Time - Indian Casino Article [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Time - Indian Casino Article

12-11-2002, 01:52 PM
See link below to this weeks Time Magazine cover story which focuses on the current issue of the benefits and negatives of indian casinos and who is really profiting.

After reading this and seeing the indian reservations in South Dakota this summer I can see why they continue to need to commercial net fish.

The reservation conditions I drove through with my boys in SD were appalling and then 30 miles down the road there is a casino stuck in the middle of Buffalo National Grass Lands park area. Could not have been contributing much to their incomes based upon what I saw they were living in (trailers, quonset hunts, etc)

It appalls me as an american the way the indians have been treated. it was an eye opener for my two teenage boys from the city for sure. No wonder they wanted to get back to Chicago ASAP.

PM Out


12-11-2002, 02:46 PM

Yes, there have been many abuses of the Indian Gaming Act, and most of them by non-Indian financiers or gaming developers. However, you must also keep in mind that the Olgala Souix live in a very rural area in within a staqte that has very little economic development. Gaming is never going to be the answer to their employment problems as a result. And there is no salmon or steelhead in South Dakota either. Yes, Indians have been trreated deplorably in the past by our federal and state governments. But something like gaming is never going to right the wrongs for all tribes simply because of geographic location.

You are correct about the abuses that have occured during the last 15 years, and having a tribe be composed of only 1 or 2 or 3 members should never have happened. The BIA should never have allowed it because a handful of people from one family does not a tribe make. Congress should rectify decisions like this, and they do have the power and authority to do so.

There are tribes in Western Washington along the I-5 corridor that are using gaming revenue to fund econominc diversification and social services and housing. Let's not put all tribes in the same basket as the ones that are located in poor areas that have had little or no economic development or diversification like those in South Dakota, or those that have been abusing the BIA rules (more accurately, using the federal courts case on Indian Trust monies that have been mishandled by the BIA as leverage to get what they want) such as the Ginsberg debacle that is mentioned in the link you provided as cannon fodder to end Indian self-sufficiency.

12-12-2002, 11:10 AM
Tribes of Gamblers

We were told that the glitzy gambling casinos springing up on Indian reservations across the land would lift poor Indians out of poverty. Certainly the slot machines and gaming tables produce plenty of money. The nearly 300 casinos pull in almost $13 billion a year in revenue, of which more than $5 billion is pure profit.

But where is that money going? In Time magazine's cover story this week, titled "Wheel of Misfortune: Look Who's Cashing In at Indian Casinos," Donald Barlett and James Steele a team twice awarded Pulitzer Prizes when at The Philadelphia Inquirer present the troubling answer.

A few tribes near big cities haul in as much as $900,000 per member. States with only 3 percent of the Indian population California, Florida and Connecticut take in 44 percent of the gambling revenue, while states with half our 1.8 million Indians account for less than 3 percent of the take. The poorest of our aboriginal Americans are getting poorer, while non-Indians get rich hiring lobbyists to get federal recognition of a tribal front for the sole purpose of buying land to build a casino.

Lim Goh Tong, for example, is the Malaysian contractor billionaire behind the Foxwoods spread in Connecticut. As a foreigner, he can legally avoid most U.S. taxes on his profit, likely to run about $40 million a year. The South African developer Sol Kerzner, "first of the Mohegans," worked a similar deal that was O.K.'d by a federal official now doing just fine as a lobbyist. And Minnesota's Lyle Berman, a tycoon reported to have taken down $18 million a year in salary and stock options in his leather business, has a hot casino deal going near Chicago. And those are only the most blatant examples of non-Indians cashing in.

I'm a free-enterprise freak who doesn't begrudge big profits to investors who take big risks, but this is no gamble; rather it is a financial-political scandal of stunning proportions. Under the cover of helping the 28 percent of Indians now mired in poverty, financial vultures and highly paid, revolving-door lobbyists are ripping off the U.S. taxpayer and promoting a noxious something-for-nothing slots philosophy not to mention degrading the countryside's moral and physical environment by gaming the American political system.

