An artist's rendering of the Prairie Flower Casino in Carter Lake, Iowa. Image courtesy Ponca Tribe

Ponca Tribe begins hiring employees for long-awaited casino

The Ponca Tribe plans to hire about 100 people to work at its long-awaited gaming facility in Iowa.

Chairman Larry Wright, Jr., told Radio Iowa that some positions have already been filled at the forthcoming Prairie Flower Casino, due to open in October. A job fair is being scheduled to fill the remaining posts, some of which are listed on the tribe's website.

"We have several positions already filled now and now we are going to be opening it up her in the next week or so or couple of weeks to the public as a whole," Wright told Radio Iowa. "And so we’re going to invite people in the metro area or people looking for a job in the metro area to come to the fair.”

Ponca Tribe on YouTube: Groundbreaking for Casino Project

As the tribe moves toward success, the effort is being challenged in court by the states of Iowa and Nebraska and by the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Local officials have expressed fear that Prairie Flower, whose name comes from a daughter of famed Ponca Chief Standing Bear, will draw revenues away from the commercial casinos in the city.

The Trump administration rejected the allegations made by the plaintiffs in an April 27 response. The city and the states have since filed a motion for summary judgement, seeking a decision that would force the tribe to stop work on the casino.

"The tribe should not be allowed to make further investments in this illegal gaming enterprise to the detriment of the surrounding communities," the August 3 motion reads.

On Friday, the plaintiffs followed up by seeking "expedited" consideration of their motion. They cited the October opening date as a reason to move quickly with their case.

"A swift decision from this court, as soon as possible after briefing is complete, will minimize the harms to the people of Iowa and Nebraska from the tribe’s actions," the city and the states argued.

The casino will be located on tribal trust land in Carter Lake. The 4.8-acre site can be used for gaming because the Poncas were "restored" to recognition after being terminated by federal government, the National Indian Gaming Commission determined late last year, following prior litigation from the same parties in the new case.

The site is just a few miles from downtown Omaha, Nebraska, and not far from the airport in Omaha. It has housed the Ponca Smoke Signals shop, which has been move to a temporary building while casino construction proceeds.

Though Carter Lake is located in Iowa, it is physically surrounded by Nebraska due to the shifting nature of the Missouri River.

Read More on the Story
Ponca Tribe has some decisions left to make for new Carter Lake casino (Radio Iowa September 4, 2018)

National Indian Gaming Commission Documents
November 14, 2017 Decision | December 31, 2007 Decision

8th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision
Nebraska v. Department of Interior (October 19, 2010)

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