Tribal Leaders: Republican Dino Rossi not one of us
"When Republican Dino Rossi, accuses Washington state Indians of “laundering” money with Gov. Christine Gregoire, he engages in the ugliest form of attack politics. Mr. Rossi, who says he is a proud member of the Tlingit Tribe from southeast Alaska, apparently believes he can scapegoat Indians out of one side of his mouth and claim to hold traditional Native values out of the other.

What are these Native values Mr. Rossi claims to hold as a result of his Tlingit heritage? Not truthfulness, apparently. Mr. Rossi’s denigrating comments about the government-to-government tribal gaming compact negotiation process have been soundly refuted by his fellow Republican, our state’s attorney general, Rob McKenna.

Mr. Rossi’s mistruths about Indian people are deeply troubling, but not surprising. It’s a tired trick, an old standby known to back-room political operatives: identify a common enemy – like tribes, with small voting populations – and blame them for your problems. These are not the acts of a man who champions Native values.

Mr. Rossi’s attacks on Native people are particularly painful because he claims to be one of us – a distant relative from a sister tribe. But his assault on the integrity of Washington tribes reveals the real candidate behind the advertisements. We’ve seen two Dino Rossis in this campaign: one who claims Native heritage and tribal values; another who uses attacks on Native people to further his political agenda.

What, then, are these Native values Mr. Rossi purports to hold dear? He has stated publicly that his Tlingit ancestry has instilled in him a resiliency for tough times. But even this appeal for tribal members’ votes smacks of political opportunism, especially when he says he’d do away with Indian gaming – and along with it, the 25,000 jobs we’ve created, the local community contributions we’re making, and the local and state taxes our businesses are generating."

Get the Story:
Lummi Chairman Henry Cagey and Jamestown S’Klallam Chairman Ron Allen: Rossi tactics ‘dishonorable’ (Indian Country Today 10/24)

Spokane Tribe slams GOP gaming ads as racist (10/10)
Colville Chair: Ads unfair to Washington tribes (10/9)
Editorial: Attack on Washington compacts absurd (9/15)
Editorial: Tribes the latest scapegoat in Washington (9/9)
Washington governor slams anti-gaming ad as racist (8/7)