Who's to blame? The Department of the Interior, with its moribund Indian Affairs bureau, professes to have no authority to oversee the National Indian Gaming Commission, whose three members have just been appointed by Secretary Gale Norton to be sworn in today. The new chairman, Philip Hogen, a friendly member of South Dakota's Oglala Sioux, was a commissioner through the late 90's and will rock no boats.

He tells me he was "disappointed" with the critical tone of Time's story (another one coming next week) and notes that even the small, less profitable casinos far from big-city markets provide some jobs for Indians. What about the secrecy, fraud, corruption and intimidation rife in so many lucrative tribal casino operations? Hogen's agency has only 63 employees to inspect and audit the $13 billion take in the nearly 300 all-cash businesses. Despite many complaints, that toothless tiger has never uncovered a single case of corruption.

Here's why: The casino tribes lobbied for, and Congress supinely agreed to, a cap of $8 million that can be collected from casinos to finance the nation's Indian gaming commission. That should be tripled.

Will Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, next chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, ask why, as Representative Frank Wolf notes, 80 percent of the Indians in the U.S. have received not one nickel from skyrocketing gambling revenues? Will Representative Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, likely to head House Resources in January, pull that committee's head out of the sand? Will House Government Reform, under Tom Davis or Chris Cox, dare to hold hearings on a scandal rooted in the manipulation of Congress?

Hard-hitting reporting will help. Casino press agents will continue to trot out warm and cozy stories of hospitals and schools built and Indian lives rehabilitated by gambling money, each one true, but distorting the whole truth of a rapacious operation protected by politicians fearful of seeming unkind to Indians. The result has been attention to the few, neglect of the many, and the herding of a proud people into the demeaning culture of slots and croupiers.

12-12-2002, 11:05 PM

There is also another two tiers of regulatory agencies involved with Indian Gaming that these two articles leave out. The gaming tribe must establish a Tribal Gaming Regulatory Agency (usually known as a TGA-Tribal Gaming Agency) to oversee the gaming operation, do criminal background checks on all casino employess, issue tribal gaming licenses to all casino employees once the criminal background check is cleared (yes, they do this through the FBI and tha Nactional Crime Infomation Center), monitor all money counting and gaming activity for indications of cheating, fraud, theft, or embezzlement. and other criminal activity on the casino premises, including the parking lot.

Then there is a state Indian Gaming Commision in each state that has Indian Gaming that is too insure the Gaming Compact between the state and the indicidual gaming tribe is followed, and to make sure that there are not fraudulent practices happening, including making sure a gaming tribe is not being taken advantage of by one of the large gaming corporations or investors.

As you can see, it is not just the BIA's Indian GAmbling Regulatory Agency that has been remiss, the various states that have had the fraudulent things going on in are at even bigger fault. I suppose the state governers and revenue departments like the dollars they get from the Indian Gaming operations and the employment it provides to both Indian and non-Indian people more that the possibility of saying no, or providing true enforcement of the gaming compacts and Indian Gaming Act.

This still does not do anything for tribes in isolated, off-the-beaten-path rural areas. Gaming for those tribes will never work. And this means there will always be a perceived inequity. Just like the rest of us where some non-Indians are extremely wealthy (like Bill Gates), some are just wealthy (like a movie star or sports star), some live comfortable (income between $75,000.00 and $200,000.00), some live OK (income of $50,000.00 to $75,000.00) some get by and have a little left over (income between $35,000.00 and $50,000.00), some have enough to pay the bills (income between $22,000.00 and $35,000), some are working poor (income between $13,000.00 and 20,000.00), and some are just plain poor and live in poverty.

Keep in mind that economics in nondiscriminatory. If you live in an area with little employment, no infrastructure, a lack of transportation, you will probably be poor. The tribes are no different.

12-12-2002, 11:24 PM
some (many?) of these operation generate that there appears to be close to zero inclination to send some ($) to "their" well less off breathern. That's what the 'white man's' taxes are for? Not sour grapes, but given your description above, and some of the references to "tribes" of three or four people, ... my mind wants to wander into otherwise dark places.

