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Opinion
Tim Giago: Tribes trade sovereignty for dollars


"Has the dollar signs in the eyes of the tribal leaders so blinded them to the injustice and illegality of extortion that they are ready to surrender what little sovereignty they have left in order to keep the dollars coming in? Apparently so.

The door to extortion was opened by the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and by a weak federal response to the state governments when they began to demand revenue sharing by the Indian nations they had virtually ignored for the past 200 years.

Federal law that governs Indian gaming says that revenue sharing with the state is allowed to compensate the state for the adverse impact of high-stakes gambling with the stipulation that the tribes maintain a measure of exclusivity. Well, that exclusivity went out of the window with the 'Racinos' in New Mexico.

And finally, although the people of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are the poorest people in the United States, the tribe is investing $20 million borrowed dollars to build a new casino and hotel. In my mind, because the Pine Ridge Reservation is much too isolated to draw huge gaming crowds that $20 million investment will never pay off. Not only are they competing against the small casinos in every South Dakota community, they are also up against the many Las Vegas type casinos roaring along in Deadwood."

Get the Story:
Losing sovereignty one dollar at a time (The Native American Times 7/25)

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