- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Oklahoma-based tribe said it plans to buy more land near Little Rock’s industrial port to use for its economic development.

John Berrey, the chairman of the Quapaw Tribe, told members of the Little Rock Port Authority’s board on Wednesday that the tribe is talking with landowners in the area to expand on the 160 acres it already owns near the Port of Little Rock.

“We’re in constant motion trying to find ways to provide economic development not only for the Quapaw Tribe but also for the people of Arkansas,” Berrey said, adding that the tribe has no plans to build a casino on the land.

The tribe acquired the land for $1.4 million in separate 80 acre purchases after researchers discovered Quapaw artifacts, the graves of Quapaw ancestors and the graves of slaves. The Quapaw Tribe lived in Arkansas for centuries before being forcibly moved west in the 1800s by the federal government.

The announcement comes a month after the Port Authority’s board voted to stop pursuing a memorandum of understanding with the tribe over how it would handle any tribal artifacts in the area that may be discovered as the port considers an expansion that would be paid for with $10 million in sales tax revenue.

Port Authority Executive Director Bryan Day told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1ou0yPA ) that the tribe’s desire to expand came as a surprise to port officials, but that any economic development in the area would benefit the port.

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


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