Quapaw Tribe acquires more land in Kansas

November 29, 2018

QUAPAW, Okla. (AP) — The Quapaw Tribe has acquired additional property in southeastern Kansas after gaining approval from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe obtained about 210 acres (85 hectares) of Cherokee County grassland near the Oklahoma border, the Joplin Globe reported. The land is now part of the federal Quapaw Tribal Trust, giving the tribe governing authority.

The tribe faced opposition from the Cherokee County Commission and the Kansas attorney general’s office over concerns the land would be used for gambling. The tribe owns Downstream Casino Resort in nearby Quapaw, Oklahoma.

The Quapaw Tribe had received a legal opinion from the National Indian Gaming Commission in 2014, determining the Kansas property could be used for gambling operations.

But John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee, said the tribe will use the land for agriculture and has no plans to expand its casino. The Quapaw Tribe already owns land in Cherokee County from a deal in 2006, which is used for grazing animals.

“We don’t have any plans to expand upon our gaming operation, so we’re just excited to have that land,” Berrey said. “We’ll continue to graze our purebred bison herd and cattle on it. We’ll keep it nice, clean and environmentally in shape for our future generations to enjoy.”

The state attorney general’s office couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper.

Berrey said the property acquisition “brings more of our Oklahoma reservation, or what was at one time our reservation, back into our ownership and under our jurisdiction under federal statutes.”

The tribe owns about 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) in Oklahoma and Kansas, Berrey said.

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