The Quapaw Tribe, headquartered in Oklahoma but moving to re-establish a presence on ancestral land in Arkansas, announced today it was a supporter of the Clinton Library 10th birthday event. Representatives of the tribe will attend a private barbecue tonight and have made a contribution to sponsor tomorrow night’s concert, both events on library grounds.
The tribe said this was one of several events related to its own “cultural/historical homecoming” in Arkansas.
Arkansas is the Quapaw’s original homeland where they flourished as a dynamic community for centuries prior to statehood. They were removed by treaty in the mid-1800s to their current reservation in northeast Oklahoma. Quapaw Chairman John Berrey and other Tribal leaders will visit Little Rock today to dedicate a Quapaw pottery display at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, and to attend a private picnic and concert which they are co-sponsoring as part of the President William J. Clinton Center’s 10th Anniversary celebration.
…”This is partly an educational mission, partly cultural and community relations to reconnect with our original home,” Chairman Berrey said. “But a lot of it is also because we just enjoy doing these things. We love Arkansas, and it always feels great to come home.”
The Tribe announced that three pieces of Quapaw pottery will be presented at the Governor’s Mansion this morning.
“It’s a gift to the people of Arkansas,” Berrey said. “These are three of the most renowned and treasured historic pottery pieces we own, and we hope people will see them and remember that we are part of the state’s history as well as its present.”
The pottery pieces are on loan from the Tribe and the University of Arkansas’ Archeological Survey Museum in Fayetteville, where they are kept with hundreds of other Quapaw pottery pieces and other historical artifacts.
The tribe said it learned of the Clinton Library events through friends and decided to co-sponsor it “because the Quapaws recognize the importance of the Clinton Center’s contributions to the Arkansas cultural-historical experience, as well as its enormous economic impact in Little Rock and the state.”
Unmentioned in the release is the tribe’s recent purchase of 160 acres of ancestral land near the Little Rock Port. That purchase, and other activities, have led to speculation that the tribe might be considering an effort to build a casino in Little Rock, such as it operates in Oklahoma. The tribe has left that option open so far. Good public relations never hurt any business thinking about a development that has some political complications, such as gambling.