Prairie Flower Casino celebrated its grand opening on November 1, 2018, after many years of planning by the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and lobbying to state and federal government agencies. Commenting at the opening of the casino, which provides the tribe with an important new revenue source, tribal chairman Larry Wright Jr., said, “I’m excited, overwhelmed. This a great day for our people. We have been able to grow, with eyes to the future. This is a symbol of our resilience.” Chairman Wright vowed that the tribe won't be defined by gaming, and said the casino would help provide economic stability for future generations, infusing cash into health care, education and cultural activities for the tribe's 4,200 members.
At this time there are no gaming tables at the casino, but the Tribe has planned for the expansion of the facility's footprint to include up to 2,000 gaming machines and 50 live table games.
About the name Prairie Flower
Prairie Flower Casino is named after the daughter of renowned Chief Standing Bear, who led the tribe during its 1877 forced removal from the Nebraska Territory in present-day Oklahoma. There were at least 11 deaths recorded along the Ponca Trail of Tears, including that of the chief's daughter, Prairie Flower. Standing Bear was later captured near Omaha while leading a small group of Ponca fleeing from the unbearable conditions in Oklahoma.
The chief's ensuing suit for a writ of habeas corpus ushered in a landmark decision: A judge ruled that American Indians were people and entitled to protection under the law. In the courtroom, the chief famously faced the audience and held up his right hand. Though his hand was of a different shade from theirs, he said, his and theirs would equally feel pain if pierced. "The blood that will flow from mine will be of the same color as yours," Standing Bear said. "I am a man. God made us both."