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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Thumbs up Thumbs down

Saturday, September 11, 2004

The following events, organizations and individuals deserve either a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down this week:

THUMBS UP: For city officials who, after protest, decided to reconsider Hollister's plan to handle effluent water. The city originally had planned to build percolation ponds near Wright Road but has changed its mind after a compelling case was made by the San Benito County Farm Bureau and residents. Now the city will not only reassess the location of the ponds, but will reconsider the use of them altogether. There are numerous options to handle wastewater, and the city made a wise decision to consider all of them.

THUMBS DOWN: For the notion that an Indian casino is somehow reparations for past wrongs. Four Indians in an out-of-town tribe would be the gateway for a cadre of investors, attorneys and management companies to make a whole lot of money. Clearly there are possible side benefits to the community. Investors, for example, might fund the widening of Highway 25 or increase the sewer plant capacity for Hollister, which is stuck in a growth moratorium. But the point is that the premise upon which Indian casinos are being built is hogwash.

Rob's reply
Indians aren't saying casinos are reparations for past wrongs. The people who are saying that are usually conservatives who don't like the idea of Indian sovereignty, Indian casinos, or, frankly, Indians.

If Indian gaming were a reparations program, Congress might have felt obligated to spread the benefits evenly among tribes, or to concentrate them on the tribes with the greatest losses. Congress didn't do that because that isn't the purpose of Indian gaming.

It's more correct to call Indian gaming an economic development programólike other programs targeted at poverty-stricken areas such as inner cities. No one expects urban development grants to help poor rural communities. Indian casinos are much the same. They help those who can profitably take advantage of Indian gaming. Tribes in rural areas, like their non-Indian counterparts, require other types of assistance.

I'm not sure what the editor's point is. If he thinks Indians are demanding casinos as reparations, he's sadly mistaken. The premise on which this editorial is built is the only hogwash in evidence.

Related links
The facts about Indian gaming

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