Wednesday, September 16, 2009
DRAMA ON THE RESERVATION
Nightfall catches me at the Emerald Indian Casino in Tacoma Washington---parking catawampus (jackjawed) like this to give my satellite dish a clear shot at the sky. (see it between truck and trailer?) The dish travels inside when not in use.
Next day---looking out my window --- I see this..... drama!--- There's a story here I mean to get. Turns out to be phase one of an eviction. Phase two is imminent---I'll wait--
One big reason for the eviction---neighbors unhappy.
'bout these also.
Phase two of the eviction! Poor old lady hobbling around with walker, confused, distressed, worried about her cats and her stuff. Some of these folks are helping her. My heart went out--so I dug deeper into the story:
Contacted Neighbors: Here's the prequel: She lived for years in a tent nearby with her cats. AND THEN---AND THEN: THE CASINO OPENED AND NOW PAYS HER $2,000 A MONTH AS HER SHARE. DESPITE THAT SHE'S NOT PAID HER RENT----AND THOSE CATS!!!!! THEY'VE HAD IT WITH HER.
Contacted tribal officials: YES $2,000 a month for every man woman and child in the tribe. (under 18, the money is put in trust. at 18 they get it all) Some handle their money well--BUT--one teenager blew her $80,000 in two weeks. I'm incredulous at these numbers, so I dig deeper.
Here's what I learned:
1. This casino, one of two that the tribe owns, has over 1400 machines plus table games.
2. Other tribes, less strategically located, can give their allotment of machines to this tribe for a cut of the profits.
3. This one casino earns, on average, $1,000,000 (that's one million) dollars A DAY!
4. The tribe has embarked on an intense Land buying program of adjacent properties.
5. They buy all that they are allowed. Seems the state has mandated a limit.
6. Once purchased, the land is considered part of the reservation and is non taxable.
I drive away thinking: Way-to-go you clever people! Cash in on our stupidity! Buy back America and evict us. THESE ARE NOT THE SAME INDIANS WHO SOLD MANHATTEN FOR $24 worth of trinkets.