Quapaw Tribe willing to sign agreement barring Arkansas casino

Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berrey. Photo by Tim Spears / Twitter

John Berrey, the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, is willing to sign an agreement that would bar gaming on newly acquired land in Arkansas.

The tribe's land-into-trust application for 160 acres near Little Rock has been met with controversy in the state. Politicians have raised fears about a casino even though Berrey has repeatedly denied plans for one.

But to resolve the matter once and for all, Berrey offered to sign an intergovernmental agreement with the state to prevent the land from being used for gaming. “Such agreements have been deemed to be enforceable in other instances, and to prevent the issuance of licenses for tribal casinos.” the chairman told the BIA in a July 8 letter.

To solidify its intent to preserve the land, which is part of a former reservation, the tribe passed a resolution declaring it to be a sacred site. Artifacts, burial grounds and even graves of former African slaves have been discovered there.

The BIA has not issued a decision on the land-into-trust application. But since the tribe has not included gaming on the application, the agency will not consider whether the parcel can be used for gaming.

Historically, only Congress is able to bar gaming on lands that have been placed in trust.

Get the Story:
Quapaw official: Tribe not seeking Arkansas land for casino, sees site as sacred place (The Joplin Globe 7/12)
Quapaw tribe willing to sign no-casino pact for land near LR Port (The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 7/11)
Quapaw tribe responds to Gov. Hutchinson's opposition to trust land (KTHV 7/10)
Quapaw tribe speaking out about request for federal land trust (KATV 7/10)

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

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