Native American tribe to cover funeral costs after Alabama disaster

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The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is to pay for the funerals of 23 victims, who were killed after a tornado tore through an Alabama town earlier in the month.

It is said that two tornadoes hit a roughly one-square-mile area of Beauregard, causing the highest tornado death toll in the United States since 2013, with all 23 people dying from the first.

After initially offering a donation of $50,000, the tribe, who are the only federally recognised tribe of Native Americans in Alabama, agreed to cover the full $184,000, with quoting Bill Harris, the Lee County coroner, as stating: “The coroner’s office received word that they wanted to help and reached out to them and they agreed. Their first commitment was for $50,000.

“They called back and asked me what it would take to cover the costs, and I gave them a figure and they graciously made it happen.

“The monies will be deposited with the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation, to be dispersed to the funeral homes to cover the cost of the funerals.”

Via its gaming subsidiary Wind Creek Hospitality, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians own and operate nine gaming venues and greyhound tracks across Alabama, Nevada, Florida, Curacao and Aruba, with a $1.3bn deal also in place to make an entry into Pennsylvania via the acquisition of the Sands Bethlehem property from Las Vegas Sands.

Stephanie Bryan, CEO and chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, told ABC News: “This disaster occurred so quickly, and affected so many families who had no way to prepare to cover the cost to put their loved ones to rest.

“We live in an area that is prone to tornadoes and other natural disasters, so this a tragedy that strikes close to home in many, many ways.”