September 23, 2009

Comanche wins with casino essay

Town column:  Teen looks at casinosOn the whole, have casinos benefited the Comanche Nation and other Native American tribes who own and operate them? This question became the subject of an Advanced Placement English class research paper for Rob Boling last year, and his essay impacted more than just his grade point average.

"I wanted to explore the issue and see how it was affecting my tribe and other tribes," Boling said. "I found out that, for the most part, the money is being used well."

Boling, 18 years old and a Hinsdale Central senior, is a member of the Comanche Nation, headquartered in Lawton, Oklahoma.

In June, Boling was named one of five winners in the national 2009 Young Native American Writers essay contest for his submission, "Preserving Native Values: The Effects of Casino Income on Tribal Traditions."
Some of Boling's conclusions:What Boling found is that casino revenues can help or corrupt tribes. Some of the revenues from the Comanche's four casinos are being used to create a museum to honor the Comanche Code talkers, veterans of World War II who played a significant role in the war because the enemy was unable to decipher the Comanche language. Revenues have also been used to offer scholarships and medical care to tribe members.

Tribes seeking to preserve their heritage "will find that the income is indeed a blessing of economic security which they have been struggling to obtain for decades," Boling wrote.
Comment:  These findings are obvious to anyone who understands gaming. Money, including income from casinos, is simply a tool. Having enough is good because people need money to live on. Having too can be a problem because money tends to make people more materialistic and status-oriented.

For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.

1 comment:

Rob said...

A Facebook exchange on this posting:

Leah Bowe:  It's a tough call--it's a pretty predatory enterprise, but it's also brought my tribal language back from the dead, put a hospital + an eldercare center on my Rez, etc....

Rob Schmidt:  Right. Even though I work in the industry, I'm not crazy about the tribes' reliance on gaming. Look at what's happening to the Pequots. I think they'll be better off if and when they transition to a diversified economy.