Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Disappearing Indians: Carving Up the NEW Buffalo. Steve Russell's Take on Disenrollment for Greed, Power and Money

Steve Russell has a good piece up in Indian Country Today called CARVING UP THE NEW BUFFALO.  Which is about how greed is leaving many Natives high and dry and fighting for scraps, while others are trying to have their own buffalo stand, where piles of money  take the place of a pile of bones.   I will follow up this piece with an article about MONEY and what has been at stake.

The New Buffalo took its first shaky steps on February 25, 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court told California it could not shut down card games and high-stakes bingo on the reservations of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (less than 1,000 citizens) and the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians (less than 50 citizens).
Just as buffalo "hunters" slaughtered animals creating this pile of bones
Tribes have eliminated members to pile up the money.

California is a PL 280 state, meaning that Congress has given it the power to pass criminal laws binding on tribal land. However, gambling was legal in California at that time, just heavily regulated. The state allowed bingo with much smaller cash prizes than the Indians offered and even had a state lottery.  The Supreme Court, consistent with prior decisions, held that state regulations held no force on Indian land.
He gets deeper into the matter with IGRA:

Wherever you see non-Indians organizing to stop this or that Indian casino, there will always be somebody denouncing Congress for gifting Indians with the right to run casinos in IGRA. They are misinformed. IGRA was not the source of Native gaming rights. The source was that part of tribal sovereignty not taken away by the U.S. IGRA was enacted to limit Indian gaming and give states a mechanism to profit from it

Finally, he gets to the MONEY QUOTE:

Carving up the new buffalo among historically starving people meant that some would overeat and some would get greedy. Sometimes control of tribal government offered an opportunity to settle old scores among feuding families and sometimes the real motive was simple greed, but disenrollment has become an epidemic, infecting over 60 tribal nations in over a dozen states since California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians slaughtered the first of the new buffalo in 1987.


The Bureau of Indian Affairs does not track the epidemic in public documents and does little to stop it.

Read the Rest of Steve's Article  and STAY TUNED for more on the actual money and tribes doing the carving......

No comments: