Native American Gambling

Gambling is viewed very differently from one culture to another. In Protestant and Catholic cultures, gambling is considered a sinful vice, associated with other illicit activities.

In Native American cultures, however, gambling is an ancient tradition associated with noble virtues such as intelligence, concentration, acuity, strategic thinking, leadership, resource management, discipline, spiritual development, and good character. sport spirit.

So it is no wonder that an indigenous nation on the coast of Northern California had a village in one part of its territory that was devoted to the art and science of traditional gambling, such as a university or a seminary for players. While not all NDN (sic) nations established such institutions, most had some kind of tradition for betting on games of skill and games of chance.

Gambling remains a part of traditional Native American life. Celebrations and even sacred rituals, such as healing ceremonies, often include games of chance, after prayers are performed and the feast is shared.

Since tribal-owned casinos provide massive economic stimuli for impoverished Native populations, challenging the rights of tribes to own and manage their own casinos is also a way to keep Native people in devastating poverty. An example of the difference between owning a casino and not owning one can be seen by comparing two gangs from the same tribe. A band in Oklahoma does not have a casino within its jurisdiction. The other band from the same tribe, in Kansas, has its own casino. Laws differ from state to state.

The Kansas gang used the casino proceeds to build schools, purchase a regulation school bus, and most importantly to build a desperately needed health clinic. The Oklahoma gang of the same tribe does not have any of these facilities because they lack the casino-generated UFA  revenue needed to build and maintain them, let alone the staff. Casino proceeds also provide equity loans for tribal members to start small businesses.

A series of court cases and legislative acts in the 1980s set a precedent for native gaming rights and regulation. These historical milestones include: Seminole Tribe vs. Butterworth (1979), California vs. Cabazon Band (1987) and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988. However, these achievements have been repeatedly challenged by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), in an ongoing campaign to weaken native sovereignty and confiscate or divert revenue from native games.

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