Today, the first Americans finally get the recognition they so deserve. It’s time to honor Native American peoples, histories, and culture. Let’s Celebrate Tribal Resilience On Indigenous Peoples Day.
15 states have officially declared the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day, including Maine and Vermont in New England.
Today Celebrate Tribal Resilience On Indigenous Peoples Day
“The Indian reservation system established tracts of land called reservations for Native Americans to live on as white settlers took over their land. But many Native Americans were forced onto reservations with catastrophic results and devastating, long-lasting effects.”History Channel, “Indian Reservations”
The Government in the 1800s moved tribes thousands of miles away from their original homeland. And yet, they have found the means to feed, educate, and prosper.
History represents the suffering and decimation of native Americans, their history and cultures live on. Some tribes came close to extinction. And yet they stand today, proud of what they have overcome.
Federal Recognition, Sovereign Nations, and Casino Gambling
In 1934, the Indian Reorganization Act intended to restore Indian culture and return surplus land to tribes. It also encouraged tribes to self-govern and write their own constitutions and provided financial aid for reservation infrastructure.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) falls under the umbrella of federal recognition. Above all, it made federally recognized tribes on each reservation sovereign nations and not subject to federal laws.
Several Native Tribes in the 1970s opened lucrative bingo halls for revenue that would improve the tribe’s quality of life. For example, Foxwoods High Stakes Bingo in New England was a huge success in the 1980s.
Casinos Can Provide the Financial Help Needed
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 paved the way for tribal gaming. Today, 28 states have tribal casinos, on reservations. Last year they earned more than $32 billion in revenue, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a leading trade organization for the gaming industry.
Tribal Individuals receive a portion of the gaming revenue. In addition, money also benefits communities. Casino revenue supports education, buildings, and services. In fact, casinos also provide jobs in the thousands, although exactly how many are not clear. Furthermore, the AGA puts the number at more than 600,000, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts it at closer to 100,000.
And yet, despite impoverished circumstances, gaming has given many tribes a better quality of life.
“[Native Americans] are still here. We are still resilient, and we will be here forever.”New Mexico state Rep. Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo
New Mexico Rep. Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo said the day allows for reflection on a complicated history. In conclusion, Lente said, “It’s also a chance to set the record straight about…. the pain Native Americans suffered.”