- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The chairman of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma has made stops across Pulaski County amid concerns from local officials the tribe intends to build a casino in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1J3HChF ) reports tribe chairman John Berrey traveled the county last week. The tribe, which inhabited the state before they were moved to northeast Oklahoma, is seeking to have its 160 acres in Pulaski County placed into a federal trust. That move would take the land, which is just south of Little Rock’s industrial port, out of local jurisdiction.

“It’s that dangling fear of the future — what might happen,” At-Large City Director Dean Kumpuris told Berrey at a city board meeting.

Local officials are concerned that the tribe may try to build a casino on the land. The tribe operates two casinos in northeast Oklahoma. Plans for a casino in Kansas were announced a few months ago.

Tribal leaders say they do not have any plans to pursue a casino, and they are focusing on the history of the land.

“We really believe it’s our responsibility to protect it,” Berrey said.

The tribe secured the land through two purchases in 2012 and 2013 for just over $1 million. The tribe has no other land in the state, but it is interested in purchasing land near the Big River Steel project in Mississippi County.

The tribe operates two casinos in northeast Oklahoma. Plans for a casino in Kansas were announced a few months ago.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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