March 05, 2007

Dueling stereotypes re casinos

In Jamul, a Small Tribe's Casino Plans Meet Big OppositionStereotype No. 1: Dances With Wolves. Patrick Webb, the attorney representing [dissidents] Toggery and Rosales, leans on this Hollywood-fueled image. He says his clients embody the iconic view of American Indians with close ties to the land.

"This isn't about payback," Webb says. "This isn't about getting our due. That's not what the world is about."

Stereotype No. 2: Revenge. This suggests that the tribes are building casinos to exact revenge for long-standing injustices. Acebedo, the Jamul tribal chairman, seems to embrace this.

"I don't know if you saw my cartoon out there," he tells a reporter. "That's a significant message."

The 9-by-11 cartoon is taped, facing out, to a tinted window in the tribal office. Anyone who enters the tribal office walks past it. A white man is kneeling on the ground in front of a slot machine, empty pockets turned out, hands covering his head.

Two American Indians stand nearby, looking down at him. One says to the other: "I'm just sorry it took us 400 years to figure out how to beat them."

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