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Mark Trahant: Abramoff turning into blame the Indians

"A century ago, the show was called Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World. The 21st century theater of the absurd is just called "Congress." But some elements of the plot are the same -- a twisted narrative about America's native peoples and Washington corruption. Jack Abramoff plays an economic version of Gen. George Armstrong Custer, an obscene caricature that abuses national policy. He's the corrupt agent stealing Indian lands all over again (this time in the guise of lobbying Congress).

Newspapers fall into the old story line, too, reducing a complicated plot into a simple yarn, making it easy for readers to conclude that American Indians and their governments are to blame for the whole mess.

It's like Buffalo Bill Cody's show because so much of the real history is replaced by basic misunderstandings about tribal communities -- and especially confusion about Indian gaming.

Columnist Star Parker says, "The Indian gambling industry is another grotesque product of ill-conceived social engineering. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed by Congress in 1988 was supposedly going to generate new economic opportunities for American Indians by staking out a piece of regulatory- and tax-protected turf for casinos operated by tribes."

Rich Lowry of the National Review writes that this scandal is an example of how the "Indian casino business is flagrantly detached from its original justification of letting supposedly sovereign nations govern themselves on their own land.""

Get the Story:
Mark Trahant: Today's Custer wears a different hat (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 1/22)

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