The Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act of 1988: A Well Intended Law Gone Awry
By Jim Marino
Note that critics like Marino never quantify charges like this one. Either they don't know, or they don't want you to know, how they're lying about tribal size.
What Marino considers "highly questionable" shows his ignorance of the issues. Historically, tribal membership was based on culture, not biology. Tribes are returning to this practice because requiring a level of "blood quantum" is a sure route to extinction.
The Pequot case
Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law. So the recognition process was perfectly democratic even if it didn't take the usual route. If Marino didn't like the outcome then, he was free to vote against Reagan and his congressional representatives in 1984. (How much do you want to bet Marino was cheering for Reagan in 1984, not denouncing him as a sellout to Indian politics?)
See Marino: Tribes Are Too Large or Small for a demolition of Marino's stupidity about tribal size.
We're now about halfway through Marino's column and he's yet to find a single flaw in IGRA. Heck, he hasn't even mentioned IGRA since his opening paragraphs. So much for his title thesis that IGRA has gone awry. Marino is bashing tribes in general and gaming tribes in particular, not criticizing IGRA.
The Wampanoag case
Mashpee tribe got Abramoff boost
That prompted the government to negotiate with the tribe, resulting in a pact to reach a preliminary decision by the end of March 2006. If that is granted, the government would give final approval by March 2007.
Again, the recognition process existed before IGRA and has nothing to do with IGRA. The Wampanoag case, like the Pequot case before it, proves the point. Both tribes sought recognition long before they could conceive of profiting from gaming.
And let's reiterate that these are two tribes out of 564. What do their issues have to do with the hundreds of legitimate tribes who conduct legitimate gaming operations? You know, the tribes Marino never mentions because they don't help his anti-Indian crusade?
Interference bad, unless it's good
Marino the anti-Indian crusader is against increasing the number of recognized Indians. It doesn't matter whether recognition happens via the official process or not. "More Indians" = bad, according to Marino.
Recall that Congress approved of recognizing the Pequots. Who says the "clear definition" Marino wants would exclude rather than include the Pequots? Why does Marino think Congress would adopt a definition that invalidated its own decisions? If the definition encompassed the Pequots and other recently recognized tribes, then what?
This is blatant stupidity. The only clear definition Marino wants is "no more Indians." Don't let anyone else be recognized as Indians and eliminate some of the people presently recognized as Indians. Terminate the Indians before they rob us blind!
The practice of "reservation shopping"
Politicians and local leaders are aware of "reservation shopping" and determined not to let it happen. There's no evidence whatsoever that the government is about to open up the country to off-reservation casinos. IGRA provides a process for taking "Indian lands" into trust and that process is working. That most tribes haven't opened off-rez casinos proves the point.
Once again, Marino is conflating an imaginary potential problem with actual flaws in IGRA. He's bashing real tribes who use the legal processes as well as phony tribes who "violate" these processes. Clearly he's prejudiced against Indians, period.
We saw this in his initial screed about "gaming" vs. "gambling." He didn't note that the commercial casinos of the American Gaming Association have championed this practice. In fact, he has nothing to say about the "evils" of non-Indian casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Marino is attacking only Indian casinos and on the basis of race, which means he's a racist.
For more on Marino's views, see Too Many Indians, or Not Enough? and Calif. Tribes Are "Highly Questionable"? For more on the subject in general, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.
Below: Marino's view of Indians in a nutsell, again.