Indian Casinos: Right or Wrong?

There are many Indian casinos across America, and along with the casinos come many arguments and opinions. Are Indian casinos doing what they are meant to do? Aren’t they supposed to help Indians come out

of poverty? Indian casinos are meant to help Indians earn money and get back what was taken from them years ago. Many Indians have benefited greatly from Indian casinos while some can barely make ends meet. The opportunity to operate an Indian casino should be regulated and used correctly, not banned because of misuse. In dispute over what is right, Time magazine and the Native American Times produced articles trying to justify the situation, which propose different views on the gaming issue.

In opposition of Indian casinos an article was posted in Time magazine on December 16, 2007. This article was written by Donald L. Barlett and James B Steele. The piece noted a member of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians who had died. Her
daughter, Maryanne Martin, found information of her ancestry when she was 22 years old. The Bureau of Indian affairs (BIA) opened many doors for Maryanne when they recognized her as the last Indian of the tribe. They gave her the opportunity to open and run an Indian casino. Martin eventually negotiated a deal with a Las Vegas company to develop and manage a casino on an abandoned reservation. She opened Martin’s Augustine Casino in 2001. This casino has made one Indian and many non-Indian investors rich! Although this is the case with Martin’s Casino, it is not the case with many Indian Casinos. Stated on pg.85 of Now and Then “ The examples of bad gaming are certainly compelling, but are not representative of what Indian gaming has done for many of the poorest tribes in America.”

The day after Time magazine posted their article about Maryanne, the Native American Times posted a reply. On pg. 79 they state “Indian people are no longer going to… stop making profits just because a multi-million dollar media giant is envious of tribal wealth.

Although their article stands to reason, in this case what the program is intended for was not accomplished. The BIA should do more to regulate how the casinos are ran and how the profits help who they are supposed to help.

The publication written in Time magazine shows a great point. They quote “ It wasn‘t supposed to be this way. At the end of the 1980‘s a frenzy of cost cutting and privatization… gaming on reservations was a cheap way to wean tribes from government handouts, encourage economic development, and promote tribal self-sufficiency.”

This situation proves that something needs to be done to keep people from abusing the system meant to help. As argued by the Native American Times, many years ago numerous tribes were nearly wiped out and still today suffer from racism more than any other ethnic group. These tribes deserve retribution for what they suffered, though it needs to be done in a way that won’t be misused. Bartlett and Steele show the worst offences while many Indian tribes have benefited from the opportunities to enhance their lives through this business. Those tribes should not be banned from it because of its misuse by others.

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