You've provided some outstanding insights to areas most of us only wonder about .. good, bad or indifferent. Keep up the education!!


12-12-2002, 11:43 PM

The only place that I know of where there is a tribe of only a few people is in California. And the politicians in the Sacramento la la land lobbied to get that one surviving family recognized as a tribe by the feds.

Also, keep in mind that many of the tribes regularly fought with each other , killed each other, stole the good looking young women from other tribes, and put young men and women of other tribes in slavery at their tribe. Additionally, the Pacific Norhwset coast tribes were very different than the plains tribes or the souther Pacific coast tribes, etc. Most of them had no personal knowledge of the existence of tribes hundreds let alone thousands of miles distant.

And all of the various geographic areas of the U.S.'s tribes have very different cultures and customs as well. They we not unified in culture or customs or concerns, despite Hollywood's and the vast majority of U.S. History books best efforts to convince us otherwise.

12-18-2002, 09:06 AM

Just getting back to this thread. Thanks for the great insights sounds like you have studied this issue. Looks like another federal program that has not been managed properly and thus has resulted in non equitable results amongst the fragmented indian tribes. Isn't there a central indian civil rights organization similar to the NAACP from which they can focus their common issues and lobby in washington like many other special interest groups do?

Seeing how the Lakota and Olgala Sioux lived in SD on the reservations was upsetting to me.

PM Out

12-18-2002, 01:48 PM

Second part of article published in this weeks time.

PM Out


12-18-2002, 11:07 PM

Remember that the two Sioux tribes you mentioned had the Black Hills taken from them by a unilateral change in their treaties by the U.S. Congress after gold was found in the Black Hills. And neither tribe ever got dime in royalties, mineral fees, or payment for having the land taken from them. Additionally, the BIA took their horses away from them and refused to allow them to raise cattle and be in the cattle business after the treaties were signed. The government was afraid that they would use their horses to attack the calvary or non-Indian homesteaders on adjacent lands.

Also, each tribe has its own treaty and each treaty specifies different things. Add to this the fact that each tribe has its own culture and cultural values and you can see why there has not been a unified voice like the NAACP.

The BIA is a broken agency that has never worked since its inception in the mid 1800's. However, the tribes are very fearful of having it changed because of the way Congress has changed treaties in the past and taken land away form the tribes each time. The tribes feel that they are better off with the BIA and that they can live with the problems in the BIA easier than they can risk having the system changed.

01-17-2003, 03:11 PM
That whole situation makes me so sad I just can't even think about it. Some tribes are gettin rich while others are starving to death? That is rediculous. I just couldn't believe what I was reading. :confused:

01-17-2003, 04:05 PM
Better the "devil you know, than the devil you don't." FT, also think your NAACP example was also right on the mark.

01-17-2003, 07:00 PM
Glad some one raised this up again

Here is the link to the entire time series on indian casinos.


Read the time line section you can link to from the first page of this link.

I feel my blood pressure rising again reading through this, that picture of the South Dakota Lakota and Olgala - Pine Ridge Reservation areais where I was this summer with my two sons on the Black Hills trip.

Really appalling how those native americans are living. I drove past that casino on Pine Ridge, quickly, as I was lost coming out of the Badlands and looking for a darn gas station. 50-60 miles to a gas station out there !

Pine Ridge is where the Wounded Knee Massacre ocured in the late 1800s by the US Army calvalry. Read the history on that some time, you can find it on the net.

As far as I'm concerned indians can net their share of if that is the way our government chooses to treat them. Really was quite an eye opener for my teenage sons. They said dad get us the heck out of here.

PM Out

01-17-2003, 08:20 PM
And this is a suprise? Where ever there is big $$$'s involved big greed follows.

The Indians got screwed by the white man, but before we got here they were busy killing, raiding, preying on, and screwing each other around. Man is man no matter the color race or creed.

I have a theory about all this. Who developed all the technology in the then known world? Not the Indians, ask yourself why. But yet they had irrigation and developed corn and spuds into a crop.

They didn't even have the wheel until it was brought over here. Once again why? For the life of me I can't figure it out.

