up as a challenge." However, the Comanches say it is simply not true - now, they have a federal judge siding with them.

William Voelker speaks for the tribe and its chairman, Wallace Coffey. "When we got word of the ruling in our favor, we were humbly and respectfully happy," he said. The tribe knew the bluff dispute very well could end up in a federal trial, but after the latest victory, they hope it won't. "If they listen to us, finally, as the judge has requested they do, they can just simply stand on the same side of this issue with us," he said.