The Ak-Chin Indian Community today accused Maricopa of violating its tribal sovereignty and a federal order to cease and desist construction of the Sonoran Desert Parkway near the Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center.

Ak-Chin officials ordered municipal workers to leave the construction site yesterday morning as they began work on a stretch of the corridor meant to link John Wayne Parkway and Interstate 10. It’s a project more than a decade in the making.

The city is in “blatant disregard” of three cease-and-desist letters dated May 3, Aug. 14 and Sept. 1, Ak-Chin spokesperson Matthew Benson said in a statement today.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs in Sacaton told the city Sept. 1 to “cease and desist any proposed roadway construction, traffic rerouting, traffic signal work or related activities ongoing or scheduled” until the city complied with federal requirements, according to one of the cease-and-desist letters provided to InMaricopa.

“For decades, the Ak-Chin Indian Community has been a good neighbor to the city of Maricopa, so it is deeply disappointing city officials have chosen a path of confrontation instead of cooperation when it comes to roadwork on Desert Sonoran Parkway” Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel said today.

The BIA did not grant Maricopa the legal right-of-way necessary to conduct work near its entertainment complex, the tribe alleges.

“The city must obtain proper right-of-way assignment and federal approval before proceeding with this project on reservation land,” Miguel said. “On behalf of the Ak-Chin people, we will pursue all remedies at our disposal to defend our sovereignty and ensure the law is properly followed.”

Maricopa spokesperson Quinn Konold told InMaricopa the city is working to address the issue thoroughly. However, the city denies Ak-Chin’s narrative regarding unrest near the casino yesterday.

“The city is confident in its stance on the issue,” Konold told InMaricopa. “A complete statement will be provided early next week.”