There’s big news afoot in Cherokee County, where commissioners have rejected plans for the Quapaw Tribe to permit a casino in the region. Kansas’ Attorney General of the State was called in to deal with the ruling, which was approved by three commissioners this week. It has triggered an angry response from the local Indian community. The move has sparked claims of racism, which Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma Chairman John Berrey described as “anti-Indian”, and “anti-people of Cherokee County”. He went on to vent his anger, saying that the commissioners only care about themselves, not about helping the citizens of the county.
The move contradicts that from the National Indian Gaming Commission which said the land owned by the Quapaw Tribe was eligible for gambling under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Berrey launched a staunch attack on the ruling, saying that as one of the biggest land-owners in the county, and one which provide a lot of employment for the people of Cherokee County, they are helping out the citizens. He claims that over $100,000 worth of finances have been put into the waste water treatment plant thanks to the tribe, without the county paying for a penny of it.
According to the commissioners, Berrey’s claim of “anti-Indian” sentiments “doesn’t have anything to do with it.” The commissioners insist that the Quapow Tribe acquired the land in a deal saying it wouldn’t be used for gaming purposes and that they are trying to forget about that. He added that a casino on the land would be a negative impact on the local community.