Editorial: State needs assurances from Quapaw Tribe on gaming

This robe from the 18th century depicts Quapaw villages in Arkansas, where the tribe lived before being forced to leave. Photo from Shonagon / Wikipedia

Newspaper urges Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma to agree to a conservation easement that would prevent gaming on ancestral territory in Arkansas:
There may have been some misunderstandings up in Kansas in the last few years between the tribe and officials in that state. Something about the tribe buying property, local officials thinking they’d heard that there were no plans for a casino, then complaints and legal opinions and lawsuits and, oh, it seemed such a mess. Those things happen, especially when two or more human beings are involved. Sometimes folks aren’t always perfectly understood.

Chairman Berrey says the land the tribe owns in Pulaski County is now a soybean field, but eventually the tribe plans to grow crops on the land and give the food to the Arkansas Foodbank. Which, again, is great news. Doubtless the foodbank will benefit from this generosity.

But when asked whether the tribe intends to sign any kind of memorandums of understanding or other binding agreements that would subject the land to state laws governing gambling, Chairman Berrey said he doesn’t think so: “We’re not talking about that. It’s about the cultural stuff.”

And, he added, he doesn’t want to bind the tribe in the future.

Here’s an idea. The tribe has no plans for a casino in Central Arkansas, so why not put a conservation easement on the 160 acres? That could preserve the land and the gravesites, keep it from being developed, and save everybody a lot of worry. Everybody wins. The tribe protects its land, and Little Rock’s city fathers and mothers don’t have to worry about a casino in the backyard.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Trust, but verify (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 4/23)

Relevant Documents:
NIGC Indian Land Opinion For Site in Kansas (November 2014)

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