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

Cherokee Nation and Quapaw Tribe spend big on casino push in Arkansas

The Cherokee Nation and the Quapaw Tribe are backing efforts to authorize up to four casinos in Arkansas.

According to news reports, Cherokee Nation Businesses donated $525,300 to the Driving Arkansas Forward committee in June. The Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe donated another $707,000.

Additionally, the Quapaws spent more than $180,000 last month on a petition canvassing firm, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The donation was reported by the Arkansas Jobs Coalition, a different committee that supports the casino drive.

But both committees are headed by the same lobbyist who represents the Quapaws, the paper said.

Driving Arkansas Forward is seeking to place the casino measure on the November ballot. The Cherokees and the Quapaws could seek gaming licenses if voters approve the referendum.

The Cherokee Nation operates nine Indian gaming facilities in Oklahoma, including one near the Arkansas border. The tribe previously contributed $6 million to authorize gaming in Arkansas.

The Quapaw Tribe owns land in Arkansas and once had a reservation there. A land-into-trust application for an ancestral property has been pending at the Bureau of Indian Affairs for more than three years but the tribe has pledged not to seek gaming there.

The tribe operates the Downstream Casino Resort and the Quapaw Casino on its land in Oklahoma. A portion of Downstream also extends into Kansas and Missouri.

Read More on the Story:
Two tribes pour money into Arkansas ballot measure on casinos (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette July 17, 2018)
Reports filed on casino amendment (The Arkansas Times July 16, 2018)
Arkansas Group Says It Raised $1.2M For Pro-Casino Measure (The Associated Press July 16, 2018)

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