Posts Tagged ‘Indian gaming’

newyorker

I cringed when I saw this was one of the suggested captions for the weekly New Yorker cartoon contest. Then it won.

Gawker’s Adrian Chen had a field day with it:

    Look, we’re all post-racial liberal elites here who love us some New Yorker cartoons. But we can’t help but think this week’s winner of the cartoon caption contest is a bit offensive. …

    Here are a few other hilarious captions we imagine must have almost made the cut:

    * Uh oh, Gov. Paterson is trying to tax their cigarettes again!
    * Quick, have the federal government wage a decades-long campaign of genocide and displacement against them!
    * Dang redskins tryin’ to steal my Blackberry!

Gwen Florio

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New York tribes to rally tomorrow in protest of Bloomberg’s “cowboy” remark

It’s a shame it takes a subscription to read all of this Newsday story, but the two-paragraph tease is pretty clear: “Native American outrage over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s broadcast advice to Gov. David A. Paterson to ‘get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun’ [read full remarks in the New York Post] to collect Indian cigarette taxes will extend into next week with a rally at City Hall. Harry Wallace, chief of the Unkechaug Indian Nation of Mastic, a frequent target of the mayor, said Friday he was organizing the rally Monday.” Rest assured, we’ll keep you posted. The tax is supposed to go into effect Sept. 1.

Group seeks justice for missing, murdered aboriginal women
Cherry Smiley of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network in Vancouver deals daily with the worst society dishes out to women – abuse, sexual exploitation, violence. And she has a pertinent question, especially on the issue of young girls finding themselves in these situations: “Why is society not horrified by what is happening here? This is not child labor, it’s child rape, yet the authorities have done little to deal with the pimps and perpetrators.” Valerie Talliman writes about it in Indian Country Today.

Assembly of First Nations seeks probe into police handling of serial killer case
And speaking of missing and murdered women – The Assembly of First Nations has joined other groups seeking a public probe into the way police in Vancouver, British Columbia, handled the caes of serial killer Robert Pickton. Many of Pickton’s victims were First Nations women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, said National Chief Shawn Atleo, who is a hereditary chief from Ahousaht. “A full and comprehensive public inquiry, with the participation of aboriginal people, is the only way to address the need for respect, justice and a better understanding of how we can prevent these tragedies in the future,” Atleo tells the Montreal Gazette here.

Las Vegas union makes contentious move to organize Navajo casino staff
Accusations and counter-accusations are flying as Culinary Workers Union Local 226, based in Las Vegas, attempts to unionize staff at the Fire Rock Navajo Casino. The union says casino management has been intimidating workers and trying to discourage them from signing up; management says it’s following the letter of the law. Bill Donovan, special to the Navajo Times, lays it all out.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to visit Inuit territories this week

Prime Minister Stephen Harper starts a five-day swing through all three northern territories starting tomorrow. The trip will kick off with a visit to Churchill, Man. Aug. 23. Harper will stop in Cambridge Bay Aug. 24, and then to to Resolute Bay on Aug. 25, the Nunatsiaq News reports here.

Gwen Florio

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James Wooden Legs, left, and Loretha (Rising Sun) Ginsell demonstrate the sign for car in Plains Indian sign language at North Park in Medicine Lake on Aug. 7. Grinsell, who is deaf, grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation using Plains Indian sign language to communicate with her foster grandmother. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

James Wooden Legs, left, and Loretha (Rising Sun) Ginsell demonstrate the sign for car in Plains Indian sign language at North Park in Medicine Lake on Aug. 7. Grinsell, who is deaf, grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation using Plains Indian sign language to communicate with her foster grandmother. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Indian sign language in danger of being lost
Loretha (Rising Sun) Grinsell is deaf, but from the time she was a toddler was easily able to communicate with her hearing family. That’s because Grinsell, who is Northern Cheyenne, had a foster grandmother fluent in “hand talk,” also known as the sign language with which Plains Indians communicated for centuries. Both Grinsell and her cousin, James Wooden Legs, who is also deaf, used it before they went to school and learned the more commonly taught American Sign Language, Donna Healy of the Billings Gazette writes. Plains Indian sign language is now recognized as endangered, much like many spoken tribal languages, Healy writes.

Smithsonian returns sacred artifacts to Yurok Tribe
For more than 100 years, the Smithsonian Institution has stored 217 sacred items belonging to the Yurok Tribe, whose members live along the Klamath River in what is now California. The return of the necklaces, headdresses, arrows, hides and other regalia is believed to be one of the largest repatriations of Native American ceremonial artifacts in U.S. history,the San Francisco Chronicle reports here. “It’s awesome. It’s a big thing with our people,” tribal chairman Thomas O’Rourke tells the Chron.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation gets pilot prosecuting program
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Peterman, who helped Russia develop a better criminal justice system, is trying to do the same thing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. When Peterman went to Russia as part of the Department of Justice’s Overseas Professional Development Assistance and Training program, Mary Garrigan of the Rapid City Journal writes here, he thought the same sort of program should be applied to tribal court systems. Now he’s leading the new Community Prosecution Strategy pilot program on Pine Ridge, Garrigan writes.


