PostHeaderIcon Indian Casinos – What Goes Around, Comes Around!

indian-casinoDepending on what version of American History you read, the life of Native Americans before Columbus was, in many ways, idyllic. At the very least many Native Americans had a much nobler attachment to and respect for the environment than our ancestors did. Native Americans saw the land as a gift, belonging to no one, and under the stewardship of all. They took what they needed to live on and existed in a balanced relationship with nature.

Of course that all changed with colonization and the westward migration of settlers. The concept of private property is probably what pushed most Native American communities to the edge of extinction. Treaties, most not worth the parchment they were written on, promised safe havens for those pushed off their hunting and fishing grounds. Ultimately, the expansion across the continent was just too much.

How ironic is it that in the last part of the 20th century many Native American groups have been able to take back some of their dignity and some of their status in the currency of our day – not land but money! Indian casinos have popped up all over the country and, with the help of corporate entities, are profitable and supportive of their own interests.

Although a few are not successful in giving back to their communities, many Indian casinos have created economic opportunity for their tribe members where none existed before.

Among the best run and most attractive Indian casinos in the USA are the Foxwoods Casino, run by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, and Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by Mohegan tribe, both in Connecticut. Both operations are wildly successful and continue to expand and attract customers from all over the northeast.

In 2002 all Indian run casinos in the United States generated close to $15 billion in revenue. A few tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot’s among them, have given per capita payments to those who are legitimate members of the tribe creating millionaires from people who had been in abject poverty.

Keeping in mind that a good deal of the day traffic to all casinos, including Indian casinos, is made up of senior citizens who willingly pour their Social Security earnings into slot machines and eagerly wager on Bingo, there is a cosmic sort of irony in this picture. What our forbears took away from these people in dignity and riches, we are giving back little by little in cold hard cash. What goes around comes around!

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