Elaine Fink: Infighting on gaming undermines tribal sovereignty

Elaine Fink, the chairwoman of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, discusses Indian opposition to her tribe's off-reservation casino:
The North Fork Rancheria supports all tribes in their endeavors to restore and rebuild tribal legitimacy, cultures, resources, and lands. Through the years we have supported many tribes acquiring new land for gaming -- including some who now oppose us.

The destructive pattern of Tribe vs. Tribe, Indians fighting Indians must stop before it undermines all tribes, tribal citizens, tribal gaming, and tribal-sovereignty.

By fighting one another, we risk losing our Native ways and dignity -- our understanding and practice of true indigenous values, cultures, and principles. If we are not careful, we risk losing the one opportunity that has promised and delivered so much to Indian Country.

Native American tribal leaders today stand at an important crossroads: They can choose the path of tribal infighting and “divide and conquer” tactics that have historically devastated Indian Country. Or they can call upon the traditional values of Native people – respect, caring, and sharing – to ensure that the newfound gains from tribal gaming are enhanced and protected for generations of Native peoples.

Get the Story:
Elaine Fink: An Open Letter to Tribal Leaders: Tribes Fighting Tribes Hurts All Indians (Indian Country Today 3/20

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