Leland McGee: Greed and corruption come with per capitas

Leland McGee discusses per capita payments and their effect on tribal sovereignty:
Indian country’s pecuniary advancements created by Indian gaming are well documented. Many tribes have taken full advantage of expanding and diversifying business ventures that now represent a sustainable economic base far greater than their initial casino enterprise. Such planning and financial discipline is commendable. Strong tribal leadership and the willingness to do what is in the best interest of the citizenry of those governments is usually the common thread of success for those tribes. Many times, however, decisions made by tribal councils to obtain such successful economic diversity come at a political price: risking their leadership positions by standing up to their constituents and saying no to either initiating per capita payments, or increasing them beyond sensible levels.

Unfortunately, many tribes today have lost that astute fiscal resolve. In its stead, per capita has become something so adverse amongst so many of our people that it now serves to hinder, disrupt and in some instances, even dismantle tribal governments. Disenrollment, political turmoil, government breakdowns, corruption, financial dependency and absolute greed has become the new “norm” for too many gaming tribes. I’ve witnessed more times than I care to admit, general councils literally holding tribal councils political hostage over per capita distributions. Chants of: “either pay us more per capita, or we’ll vote you out and replace you with someone who will” has become commonplace within many tribal communities. Sound familiar?

Get the Story:
Leland McGee: Greed, Corruption, Dependency: The New Definition of Per Capita? (Indian Country Today 6/27)

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