Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The tribe wants further study of a proposed bridge across the Mississippi River because it plans to re-establish a presence in the area. Earl Hatley, tribal environmental director, asked for more time to review plans for a bridge to carry Interstate 69 between Desha County, Ark., and Bolivar County, Miss. The tribe wants the environmental and economic impact of the projects both the bridge and I-69 weighed together rather than separately, to determine if "this whole idea is good for the economy, protection of tribal archaeological sites, and the environment.'' The Federal Highway Administration gave the tribe a 30-day extension of the comment period on an environmental impact study of the proposed bridge, not the 120 days the tribe had sought. The tribe calls into question whether the bridge project and the I-69 corridor is a national priority, a pork-barrel project or a means for agencies to justify expanding budgets.'' One tribal official said the two counties were home to 500 Indian cultural sites. Hatley said the tribe forfeited its rights to live on the land in early 19th century treaties with the United States but never surrendered hunting and fishing rights to the land and maintained the right to make other claims.