Cherokee Nation Businesses Development Builds on Deep Ties With Arkansas

Experienced operator and entertainment powerhouse Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) is known for being an exceptional community partner in every market where it operates. With its proposed Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas development in Russellville, CNB will continue its tradition of creating long-term community partnerships that positively impact local and regional economies and preserve community values.

Cherokee Nation’s long-standing ties to Arkansas and its great people dates to the early 1800s, when several thousand Cherokees made a new home in Arkansas. The community of Cherokee farmsteads grew along the Arkansas River, and up Piney Creek and the Illinois Bayou. Cherokees built mills, cleared land for farming and pasture, and generally improved their holdings, becoming the first agricultural and entrepreneurial pioneers in Northwest Arkansas.

In what would become Pope County, Sequoyah – one of Cherokee Nation’s most famous citizens and historic figures – established a salt works on the north fork of the Illinois Bayou. Sequoyah’s creation of the Cherokee alphabet, which gave literacy to all Cherokees, was first made possible in Arkansas. 

Dwight Mission, Oklahoma’s first school, was originally founded in Arkansas in 1820, when Cherokee leader Tahlonteskee invited Protestant missionaries to establish a mission near what is now the city of Russellville. Dwight Mission featured a school and existed as a full community with a post office, library, sawmill, gristmill, blacksmith shop, gardens and residences.

Today Cherokee Nation maintains its historic connection to the state of Arkansas by partnering with many area chambers of commerce and community organizations. In the past 10 years, CNB has purchased more than $83 million in goods and services from local Arkansas vendors; provided $4.1 million in scholarships to Arkansas students; and supported more than 50 community organizations and events across the state and in the River Valley. 

The partnership between Cherokee Nation and Arkansas is focused as much on the future as it is on its rich past. More than 13,000 Cherokee Nation citizens currently call Arkansas home. CNB employs 200 Arkansas residents and provides entertainment options for more than 275,000 individuals across the state. With the development of CNB’s new Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas, it will bring more than 1,000 new jobs and billions in economic impact to Pope County. 

For more information about the project’s highlights, visit or stop by the new Legends office at 116 S. Commerce Ave . Office hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Appointments are not necessary.