New ad­di­tions to In­digo Sky com­ing soon

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Dra­matic growth has oc­curred in the Eastern Shawnee Tribe since 1984 when the tribe opened its first Bingo Hall.

We weren’t the first to have tribal gam­ing as the Seneca Cayuga and the Qua­paws led the way. Our next gam­ing con­struc­tion oc­curred in 1998 when we built a Travel Plaza which in­cluded a gam­ing cen­ter on High­way 10C. Both were quite suc­cess­ful, so we added on to the Bingo Hall three times and out­grew the Travel Cen­ter, build­ing a sep­a­rate casino there known as the Out­post. Next came Border­town Casino and Bingo in 2003, the largest casino in Ot­tawa County at that time. Within just a few years, we knew we needed a ho­tel but we were land­locked and be­gan look­ing to High­way 60.

In 2012, we opened the first phase of In­digo Sky, a casino with about 1,300 ma­chines, poker, ta­ble games, off track bet­ting, bingo, fine din­ing, a 117-room ho­tel and a swim­ming pool. Three years later, in 2015, we re­pur­posed our Border­town Casino, cre­at­ing a coun­try west­ern flair by adding a large en­ter­tain­ment area for bands and danc­ing.

The unique as­pect is an in­door arena com­plete with buck­ing bulls, cow­boys, clowns, horses and cheer­ing fans. We had plans for a sec­ond tower at In­digo Sky from the be­gin­ning, we just didn’t an­nounce them. This year was the year to act be­cause we were burst­ing at the seams. Con­struc­tion of more than 125 rooms, a 600-seat event cen­ter, ad­di­tional space in the restau­rant, kitchen and more con­fer­ence rooms will be open in early fall of 2017.

Casino rev­enue is re­spon­si­ble for so many good things. I de­scribe our tribe as a pro­gres­sive tribe but we want to be good fis­cal stew­ards. We be­lieve in tak­ing care of our tribal cit­i­zens. At least 50 per­cent of our prof­its go to as­sist­ing them. Our elders re­ceive health as­sis­tance, in­sur­ance as­sis­tance, and tax as­sis­tance. All re­ceive help with their util­i­ties. We pro­vide cloth­ing for our school age chil­dren, spe­cial funds for ju­nior and se­nior year school ex­penses, den­tal care, vi­sion cover­age, burial as­sis­tance. We are es­pe­cially proud of the em­pha­sis we place on ed­u­ca­tion. We pro­vide up to $4,500 per se­mes­ter for our peo­ple to go to col­lege or ob­tain vo­ca­tional train­ing. That means tribal cit­i­zens ev­ery­where and we have tribal mem­bers liv­ing in all 50 states. We also pro­vide grade in­cen­tives to stu­dents be­gin­ning in the sixth grade and con­tin­u­ing through­out their ed­u­ca­tional ca­reer. We re­ward them each time they com­plete a vo­ca­tional train­ing pro­gram or a de­gree, be it high school, GED, As­so­ci­ates, Bach­e­lors, Masters, or Doc­tor­ate. Once they be­gin grad­u­ate school, the amount is in­creased, and if they en­ter law school or med­i­cal school, the schol­ar­ship in­creases to 8,000 per se­mes­ter. Ed­u­ca­tion is the route to im­prov­ing lives and we want our tribal mem­bers to have that op­por­tu­nity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.