FWD from Redbadbear and Marxist: Native casinos

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 11 08:35:54 MST 2002

Time Magazine, which I've never trusted whatever its
incarnation-of-the-moment might be, has some current substantial wordage on
Native American casinos. I don't think it -- or Newsweek as far as that
goes -- has any bona fide "feel" for Native people, tribes and cultures and
challenges and only a superficial awareness of the casino situation.
Casinos in Indian Country are heavy issues -- of which I know some many
things, at least -- and I may have more to say on this all one of these
times. In the meantime, just to keep Native casinos to the fore on
Redbadbear and Marxist, here's the post I made last June -- in response to
some good comments by Eric Kirk:

Note by Hunterbear:

A short and as-always friendly response by Eric Kirk to a Redbadbear post of
mine -- regarding a NYC-based website that's anonymously attacking Native
casinos in Connecticut -- made reference to what can frequently be the
negative effects of gambling. Here's my response:


I don't think we are that far apart at all on the casino thing, Eric. I'm no
Puritan -- but I'm not a money gambler. Never have been -- except, say, for
very small stakes blackjack etc. I have a relative by marriage who has lost
huge amounts at the Mescalero casino in Southern New Mexico.

My basic point is that a Native nation has the sovereign right to own and
operate a casino or casinos. I don't agree at all with the 1988 Indian
Gaming Act which requires a tribe to reach mutual accord with a state [nor
the related 1996 USSC Seminole decision which makes it easier for a state to
refuse.] Those I see running directly counter to Worcester v Georgia
[1832] -- the headwaters Cherokee Nation case -- which excludes state
jurisdiction from Indian Country.

In addition to having the right to own and operate casinos, tribes have
benefited to some extent from all of this -- though not nearly as much as
some non-Indians think. And in many cases, the casino situation has led to
much intra-tribal factionalism. And some of the factionalism has been
extremely fierce. In addition, outside ripoff artists have occasionally
gotten into the act. I also know of instances where day care facilities have
been opened directly across from a casino -- and people, having dumped their
kids, then spend their entire days gambling as long as the money holds out.

But, again, a Native nation has the sovereign right -- and some of these
ills may simply be transitional growing pains. There is much jealousy and
hostility toward any Native successes on any front.

Several years ago, my youngest son, Peter, then State Editor of the Bismarck
Tribune, did a long series on Native casinos in that general multi-state
Western region. I hadn't realized how elaborate some of these creations had
become. We went together to the then new one on the Standing Rock Sioux Res
south of Bismarck. Its outside appearance was rather garish -- hardly in
keeping with the somber nature of that general setting. Inside, and it was
spectacular, we saw people, mostly Anglos, going from slot to slot --
vacant-eyed. We had buffalo burgers [quite good] and looked around a bit
more. Pete lost one dollar on a slot. Then we stepped to the front of the
place and, with loud rinky dink music continuing, Pete called my wife, Eldri
on our cell phone, and told her we were at the Standing Rock Casino and that
I had suddenly gone berserk and was gambling wildly.

"I can't stop him," he said. "I tried and he just pushed me away!"

Eldri panicked, then recovered. "But he doesn't have that much cash with
him," she said desperately. "He really can't go very far on that."

"True, Mom," said Pete. "But -- But he's got all the credit cards --
including the American Express one."

At that point, I decided we'd gone far enough. Eldri claimed later that, if
it hadn't been for the music, she wouldn't have been pulled into our yarn.

Traditional on Casinos --

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

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