Program puts Native American teachers in Indian reservation schools

Sixteen students among the more than 1,000 University of Oregon students will use their master’s degrees to teach in Native American communities. The 16 Native students, graduates of the Sapsik’wala Project, are required to teach at least a year in Native schools, according to this KEZI story (click on link for video). The story says Native Americans comprise just .4 percent of all teachers.


Navajo Nation eyes major new casino

Navajo gaming officials say they’ll likely break ground his fall on a major casino, which could lead to the creation of 400 jobs, to be built in the Upper Fruitland Chapter in northwest New Mexico. The tribe hopes the project leads to the creation of 400 jobs. The Navajo Nation, which faces 56 percent unemployment, got into gaming decades after tribal gaming became legal, and is now making it a high priority, according to this AP report in the Arizona Daily Star in Flagstaff. The tribe has two smaller gaming projects already under way, in the Hogback chapter in New Mexico and in Chinle, Ariz.

Gwen Florio

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The fact of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ granting – after three decades – of federal status to the 1,300 members of the Shinnecock Nation was quickly overshadowed by speculation about the tribe’s casino intentions. Here‘s how Danny Hakim of the New York Times puts it:

    shinnecockWith federal recognition, the tribe can build a casino on its 800-acre reservation in Southampton, N.Y., but the tribe, the state and local officials would prefer to find another location, in New York City or its suburbs, for the casino. That would mean plunging into a thicket of complex federal law, court rulings and political considerations.

    Still, there are powerful motivations to help the tribe locate its casino anywhere but the Hamptons, where traffic is already choked by tourists in the summer. The state has been negotiating with the tribe in anticipation of the recognition.

The recognition becomes official after 30 days for public comment. The new status will let the tribe build a Class II casino with slots on its own land, but it would rather build a Class III casino with both slots and table games, elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Jed Morey of the Long Island Press takes New York state Sen. Craig Johnson to task, here, for his report recommending that the state revoke recognition of the should revoke its recognition of the Unkechaug Tribe. Except that Johnson called the tribe Poospatuck.

Morehy writes:

    First of all, the tribe is Unkechaug. The reservation is Poospatuck. Second, not only is there no legal precedent for this ridiculous recommendation, there have been numerous opinions written by New York State itself declaring this idea (not the first attempt at this) unconstitutional.

    This recommendation can only be classified in the following categories:

    A) Stupid
    B) Ignorant
    C) Racist
    D) All of the above

Just for the record, Morey says the correct answer is “D.”

Gwen Florio

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The Burns Pauite Tribe is looking to Ontario, Ore., two and a half hours from its reservation, to build a big “destination resort” casino.

Ontario Mayor Joe Dominick tells Boise’s KIVI TV, here, that the city has to “think what’s best for the city and creating jobs in a weak economy would be a benefit.”

Although some local residents like the idea – “I think anything we can bring in to help our economy right now is a good idea,” Amy Ross tells the station – Dominick says he remains wary.

“The city of Ontario has over 600 hotel rooms available and they’re never full. If a new hotel comes along, what does that mean for our local businesses?” he wonders.

Bringing the plan to fruition would require a land swap, something that must be approved by the federal government.

Gwen Florio

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The Crow Tribe's aging Little Big Horn casino. (David Grubbs/Billings Gazette)

The Crow Tribe's aging Little Big Horn casino. (David Grubbs/Billings Gazette)

The Crow Tribe looks a little closer to getting the loan it needs to build a new Little Big Horn Casino.

Yesterday the Crow Legislature approved the resolution needed to obtain a $3 million loan from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe of Minnesota – meaning approval could come as early as next week.

Yesterday was the tribe’s deadline to get funding lined up and approved to build the new casino. Otherwise, the old one would close. As Susan Olp of the Billings Gazette reports here, that deadline was imposed by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Gwen Florio

PS – With this post, Buffalo Post goes off the airwaves, as it were, for most of the holiday weekend. Have fun and stay safe.

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Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)

Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)


Quilting project honors Native children who died in boarding schools
Jamestown, N.D., resident Ellen Pfeiffer first learned about Indian boarding schools from her former husband, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe whose grandmother was taken from her family and sent to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. She found the story heartbreaking, and began to study the era. Barbara Landis, Carlisle Indian School biographer, reports that nearly 10,000 Indian children went to Carlisle in its 40-year-history. Of those, nearly 200 children died, most of them of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Pfeiffer believes the schools, whose purpose was to assimilate Indian children, did a disservice to Native Americans. Now she’s making quilts to honor the children who died so far from their families. The project involves 186 quilts, according to this Jamestown Sun story distributed by the Associated Press.

