October 19, 2010

Traficant cites TV show for casino

Traficant cites treaty

Says 1800s document clears hurdles for casino; residents split on plan

By Kelly Smith
Traficant is promoting the project for the Indigenous Tribal Affiliates of Native America and the Munsee Delaware Indian Nation, and used the meeting Tuesday to discuss the legalities.

"I'm going to talk to you about the legal grounds here. Because it's just not happenstance that it's the Munsee-Delaware Indian Tribe," Traficant said.

He went on to cite the PBS series "We Shall Remain," explaining that the Munsee-Delaware Indians sided with the Americans during the War of 1812 and signed a treaty with the United States. Traficant believes this treaty will help at the federal level, where the Munsee-Delaware tribe must be recognized in order to receive a gaming license.

"The attorneys feel the treaty that exists between the Munsee-Delaware and Uncle Sam will be significant enough to make it happen," Traficant said.
Comment:  This story has been floating around the Internet for the last couple weeks. It keeps getting sillier and sillier. Now Traficant is citing a treaty he saw on a TV show to justify building an Indian casino. What's next: information gleaned from his granddaughter's kindergarten assignment? If called upon to prove his claim, will Traficant say his dog ate the homework?

An earlier article referred to the Itana Indian Tribe of Utah. One problem with that story, I said. There's no such thing as the Itana Indian Tribe of Utah.

My response to that article:Someone missed the real story here. Traficant is dealing with a self-proclaimed or imaginary tribe. Is he trying to defraud the public? Or is someone trying to defraud him?

Gaming obviously isn't the story since the feds will never recognize a nonexistent tribe or take its land into trust.
Judging by the latest article, I'd say Traficant is the one doing the defrauding. No one would swallow this much nonsense about Indians without checking first.

What's an ITANA?

Turns out the article was referring to ITANA (Indigenous Tribal Affiliates of Native America), an organization without a single mention on the Internet. At best it's filled with fake Indians, some of whom may have a few drops of Native blood. In other words, wannabes. At worst it's nonexistent: a fiction invented by Traficant to defraud people.

Whatever ITANA is, it's a joke. It doesn't have a chance in hell of being recognized as a tribe. At least the Munsee-Delaware Indian Tribe includes the remnants of some actual tribes. But it also doesn't have much chance of being recognized as a tribe.

Even if the War of 1812 treaty were valid, it wouldn't matter. To be recognized, a tribe has to prove its continuous political and cultural existence. Existing at one time isn't enough. That's the starting point for a multimillion-dollar research project requiring years of work to produce volumes of information, not proof by itself.

I'm pretty sure there's no Ohio Indian tribe with a valid claim to recognition. The safe bet is that the state will never have an Indian casino. If Traficant wants to place a wager on it, I'd be glad to take his money.

This story gets a Stereotype of the Month entry for its "anyone who claims to be an Indian can open a casino" presumption. Needless to say, that's wrong.

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


Anonymous said...

There are no federally-recognized tribes in Ohio, no. Or American Samoa, Arkansas, Delaware, DC, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, or West Virginia. I would list the entire U.S. sphere of influence, but that's kind of hard for the current empire.

dmarks said...

There hasn't been an empire for decades, but anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Most people would consider the United States to be the last great empire. Certainly Americans act as arrogant as any British colonial.