Just something to chew on, on a cold winter's night.

01-17-2003, 10:53 PM

Perhaps the reason they didn't have the wheel had to do with the fact that horses did not exist in either North or South America until the Spanish Conquiatadors brought them here. Without horses, there was no need for a wheel. And, the folks who came on the Mayflower would have died if it were not for the Indian tribe located in what is now Boston.


What is even more anger producing is the fact that the beautiful Black Hills were the reservation lands granted to what is now the Pine Ridge Sioux. Congress took the hills away from them when gold was discovered and then forced the Tribe to move to Pine Ridge. The Tribe was never compensated for the taking of the land, and what is even more aggrevating about it was that the land was given to the mining companies by the feds for a $10.00 patent filing fee with zero royalty or mining fees because the Mining Act of 1872 specified the patent fee, then said that the land became the property of the mining company or prospector. There were literally millions of dollars worth of gold and silver removed from the hills. None of it was ever given to the Sioux despite our constitution saying that property would not be taken without just compensation.

To add insult to injuy, the BIA then banned horse ownership by any of the Sioux. The Tribe could have been excellent ranchers and cattle producers; but the BIA felt it was too dangerous to let them have horses after the Black Hills REservation was taken from the Tribe. Instead, they decreed that the Pine Ridge Sioux would become farmers in an area that had insufficient rainfall and in a culture where women grew the crops and the men hunted and herded buffalo.

01-18-2003, 07:08 AM

Thats right. What a joke the US government thinking they could raise crops on that land just south of the Bad Lands. I hardly saw any crops being crown even with todays crop technologies.

Think of the billions of dollars the US govenment is giving away to foreigners yet we have native americans living in close to poverty levels.

I just don't understand some things some times, this is one of them.

Here we are what a 125 years since the indians were placed on reservations and not much has improved for the majority of them.

PM Out

01-18-2003, 09:27 AM

Perhaps the reason they didn't have the wheel had to do with the fact that horses did not exist in either North or South America until the Spanish Conquiatadors brought them here. Without horses, there was no need for a wheel. And, the folks who came on the Mayflower would have died if it were not for the Indian tribe located in what is now Boston.


your point above is interesting, add this to the mix.

They had the travoix(sp) way before we got here. they drug that thing around for centuries. Don't you think the wheel would have been easier for them. Especially the plains Indians.

Just a thought.

01-18-2003, 09:45 PM

Not really since they did not have roads, they only had trails and only the plains Indians really moved around. the west coast, east coast, and Alaskan Indians established villages with log structures known as long houses and stayed put. The plains Indians did not move around nearly as much as people think. They typically stayed in one area for 10 to 15 years, then they would move maybe 15 or 20 miles and stay there another 10 to 15 years. The plains Indian economy was based on the buffalo so they stayed were the buffalo were plentiful and with nearby cliffs to be able to drive some buffalo off the cliff to their death.

Since they stayed in one place for long periods of time, they did not have need of roads and trails were more than sufficient. Also, the plains have many surface irregularities (small ravines known as gulches) that would have required bridges to be built over them to use a wheel because they are steep sided and fairly deep. Since timber was and still is a very scarce commodity in the Great Plains (there is some cottonwood and box elder trees, but they are not very strong and are rather brittle too), it is not surprising that the wheel was not in use by the Indians. The simple trevois was a far more practical and suitable impliment for traversing these gulches than a wheel.

01-18-2003, 11:17 PM
We have to remember that these were "stone age" people which had to face "modern technology", but rather advanced and adaptable. They had their own languages and cultures, and developed travel that was easiest for them to match the country (canoes, snowshoes, etc.) The flatbow was a major - and very distinct and different - development from the old world "roundbows". Many tribes did have agriculture, and it is interesting to note that many of the staple foods that we eat today were developed by these people, and did not exist in the old world (tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, etc.)
It is too bad that our communicable diseases wiped out many of the major tribes, particularly the "mound builders" along the Mississippi River. Had enough survived, I am sure that we could have learned much from them.
I served with American Indians in the Marines, and the guys I served with were great.