The Eastern Shawnee Tribe dug shovels into ground for a ceremonial ground breaking on its $34 million expansion on its Indigo Sky Casino in Northeast Oklahoma on Thursday.
The tribe is adding a seven-story, 128-room hotel, plus a 600-seat ballroom event center, as well as other facilities.
"We have just come from so far and we are proud we are not one of those tribes that have to hire management companies to come in," Eastern Shawnee Chief Glenna Wallace said during Thursday's ceremony, The Miami News-Record reported. "We just do it ourselves."
The expansion is slated to open in summer 2017.
The 3,300-member tribe is dispersed across the 50 states, with less than a third living in Oklahoma. Proceeds will benefit all tribal members. "We help our elders and we have a very strong scholarship program," Wallace said.
The tribe sends its scholarships to students throughout the country. "Over 10 percent of our tribe in enrolled in college. That is fantastic," said Wallace, who has served as tribal chief for a decade.