December 04, 2006

Casino tastes like correctness

'Survive gene' in the descendants of LuisenoBy 1970, according to the Encyclopedia of Native Tribes of North America, there were 600 descendants of the Luiseno on the reservations of La Jolla, Rincon, Pauma, Pechanga, Pala (with others) and Soboba. Today, it is estimated, about 2,500 of the Luiseno descendants survive.

Might that not have been the end of things? That the descendants of tribe members that escaped slaughter would slowly die out in somewhat better circumstances, and the land paved over? That is almost what happened, as the 20th century bore in upon them, but not quite.

For a gene named Survive surely lurks in Luiseno blood. Luiseno have survived brilliantly, if not in great number, then in defiance of the stars or of history. This is proof positive:

That in the normal course of business the Pala want to expand the resort-casino--metaphor for reservation--is not merely amazing but also delicious. It has the flavor of correctness about it, with a dollop or two of justice catching up. Normal course. Normal. Just like all other capitalists.

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