Okie tribes find financial backers

Sep 27, 2005 3:19 AM

Pueblo learned in August that an investment company working with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma proposed to build a tribal-run casino-hotel at the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, according to the Chieftain newspaper.

The project proposal includes a $100 million complex on a 5-acre site that would need to be designated Indian reservation land.

Pueblo City Council and county commissioners have approved separate letters of intent to the project’s developer, Council Tree Communications. The letters will be used to urge Congress to grant reservation status to the 5-acre plot of land on HARP.

The casino project would have to be approved by Congress and the U.S. Interior Department, declaring the development site an American Indian reservation, before it could proceed.

If the project is approved, the city and county would benefit as well as tribes, say casino proponents.

The tribes have said the gaming revenue would be used to improve services and enhance programs for members living throughout western Oklahoma.

In an effort to learn more about the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, The Pueblo Chieftain sent reporter Gayle Perez and photographer Mike Sweeney to Oklahoma where they visited with various members of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes.

In a series of stories that begins began in last week’s Chieftain, Perez and Sweeney provide a snapshot of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people that includes a history of the tribes, the needs of the people and what tribal members think of the proposed casino project.