Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma seeks land in Pulaski County
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Oklahoma’s Quapaw Tribe is seeking 160 acres of land in Arkansas’ Pulaski County.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1BEXH4r ) reports that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs sent a letter to Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde this month informing him that the bureau is considering an application concerning a piece of land just south of the Little Rock Port Authority. According to the letter, the tribe wants the land to be held in a trust by the United States for tribal use. The letter did not specify what the land would be used for.
He has 30 days to respond to the bureau’s letter. Hyde needs to indicate property taxes levied on the land, special assessments on the property, government services provided to the area, and if any zoning is subject to comments.
The judge says that if the land was acquired by the tribe, then it would not be subject to state law or county or city zoning. Even though the land is located outside of city limits, it is currently subject to Little Rock’s extraterritorial jurisdiction..
Former County Judge for Pulaski County Buddy Villines said he supports the tribe’s application in a Dec. 23 letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“The Quapaw’s have been and continue to be an important part of the historical culture of our State,” Villines continued, noting that the lands were long occupied by the tribe before Arkansas became a state. “We also understand the significant role the Tribe has played in economic development on the other lands they occupy. Their commitment has provided their community with high paying, good jobs as well as a huge boost to the local economy.”
President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Jay Chessir said the he will look at the matter to see what the potential impact on the Little Rock Port Authority may be.
Whether the U.S. acquires the property in trust will be decided by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, according to the letter.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com