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Quapaw Tribe chairman: State of Kansas has racist Indian haters - KOAM TV 7

Quapaw Tribe chairman: State of Kansas has racist Indian haters

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"Basically, I think the attorney general of the State of Kansas and Governor Brownback are a bunch of racist Indian haters," says Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berrey.

More accusations arise between the State of Kansas, Cherokee County commissioners, and the Quapaw Tribe surrounding the tribe's planned gaming expansion into Kansas.  In court documents, where the State of Kansas and Cherokee County commissioners are listed as plaintiffs against the National Indian Gaming Commission, the state claims Quapaw Tribe officials lied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  According to the state, towards the beginning of 2012, the Quapaw Tribe applied to have Southeast Kansas land put into a trust, adding the land would only be used for non-gaming purposes.

"Under the United States Constitution, we have rights to be able to change our mind and how we used the property.  But at the time when we filed that application, we meant what we said that we had no intended change of use," says Berrey.

But since that time, the State of Kansas opened up bids for a new state-governed casino in Southeast Kansas.  A casino could be built right across the street from Downstream.

"I have loyalty to my employees and to the constituents of the tribe to try to be as efficient and as competitive as possible," says Berrey.

The state also says Downstream's expansion into Southeast Kansas would negatively impact revenues of a future state-governed casino.  One Cherokee County commissioner disagrees.

"You know, just adding tables a few slots, I'm not in the gaming business.  People in the gaming business would have to answer that better than me, but just from the outside looking in, it doesn't appear it would be that much of an effect," says commissioner Richard Hilderbrand.

But the question still remains of what, if anything, will impact the Quapaw Tribe's decision to expand.

"We do not have a timeline for the expansion.  But you know what, we're a tribe, we're a sovereign nation, and if we want to add on to our building, we can do it.  And we don't need to ask the governor of Kansas or any other state if I could do it," says Berrey.

Even though the National Indian Gaming Commission opined that Quapaw's land in Southeast Kansas could be used as gaming, the State of Kansas and Cherokee County commissioners want that opinion looked over in federal court.

 The State of Kansas also says construction equipment for the Quapaw Tribe is already in Southeast Kansas for this expansion project.  Chairman Berrey says there is no construction equipment in Southeast Kansas, only elsewhere on Downstream's property for other projects.

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Memorandum in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction 

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