Friday, February 01, 2008

"Indian Gaming" is not "self reliance"

A commentary on Indian Gaming Propositions

A friend asked me, "So, are you voting in favor of Indian gaming?" He was referring to Propositions 94, 95, 96, 97, to be voted upon by the California voters on February 5, which would effectively expand so-called "Indian gaming." [Note: by the time you read this, Feb. 5 will likely have past. Still, the overall principles are important.]

"No," I said, "I’m voting against it."

"Really," my friend retorted. "Don’t you realize that the opposition is actually just other casinos and racing concerns who don’t want more competition?"

I signed. "That might be true," I responded, "but that’s not why I’m voting against it."
I explained to my friend that I vote against any and all gambling measures. It is not a good element for any society to promote get-rich-quick schemes which statistically will get very few people rich. I find it particularly perverse that the native Americans who are now so enriched by gambling profits choose to call this "self-reliance."

That’s an inappropriate use of the phrase, "self-reliance." Self-reliance refers to farming, food processing, manufacturing, creating energy (wind, solar, etc.), building stores, building schools, putting people to work in a self-sustaining way that benefits the society.

Creating and supporting the infrastructure of gambling certainly produces money, but it is not true self-reliance. Gambling fosters the notion that we might get something for nothing, or at least, get a lot for a very small investment. It relies on luck or chance, not skill, merit, or work. Gambling does not pay us! The hopeful gamblers pay to support the gambling institutions. That is, no one really "wins," and most "lose." It is this very fact that keeps "gaming" alive and able to generate so much money.

There are those who feel that native Americans deserve this chance to bring in the needed money to the tribe. This is understandable, given the history of broken promises, of extermination via warfare, and massive deaths brought by the white man’s various diseases. So
I don’t fault the desire, and the need, to grow in financial health. I am against the means to do so, which brings along with it all of the unintended consequences.

It is sad to me that after so long of being the "forgotten minority" in America, the native Americans have hit upon one of the least overall beneficial means to become "self-reliant." By the pursuit of gambling, such proprietors also take on the karma of all that the enterprises generate, and whether native Americans or other gambling operators, they become another soulless lemming in the pursuit of Mammon. So be it, since that has already happened to 95% of us. Let’s just not call this "self-reliance."

It is not spiritually uplifting to the individual or society to choose luck and chance as a means of making one’s living. It invites the underworld so long associated with Las Vegas – money laundering, drugs, prostitution, mafia. How well have our native brothers been holding up against such tremendous pressures which the avalanche of gambling money brings?

I vote against all such measures on principle. It is why I voted against the California state lottery, and why I encourage all thinking individuals to also vote against yet another Trojan horse in our midst.


january said...

Mr. Nyerges,
You make some interesting points.
I believe that a true description of "Indians" would be more accurate as INDIGINOUS PEOPLE since they were here long before the formation of the American government. What would you say?

Secondly, As long as people function within the realm of the law why not let them do what is legal and what they wish to do? If you don't wish to gamble that's fine, but why do we as a society always have to control the actions of others?
There are so many laws now that forbid us from doing what we wish to do It seems we are told how to do everything from how to raise our children, to when to smoke, what to eat and now we may soon be forced to spay and nuter our pets in Los Angeles proper, all of this because of course we are not intelligent enough to run our own lives and make our own decisions.

Christopher Nyerges said...

Hi january.
Good points.
"Indigenous people" is fine, I use it sometimes, but it is the "Indians" themselves who use the term "Indian gaming," so I do not have to worry about being politically correct. Native American is good, as is AmerInd (for American Indigenous).

As for letting them do what they want, I have no argument. But clearly now that they have chosen the false path to self-reliance, they have to make deals with the devil, so to speak, and this is a matter that is on the California ballot --has nothing to do with me letting them do what they want.I have no desire to force anyone to do anything -- my point was to share what happens, perhaps on a spiritual and psychic level -- when we enter into the world of gambling. I choose to not enter that world. If you see my point, you may agree. Or not. that is your choice.
By the way, I also am distressed about the "city leaders" saying now that all dogs and cats must be neutered. (On the flip side, they kill dogs every day in the pounds -- what is the solution if citizens do not control their dogs?)

Thank you for your comments.