By Roger McKinney
QUAPAW, Okla. —
The Newton County (Mo.) Tourism Council on Wednesday recognized the Quapaw Tribe and Downstream Casino Resort for their financial support for a documentary on the Civil War battle of Newtonia.
The ceremony also gave John Berrey, the tribe’s business chairman, an opportunity to showcase Downstream’s new hotel, which will have a soft opening next month. A grand opening event is expected in January.
“You’re looking at the final stages of a $52 million hotel project,” Berrey told those gathered for the event. “We’re very proud of it.”
Berrey said the hotel is adding 100 new jobs to Downstream’s current employment of about 1,100. It has 152 rooms, two of which will be 1,500-square-foot suites. It will have an indoor swimming pool and a spa. The Buffalo Grille restaurant already is open in the new hotel area.
Steve Roark, president of the Newton County Tourism Council, presented Berrey with an Addy Award won by “The Civil War Battle of Newtonia.” The documentary, written and directed by Paul Wannenmacher, premiered last year. Wannenmacher also was present, using the Quapaw words for “good friends” to describe the tribal officials. The awards are presented by the Joplin chapter of the American Advertising Federation.
Roark also presented a large photo collage featuring scenes from the documentary.
Roark, speaking with reporters, said the tribe contributed more than $40,000 toward production of the documentary.
“That battle represents a very, very important part of American history and a very important part of Native American history,” Roark said. The battle was the first Civil War conflict in which American Indian soldiers were involved.
Roark said the tribe was generous to finance the making of the documentary. He said efforts are ongoing to try to place the battlefield under the National Park Service.
He said the documentary has been on public television stations around the country.
“This has helped put our part of the country on the map,” Roark said of the documentary.
“It feels good to be part of the community and to enhance the culture of the area,” Berrey said of the tribe’s contribution.
STEVE ROARK, president of the Newton County Tourism Council, said the group has begun to seek funding for another documentary — about the area’s mining past.