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Archive for Monday, August 5, 2013

Indian tribe hasn’t yet filed federal paperwork to develop North Lawrence property

August 5, 2013

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The future of prime North Lawrence property bought by an Oklahoma-based Indian tribe is still in a wait-and-see mode, but at least one local government has started to assess what impact development of the land could have on its constituents and services.

The Delaware Tribe of Indians has not yet filed paperwork to put into trust 87 acres near the Kansas Turnpike interchange at North Lawrence, said Nedra Darling, a spokeswoman with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Placing the property into a federal trust is likely to be one of the first steps by the tribe to develop the recently purchased property.

"There is a definite process they will have to follow," Darling said. The process is also likely to provide insight into whether the tribe has interest in using the highly-visible property for a casino.

Darling said the federal government has two different processes for putting Indian land into federal trust: one that would allow gaming in the future and one that would not. The tribe will need to decide at the beginning of the process which approval to seek.

When tribal leaders confirmed their purchase of the property just east of the North Lawrence interchange late last month, they declined to say specifically whether they planned a casino for the land. Instead they said the tribe is exploring plans for housing, child care and a medical clinic to serve the state's American Indian population. Other Kansas newspapers have reported that the tribe has sought property to relocate its tribal headquarters from Oklahoma to Kansas.

The potential for a casino on the property is an issue because in 2000 the Delaware tribe expressed strong interest in building a casino complex on 80 acres in the same vicinity in North Lawrence.

An attempt to reach a tribal leader Monday was unsuccessful.

At least one area government is starting to explore how a major development by the Indian tribe, whether it's a casino or a tribal headquarters, would affect its operations. Jefferson County Rural Water District No. 13 alerted patrons through its monthly newsletter that it has asked its attorney to start researching issues a large development would present for the water district, which stretches into Douglas County and could include the land along the turnpike.

But Mike Stieben, board chairman for the water district, said the district hasn't had any contact with the tribe yet.

"We will have our attorney at our next meeting to discuss a variety of issues with us," Stieben said. "We want to make sure our patrons are well represented in any process that happens. We don't know what is going to happen there, but it sure seems like something is going to happen with that land."

Stieben said it may be more likely that any future development on the site would seek to receive water and sewer service from the city of Lawrence. But he said that's not a foregone conclusion, and the district doesn't want to be caught unprepared for any future development since it would be likely to require a significant expansion of infrastructure in the district.

Stieben said he has started to hear more comments from district patrons as news of the Indian tribe purchase has begun to spread. He said if the project ends up including a casino component, that likely will spark concern among many of the rural residents his district serves.

"It will change the rural character of our area," Stieben said. "That's what I'm hearing from people. We may not be able to do anything about that, but those are the type of concerns I'm hearing. I'm not taking a position on it right now."

Darling, the spokeswoman for the BIA, said local governments will be given a chance to provide comment on whether the land ought to be put into federal trust. But local governments don't play a formal role in voting on whether the land should be put in trust, she said. Instead, officials with BIA and the Department of Interior make that determination in consultation with the governor's office.

Comments

SpeedRacer 1 year, 4 months ago

"prime North Lawrence property"? I've never seen those words used together before.

bmoody51 1 year, 4 months ago

Then, apparently, you've never lived here before either.

gatekeeper 1 year, 4 months ago

You've never spent any time there then. We prefer people like you stay away from our wonderful neighborhood.

xyz 1 year, 4 months ago

Chad--Is it confirmed that the land sale from the Pines to the tribe is final?

Maybe the tribe is waiting to file federal trust paperwork until a Feb. 2013 lawsuit against them for breach of contract goes to court. A casino developer that they worked with starting in 2010 to develop a casino on possible trust land in Ohio is suing them for $2.68 million. http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/river-trails-complaint.pdf

Interesting article on the tribe's casino plan in Ohio: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2010/05/16/ohioans-push-plan-for-indian-casino.html

gatekeeper 1 year, 4 months ago

Very interesting article. Two things that stood out are tribe members owing almost $1 million in taxes to OK and the comment about hiding their plans in the tall grass to not draw attention to their desire to build a casino.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

When tribal leaders confirmed their purchase of the property just east of the North Lawrence interchange late last month, they declined to say specifically whether they planned a casino for the land. Instead they said the tribe is exploring plans for housing, child care and a medical clinic to serve the state's American Indian population. Other Kansas newspapers have reported that the tribe has sought property to relocate its tribal headquarters from Oklahoma to Kansas.

---if casino plans weren't of interest to the Delawares, then why didn't they say up front?
no casino in/up against north lawrence. not good.

*now, if no casino, please feel welcome Delawares!

Currahee 1 year, 4 months ago

Why is a casino such a big deal? I mean like what gnome said, they stated they weren't building a casino. We have Haskell here, it's only fitting to have a HQ for a native american organization.

bad_dog 1 year, 4 months ago

No, "...they declined to say specifically whether they planned a casino for the land." "Exploring" other plans isn't a committment to develop those other uses.

Sounds kind of like a reply Jon Lovitz might make. "Casino?" "Meh." "Tribal headquarters?" "Yeah, that's the ticket."

Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 4 months ago

What difference does it make what they do with the land? They bought it, its their land, land they probably had stolen from them to start with and if it wasn't stolen from them, it was probably stolen from another tribe. So what if they want a casino. After a couple hundred years of lies, rape, and murder, they might as well return the favor for Lawrence's most elite by taking their money.

gatekeeper 1 year, 4 months ago

The land wasn't stolen, learn your history. It was given to them in a treaty in the 1860s and Chief Sarcoxi turned around and quickly sold it. They wanted money then & that's what they want now. Sickens me that natives that once worshipped mother earth & abhored greed have decided that money is all that now matters. A casino is a huge deal. That is some of the best farm land in the area and without it we'll have water run off issues. Casinos also bring crime and traffic and this is a residential/rural area. If you want a casino in your backyard, then give them your land.

Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 4 months ago

Who owned the land prior to 1860, better yet, who owned the land prior to 1800? Who owned it before Lawrence was ever thought of? Water run off issues, really? Farm ground? Who is farming it now or was farming it before the Delaware bought it? Crime? Do you read this paper on a regular basis? I hardly think a Casino is going to create such a large amount of crime in Lawrence that you will be able to tell a noticeable difference. I bet your not near as sick about their greed as they are about losing their culture, way of life and nearly being driven to extinction. Personally I wouldn't build a Casino there. I would leave the land the way it is and not doing anything with it. But I could really care less what they do with it. Not my problem.

windjammer 1 year, 4 months ago

So do Juke joints and you don't seem to mind the crime around them.

Mike Ford 1 year, 4 months ago

actually gatekeeper the Lenape people were forced from lands in Missouri after Missouri's statehood in 1820. Their land was near Springfield which is why there is an Anderson and Sarcoxie, Missouri. Anderson is named for a man whose Lenape name was Kikthawenund. In 1829 the Lenape moved to an area between KCK and Manhattan, Kansas. In 1854 the Lenape treatied away the land between Jefferson County and Manhattan known as the buffalo run because the Kansas Nebraska Act and settlers forced them to sell the land or lose all compensation. The 1866 treaty was under the same circumstances. Settlers were squatting illegally and the UP railroad had played divide and conquer with both the Lenape and Citizen Band Potawatomi so the land was sold under duress. Please know history before you speak gatekeeper. The Lenape have spent the last 140 or so years trying to get out from under Cherokee jurisdiction. That's what the land purchase is about.

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