Quapaw Tribe still vows no casino on ancestral land in Arkansas

Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berrey speaks at a press conference in March 2015 at the Downstream Casino Resort, a facility located in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Photo by Tim Spears / Twitter

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma plans to use ancestral territory for a renewable energy project, not a casino, Chairman John Berrey said.

After the tribe acquired 160 acres within its former reservation in Arkansas, local officials have speculated about a casino there. But Berrey is promising that won't happen.

"The opportunity that the state could have with the Quapaw tribe outside of gaming is huge," Berrey told KARK 4 News.

Berrey has been willing to sign a no-casino pledge although it's not clear whether it would be enforceable. Some critics believe the tribe will go ahead with gaming if the Bureau of Indian Affairs places the land into trust.

"We haven't seen the end of this matter," Jerry Cox, the president of the Family Council in Little Rock, told KARK 4.

The tribe's land is located near the Port of Little Rock, whose officials have passed a resolution that says a casino is not consistent with existing uses. It's not far from the Clinton Presidential Center and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

The tribe has said it will preserve a part of the site, where artifacts, burial grounds and even the graves of former African slaves have been found. Berrey indicated that the renewable energy project will be announced soon.

The tribe operates the Downstream Casino Resort on land in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. The tribe also operates the Quapaw Casino in Quapaw, Oklahoma.

Get the Story:
Money Matters: Arkansans Split on Tribal Gaming's Economic Impact (KARK 4 11/2)

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

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