S.E. Ruckman: Tis the season for per capita checks
"In the old days, tribes had a different way of regarding time according to the different moons. It’s a long running joke in Indian Country that we do things on I.T. or Indian Time. To the novice, it means things happen whenever it does. A.m. or p.m is just a kind of a general guideline.

Time management is a European concept. It amazes me how Anglos managed to slice time up to the nano-second. But Indians have learned over the decades how to live within these constraints. Still old habits die hard. As in bygone days, we generally associate fall with football, spring with green onion dinners and summer is pow-wow season.

Yet for me, this time of year has become synonymous with the mailing and receiving of annuity checks in various tribes. I know to the dime how much is received by members of some tribes. I am privvy to this knowledge because friends and family get a check.

But I will be discreet. My maternal grandmother was fond of saying, “It’s just money.” I offer up that credo. The exact amount is not as important as what the annuity checks represent.

In the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (IGRA), tribes were granted by Congress guidelines by which commercial gaming can operate. I propose that the legislators did not truly discern how industrious tribes would be when this law passed. What started as a means to earn money to subsidize federal allocations has outpaced those monies in some jurisdictions.

The statute specifies gaming profits can be used for the general welfare of the tribe, economic development, charity and my perennial favorite: Revenue Allocation Plan (RAP)."

Get the Story:
S.E. Ruckman: Tis the season for those per cap checks (The Native American Times 12/1)

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