Connecticut tribes blast state’s plan to add keno games
Connecticut is looking at adding keno games to help close a $1.3 billion budget shortfall. But tribal casinos – which already offer it – are crying foul, saying it could cut into their profits, Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing writes here. Jackson King, general counsel for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, says that if the state launches keno, the tribes could stop making payments to the state based on their own earnings, because of a violation of the compact.

Navajo Nation plans five casinos within two years
Despite a drop in gaming revenues around the country, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise says it has secured the funding for five news casinos, and plans to build them within the next two years, according to the Navajo Times. Investment Committee members say gaming looks like more secure route than the stock market these days.

Seneca Nation stops effort to ban mail-order smokes in New York
The New York Times has this story on how the Seneca Nation turned around a bill designed to halt the shipment of mail-order cigarettes. The bill was approved by the New York House of Representatives and a Senate committee, before the Seneca Nation, which sees more than $1 billion annually in gambling and cigarette revenues, launched a full-scale lobbying effort to stop it.

Nunavut to substantially cut polar bear harvest quota; hunters object
Over the next four years, the annual hunting quota for Baffin Bay polar bears will gradually be reduced from 105 to 65, according to the Nunatsiaq News. Biologists are worried the bears are being overhunted, and Greenland has already reduced its quotas. But some hunters are demanding compensation for their communities.

Salish Kootenai College honors lifelong Salish language teacher Sophie Mays

Last month, family and friends on the Flathead Indian Reservation gathered at Salish Kootenai College to dedicate Sophie’s Room. It honors Sophie “Supi” Quequesah Mays died last year at the age of 56, the Char-Koosta News reports. Mays, who grew up with parents who spoke only Salish, dedicated her life to preserving the Salish language. She was the first Salish teacher when the college was founded.

Gwen Florio

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Video slot machines at a tribal casino in California. (AP photo)

Video slot machines at a tribal casino in California. (AP photo)

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It’s about time the federal government recognized the Shinnecock Tribe – actually, it’s about 200 years late, says the New York Times in this editorial.

But having dispensed with congratulations, the Times turns immediately to the matter of a casino being sought by the tribe, whose members mostly live on a small reservation on Long Island that is an enclave of very modest means surrounded by astounding wealth.

While the real estate is undoubtedly valuable, it’s ill-suited for a casino – hence, the tribe’s efforts to obtain permission for an off-reservation casino, possibly at a New York City racetrack or in the Catskills.

The Times does not like that, not one bit:

    Casinos are also a magnet for tainted money and a handmaiden to addiction, crime and other social ills. That is why we would urge the tribe to spend its energy on finding other ways to leverage its valuable real estate.

The Times hopes the tribe’s 1,000 members can use the benefits long denied its members as a means toward financial empowerment and urges that it “foresee a future apart from slots and dice.”

We hope the tribe uses – and sees great success with – whatever means toward financial security it deems best.

Gwen Florio

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This just in from the Associated Press:

By EMERY P. DALESIO of the Associated Press

Harrah's Cherokee Casino (IndianGaming.com)

Harrah's Cherokee Casino (IndianGaming.com)

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina’s appeals court on Tuesday upheld a statewide ban on video poker machines except those operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in their Smoky Mountains casino.

A three-judge court panel ruled unanimously that a 2006 state law giving the tribe exclusive gaming rights within North Carolina does not violate a federal Indian gaming law as an amusement machine vendor had argued.

The tribe operates Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which attracts more than 3.5 million visitors a year and generates revenues of more than $250 million annually. Tribal members in June received checks for $3,892 in the first of this year’s twice-a-year payments.

The ruling overturned a February decision by Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning that sided with the gaming company and could have again legalized video poker machines in all 100 counties.

But the appeals court said the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows states to grant tribes preferential gaming rights in hopes the revenues would expand tribal self-government, economic development, and political stability.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Alex Blue, of the Upper Sioux reservation in western MN, works as a forklift operator. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Alex Blue, of the Upper Sioux reservation in western Minnesota, works as a forklift operator. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)


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You’d have thought people would have been happy for the success of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux. For generations, members of the tribe struggled financially. Many were destitute.

The Mystic Lake casino in the 1980s changed all of that. But, as so often happens, resentment followed good fortune. As David Peterson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes here, that sort of resentment was so acceptable that teachers openly taunted Native children in classrooms, referencing the land and money they received upon turning 18.

Recently, though, the tribe has taken pains to mend those corrosive relationships. Case in point: A medical facility that was turning away 60 people a month just received a $1 million pledge from the tribe.

The tribe has always been generous with assistance to other tribes. But increasingly it’s also helping its neighbors. A page on its Web site highlights those projects.

Joan Fawcett, from the medical center that got the challenge grant, says, “I believe in my heart it’s not self-serving. I think they realized they were fortunate to have those dollars and realized, ‘Oh my gosh, we have to help others.’”

Gwen Florio

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