Positives of Indian Gaming

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Indian reservation Pages: 5 (1828 words) Published: September 24, 2011
Indian gaming not only helps Native Americans, it also helps the United States. Native Americans have been oppressed for hundreds of years, and with Indian gaming they are starting to see prosperity. Indian gaming has helped Native Americans become more independent and helped rebuild their local communities. The United States benefits from Indian gaming because it has attributed millions of dollars of revenue to outside companies that deal with the casinos, supplied numerous jobs to non-Indians, and has acquired billions of tax dollars. Indian gaming helps everyone in the United States and should not be limited or stopped by its oppressors. Indian gaming has endured and fought many battles to become legal in the United States. The concept of Indian gaming began with low stakes bingo on reservation land. Throughout the 1970s, dozens of tribes were using bingo to help their community (Pevar 319). Many tribes encountered legal battles within the states they were hosting profitable bingo halls. Such was the case for the Oneida in 1975, located in New York, which held a bingo fund raiser for the local fire department (Cuillier 202). The state claimed the game was illegal because the prizes offered by the tribe were over the limit of New York law (Cuillier 202). The Oneida argued that their status as a sovereign nation kept them from such limitations. Another case spurred up in Florida, alongside the Oneida case and both were under Supreme Court review. The Seminole Nation had established their own high-stakes bingo game in retrospect to the Oneida’s claim of sovereignty and they were shut down by the Florida state (Cuillier 203). The Seminole sued under the same premise as the Oneida. They argued that as a sovereign nation they were not regulated by state law. In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled that the states cannot have power of this situation and reaffirmed the right of sovereignty (Cuillier 203). This decision made dozens of other tribes to establish their own high stakes gaming industries and more legal battles ensued. Such was the case in California, the Cabazon and the Morongo Bands of Mission Indians were holding “illegal” bingo halls. In California it was a misdemeanor to have bingo games that were over $250 and not for charity (Pevar 319). The tribes sued and a major victory came in 1987, when the Supreme Court once again reaffirmed that the individual states had no authority to regulate in the case of California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians (Pevar 319). This ruling gave the tribes economic self independence and provided an income for the tribes. For the states have some power over the Supreme Court ruling, they pressured Congress to pass the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (Pevar 319). It did allow tribes to gain new land and develop large casinos but it also limited the power of the tribes and allows the state to regulate certain parts of Indian gaming. Understanding the social contexts of what Native American Indians endure today is important to see how casinos really do help Native Americans. About 40% of our country’s 4.5 million Native Americans live on reservations (Rodgers). Poverty on Indian reservations is very high for a number of reasons such as geographical isolation and limited economic history. Indians have a strong relationship with their reservation land, because of this they choose to remain in their reservations, despite limited economic opportunities. This leads to many Native Americans bound to a life of poverty and economic hardships. The lack of economic opportunity is the reason that four out of ten Native Americans are unemployed (Rodgers). Many households are overcrowded and earn only social security, disability, or veteran's income. Living conditions on the reservations have been compared to third world living. The percentage of Native Americans living below the federal poverty line is 28.2% (Rodgers). The heads of the household are forced to leave the reservation to find...

Cited: Cuillier, David, and Susan Dente Ross. "Gambling with Identity: Self- Representation of American Indians on Official Tribal Websites." Howard Journal of Communications, 18.3 (2007): 197-219.
McCaslin, Wanda. Justice As Healing. St. Paul, Minnesota: Living Justice Press,
Pevar, Stephen L. The Rights of Indians and Tribes. New York and London: New
York University Press, 2004
Rodgers, Tom. “Native American Poverty.” www.spotlightonpoverty.org/ExclusiveCommentary. Spotlight on Poverty
and Opportunity, 2010
Schaap, James I. "The growth of the native American gaming industry: what has the past provided, and what does the future hold?" The American Indian Quarterly 34.3 (2010): 365+. General OneFile. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.
Association, 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.
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