Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Fox News: Wealthy Tribes Still Earn Federal Subsidies
Thursday, March 25, 2004
LOS ANGELES -- The San Manuel Band of Indians, which reaps $100 million from its casino and bingo hall, are also the beneficiaries of subsidies from the federal taxpayer.
The casino revenues have enabled the California tribe to open a million dollar bottling plant, buy into a posh restaurant in Pasadena and office buildings in Orange County and make a $4 million contribution to the UCLA law school.
On top of it all, Washington, D.C., granted the tribe almost $173,000 for 2001 and 2002, according to a watchdog group that says tribes like the San Manuel Band don't deserve to be recipients of federal aid.
"The funds, let's not forget, are the hard-earned tax dollars of citizens of this state and this nation, and the intent of the program was to provide funding to the needy Indians of the nation," said Cheryl Schmit of Stand Up for California (search).
Schmit is calling for Washington to re-evaluate its financial relationship with wealthy tribes, but San Manuel tribe chairman Deron Marquez said it's not about needing the money, but about maintaining the government-to-government relations that stretch back to the founding of the United States.
"Let's not forget" that Cheryl Schmit doesn't know what she's talking about when she talks about Indian issues.
The payments to the San Manuel Band are not federal subsidies or aid. They're treaty payments the San Manuels receive to compensate for the land they gave up.
One could compare these payments to the pensions and health care our soldiers receive after serving their hitches in the military. These payments aren't "subsidies" or "aid" either. They're obligations we agreed to pay the soldiers in exchange for their serving in the military a specified amount of time. Payments to Indian tribes are similar.
This attack also ignores the fact that American Indians are citizens and taxpayers. The wealthy residents of Beverly Hills get police protection and road maintenance just like everyone else does. Wealth isn't a barrier or even an issue for many government services.
Schmit (no relation) claims to be anti-gaming, not anti-Indian. But by arguing against the government-to-government relationship between the feds and the tribes, she's showing her true colors here. If she were really neutral on Indian issues other than gaming, she'd have no opinion on whether San Manuel was receiving "too much" money. Her position is fundamentally anti-Indian, not anti-gaming
The facts about Indian gaming
The essential facts about Indians today
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