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Opinion
Tim Giago: Wealthy tribes don't need federal funds


"When the gaming compacts between California and the Indian tribes were signed one of the stipulations was that the wealthiest of tribes would contribute to the welfare of the poorer tribes. It seems to have worked out real well there.

And yet, in other parts of America there are Indian tribes that have become filthy rich and spend millions to bring boxing matches and other forms of entertainment to their casinos while the people of many Indian nations go to bed hungry every night. There are wealthy tribes that spend millions to build resorts with the most modern golf courses while on other Indian reservations as many as 15 to 20 people share a two-bedroom house, a house oftentimes without heat, water, electricity or telephones.

Out of a sense of fair play and common decency the ball should be in the court of those wealthy tribes who are willing to step forward and forcefully request the BIA, HUD, I.H.S., Justice and the USDA, to please redistribute their allocations to the tribes that are really needy. If they are unwilling to share their wealth at least the can share the money they do not need, money they receive simply because they are an Indian tribe.

If an Indian nation can pay for its own schools, hospitals, roads, judiciary, law enforcement and housing, why should they continue to be subsidized by the federal government? It is a hard question to answer and it is a question that will surely raise the hackles of many tribal leaders, but it is a question that cries out for an answer."

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: Disparities In Indian Country (Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services 3/31)

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