When I think about the Quapaw Nation’s future, I always find it helpful to think back on our past and ponder how to honor our ancestors by serving our next generations.
Our explosion in growth has been very much funded by the Downstream Casino Resort and the continuity of government. Today we are so much more than Downstream. We are becoming a political and economic force focused community.
As a Southern Siouxian Tribe, we have been culturally and spiritually bison hunters and agricultural people. A great herd once roamed the Grand Prairie near current Stuttgart, Ark., and in the 1500s and 1700s, the O-Gah-Pah were recorded by the Spanish and French as great hunters, agronomists and diplomats. Today we always try to honor our ancestors. Our heritage fuels our agricultural growth, and we have a huge horizon to celebrate
My goals are to continue to build on what we have and to provide more services to our people. Better health, education, hope, excitement and love – those are my goals. I want to continue to clean up Tar Creek, and I am so excited to have completed the 17-year journey in the federal court system and to have a final settlement in the long-running Trust litigation. My job is to provide leadership, compassion and guidance that follow our mission to serve the Quapaw Nation. Agriculture and economic development are my focus for the future, and to make our people and ancestors proud.
Downstream Casino Resort straddles the "Tri-State" area where Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri all meet, just off of Interstate Highway 44, a few miles southwest of Joplin, Missouri. The ultimate goal of the owners, the Quapaw Nation (formerly known as the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma), was to create a destination casino resort that would attract a wide range of visitors, spur economic development, and benefit the citizens who call this region home. The Quapaw challenged the JCJ Architecture team to bring their vision to life at a remarkably fast pace, opening for business in less than 1 year.
Downstream Casino Resort began with the creation of a thoughtful, phased master plan, which would allow the Quapaw Nation to generate revenue and maintain smooth operations during subsequent phases. JCJ Architecture worked with general contractor Manhattan Construction on the fast-paced development of Phase 1: including a casino, 12-story, 222-room hotel with outdoor pool, fitness room, and expansive entertainment terrace. After this first phase, the gaming floor included 2,000 machines and 44 table games, including poker.
The design team carefully researched Quapaw Tribal history. A visit to the University of Arkansas Museum revealed an important collection of Quapaw pottery, featuring a distinctive interlocking spiral pattern. These significant works, for which the Tribe is well-known, inspired a dramatic 16' sculpture which serves as a focal point in the resort lobby. The signature spiral pattern can also be found in textiles, wall coverings, surface treatments, sculptures and even in the spiral arrangement of the plan.
Art plays a key role in the design of the resort. Guests are treated to a museum-like journey through Quapaw history with important photographs and works of art. A large-scale reproduction of Charles Banks Wilson's "Quapaw Man" etched onto bronze plates is prominently featured in the lobby. The resort's art was collected from Tribal Members' private collections and beautifully integrates Quapaw culture into the space. The design of the hotel tower itself is an abstract interpretation of a feather, a direct wish of the Tribe. The 12 story building can be seen from the interstate and serves as a beacon with programmable LED lighting.