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Column: Pawlenty dividing and conquering Indians

"Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the state's Big Dealer, has shuffled all sorts of political alliances with his desire to expand gambling in Minnesota.

He's got Indians embracing him. Social conservatives questioning him. The antitax Minnesota Taxpayers League suggesting that higher taxes --yes, a tax increase! -- would be better than more gambling.

Start with the embrace of Indians. Despite huge campaigns being conducted by metro-area tribes that imply Pawlenty's desire to expand gambling is anti-Indian, the reality is the governor is being cheered by leaders representing the vast majority of Indians in the state.

In a politically shrewd move, Pawlenty has put forward a plan in which the state's three large northern Chippewa bands -- White Earth, Red Lake and Leech Lake -- would be partners with the state in a metro-area casino. This scheme plays straight to a sore spot that long has separated the 'have tribes' of the metro region with the 'have-nots' of outstate Minnesota."

Get the Story:
Doug Grow: The Big Dealer plays divide and conquer (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 3/22)