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Oh, I dunno.  I get a big laugh when going past a casino filled with cars with Texas license plates sporting various GOP, Evangelical, and Conservative bumper stickers while their owners are inside pissing their money away.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 12:01:04 AM EST
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While many tribal elders still believe casinos will hurt the preservation of native culture, many argue that native culture was being decimated anyway.  At least now there are native controlled hospitals and clinics, language immersion schools for the youth, and all manner of cultural preservation techniques.  Filmed interviews with elders, digital storytelling, and most importantly, the preservation (and rebirth) of native languages are some of the many side effects of casino profits.

Indian women are no longer systematically sterilized when they control their own clinics.  I've been to households where the kids can keep secrets from their parents, 'cause the kids can speak the language better.  The growth of native filmmaking, particularly digital, is a huge new feature of reservation life.  On the whole, casinos (despite some abuse as in every culture or business) have turned around reservation life.

Plus everyone gets a cool pickup truck.  (OK, i'm not minimizing the intense problems that still exist on many reservations... unemployment, suicide, alcohol.  But they're gradually diminishing.)  Health care alone  is a huge win.

I've heard a thousand jokes about how the tribes have found a way to stick the needle in the vein of the culture which tried to eliminate them.  

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 10:49:07 AM EST
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I think the increase in income to people is a good thing generally, but I don't think this is an appropriate vehicle for it.  At least in my area, the tribe has put in a big casino, but the Indian Health budget has not increased, and we still don't have anywhere near appropriat programs for the at-risk youth I work with every day.  It seems to also have caused much animosity and concern about who is "indian" enough to get in on the largesse.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 05:30:57 PM EST
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