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Gaming has'nt ended poverty

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  • Gaming has'nt ended poverty

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    Gaming Hasn't Ended Poverty

    By Amaris Elliott-Engel / The Citizen

    Gaming facilities have been touted as a socioeconomic panacea to take Indian
    tribes from poverty to wealth overnight, but that's not been true for every

    While New York state has proposed five Indian-run casinos in the Catskills
    and has a handful of Indian-run gaming facilities already, many Indian-owned
    gaming enterprises are small and in remote locations, and the slim profits aren't
    enough to dramatically help tribes. Nineteen percent of the membership of
    tribes with gaming licenses live in deep poverty, only slightly better than the
    25 percent of tribe members without gaming facilities in deep poverty,
    according to a Harvard University analysis.

    Of the 567 tribal groups in the lower 48 states, 65 percent have some form of
    gaming enterprise. But even with the number of Indians living in deep poverty
    down from 1990 to 2000 following the widespread rise of Indian gaming, gaming
    facilities have not been the complete answer.

    "Even with Indian gaming, we're having a tough time climbing out of abject
    poverty. What we would see without Indian gaming would be even more unemployment
    and lack of capital investment on Indian reservations," said Mark Van Norman,
    the executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, a nonprofit
    with 168 tribal members.

    The group's slogan is "Rebuilding communities through Indian self-reliance."

    The Congressionally mandated National Gambling Impact Study Commission
    reported in 1999 that Indian reservations have the highest indicators in the country
    of "social distress" like alcoholism, school dropouts and unemployment. The
    commission also reported the addition of gaming has generated income, but that
    much of it goes to non-Indian casino partners or non-Indian casino workers.

    Indian gaming enterprises that make the dreamed-of billions are tribes that
    have built casino resort destinations near large population centers.

    Connecticut's Mohegan Sun, run by Mohegan tribe, and Foxwoods Casino, run by
    Mashantucket Pequot tribe, make $2.8 billion per year collectively. Profits
    from the Seminoles' Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida make up most of the
    tribe's $300 million annual budget, which allows them to pay each of their 3,000
    tribal members $42,000 annually, according to the Associated Press. Under
    federal law, such tribal payments have to be approved by the Secretary of the
    Interior and are subject to federal income tax.

    The Oneida Indian Nation - which operates the Turning Stone Casino in Verona-
    opts to invest in social programs for the tribe instead of lump-sum payments.

    "They didn't want to create a welfare state. They saw the problems other
    tribes had. They felt it was better to help people with programs and with
    education," said Mark Emery, a spokesperson for the Oneida Nation.

    Gaming proceeds from the Turning Stone casino and resort funds education and
    health insurance for the 1,000 Oneida tribal members. In addition, $50,000 is
    offered toward the construction or the purchase of a home on tribal lands, and
    free legal aid is available, as is an Oneida language revitalization program.

    "They're not doing direct disbursements of state gaming money," Emery said.

    Amy Barton, a St. Regis Mohawk who will testify in next week's state Senate
    hearing on the proposed land claim-casino legislation, counters her tribes'
    casino in the Adirondacks has not turned a profit yet and New York Indian-run
    casinos like Turning Stone, which do not directly disburse profits to their
    members, have not improved their economic situations.

    "The Nation is not getting the profits, so the Nation is suffering," Barton

    The Oneidas do receive an annual payment of less than $10,000 per year from
    retail business profits, Emery said. The retail businesses include 12 gas and
    convenience stores, three marinas, one newspaper, an air charter service,
    campground and an RV park, Emery said.

    If Gov. George Pataki's settlement with five tribes is approved, the Cayuga
    Nation plans to invest some of its potential gaming profits into social
    programs as well.

    Gary Wheeler, a member of the Cayuga Nation's Council of Chiefs, said profits
    would be invested in health insurance for the 450-member tribe, who mostly
    live in western New York. While the federal government provides health care
    through the Indian health services, many Cayugas do not live near designated
    federal facilities.

    "Since we're such a scattered type of nation, we really need to have some
    type of private health insurance," Wheeler said.

    "We're also foreseeing benefits from it as far as jobs go and with more
    stable home lives and having a future for (our) children," Wheeler said.

    Wheeler said the Cayugas haven't discussed division of gaming profits; the
    tribe is still paying back loans they took out to build the Class II facilities
    in Seneca Falls and Union Springs.

    Indian gaming enterprises sprouted from the federal policy of
    "self-determination" developed in 1970s and affirmed in a 1988 Supreme Court case, when the
    court ruled in favor of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians that if the state
    of California allowed forms of gambling, it could not prohibit Indian tribes
    from engaging in the same forms of gambling.

    Under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, revenues from Indian-run gaming
    can only be used to provide for the welfare of the tribe, tribal government
    programs and operations, donations to charitable organizations, operations of
    local, non-tribal government agencies, and economic development.

    Van Norman said investments in infrastructure and health care are still
    needed for Indians. The tribes have been relocated to marginal reservation lands,
    according to Van Norman, and the federal government does not provide road and
    highway services on reservations.

    "Indian gaming has been a way for tribes to make their economies go through
    their own initiative," Van Norman said.

    Staff writer Amaris Elliott-Engel can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 282 or at
    [email protected]
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    All I know is that my tribe the Crow Creek Dakota Sioux of Fort Thompson is $30,000,000 in debt all because of a white tribal chairman named Duane Big Eagle an adopted white man.


    • #3
      Casinos are still cool..
      Nuwa-nu!!..Look at the Yummy Yaha's!!mmmm..mmm Real injun food!!
      Agai-Dika from the great state of potatoes (Lemhi Shoshone-Bannock). So Don't panic, I'm Bannock. P.S. heres my quote: uncle Gary Abrahamson "Don't sweat the petty things, Pet the sweat things!"
      :character:merrychri:eyelashes:eyelashes:eyelashes :eyelashes:
      eyelashes:eyelashes:eyelashes:eyelashes:eyelashes: eyelashes:


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