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Opinion
Tim Giago: Gaming brings new wealth, new problems


"A totally different mindset happened when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 exploded on the scene. The new and latest �mindset� traveled down a two-way street. It not only impacted the way non-Indians looked at the Indian people, it also impacted the way Indian people looked at themselves.

Many Native Americans saw jobs and opportunity on their home reservations where none had existed before and in bunches they left the cities and returned to their home reservations. In states such as South Dakota, for example, while most rural counties are experiencing annual losses in population the Indian reservations are gaining in population.

The IGRA saw some Indian nations become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams and others reach a level of financial comfort they had never known. Other reservation casinos provided jobs and a little financial benefit but not much more.

With the new wealth came power and in some cases along with that power came corruption. Fear of losing a foothold on this sudden wealth caused some tribal political leaders to assume near dictatorial rule over their tribal members. Controlling the purse strings meant controlling the tribe. Tribal leaders like Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation of New York became near-potentates surrounded by and protected by a wall of lawyers and accountants."

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: There is a new mindset in Indian Country (The Native American Times 6/12)

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