The leaders of the four federally recognized Indian tribes of Kansas have approved a resolution opposing efforts by the Delaware Tribe, which recently purchased land in Lawrence, to move to Kansas.
The resolution states that "the odds are strong that the Delaware Tribe, currently based in Oklahoma, will apply to put its newly purchased Douglas County, Kansas land into trust with the eventual hope of gaming … ."
The Kansas tribes, which all operate casinos, said if the Delaware Tribe was successful in starting a casino in northeast Kansas it would cause "significant economic hardship" to the Kansas tribes.
The result would be the loss of job opportunities, diminished services to members and local communities, and the inability to provide charitable contributions, the resolution states.
The resolution was signed by officials with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, and Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
Earlier this year, the Delaware Tribe purchased 90 acres of prime property in North Lawrence along the Kansas Turnpike. The tribe has said it wants to become a federally recognized Kansas-based tribe, and it has signed a development agreement with a company that specializes in building casinos.
Earlier this week, however, Lawrence and Douglas County officials said they didn't believe Delaware leaders want to build a casino in Douglas County. That assessment came after meeting with Delaware Tribe officials.
Lawrence Mayor Mike Dever said he is convinced the tribe wants to have a presence in Lawrence, possibly moving its tribal headquarters from Bartlesville, Okla.
Attempts to reach officials with the tribe were unsuccessful on Friday.
Steve Cadue, chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, said he believes the Delaware Tribe wants to build a casino.
Once the land is put into trust, "they could say we have made a different decision," he said.
Cadue said if the Delaware Tribe is allowed to build a casino in Kansas then other tribes will want to set up operations. "There is no doubt more than the Delaware Tribe would be interested in casino revenue in Kansas," he said.
Gov. Sam Brownback's office declined to say whether Brownback supported the four tribes' resolution.
Eileen Hawley, a spokeswoman for Brownback, said the governor has had discussions with the Delaware Tribe. "Their plan is to engage in open conversation with a number of entities, including the four recognized tribes. We hope that process will be allowed to continue with everyone engaging in open, candid discussion," Hawley said.
In 2000 the Delaware tribe expressed strong interest in building a casino complex on 80 acres near the turnpike in North Lawrence.
Lands north of the Kansas River were the Delaware Tribe's last home before being forced to move into Oklahoma shortly after the Civil War.