August 07, 2008

Casino Indians are bad?

Mashantucket Pequots:  Museum marks 10 yearsThe Pequots wanted people to understand their history, said McBride, also an archaeology professor at the University of Connecticut, and that motivated the tribe to invest $190 million in the museum’s creation.

“They felt through education and having the museum and research center would be the best avenue to change the public’s perspective on the Pequot history,” he said. “It’s a complex story that stretches back 12,000 years.”
Why it isn't necessarily working:Ross is one of nearly 2 million visitors to the museum since it opened Aug. 11, 1998. But, in the last 10 years, there’s been a growing misunderstanding of the tribe, said Kevin McBride, the museum’s research director.

“In spite of what we have done with the museum and why it was built to help people understand the native history, the casinos have complicated that quite a bit,” he said. “People now equate the casino as bad. Therefore a native group that has a casino is bad.”
Comment:  Regardless of what you think of the Mashantucket Pequots, the final claim is telling. Many people would agree: "Natives with casinos are bad. They're not authentic Indians any more. They're sellouts who only want to line their pockets. They rob from the poor and give to the rich: themselves. They want to live in mansions, not in teepees where they belong. How dare they come into our community and act like white folks? Why don't they go back where they came from and leave us alone?"

As you can see from the photo, the museum has some Disneyesque touches. My pal Victor, who has visited the museum, doesn't like this approach, but I do. Anything that can make Indian cultures come alive is okay in my book. Rooms full of musty old artifacts with plaques on the wall are not the way to go.

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

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
There is a film, "The Witness" that is shown several times daily in the Pequot Museum. A portion of the admission to the museum is a charge to see that film. writerfella's actor uncle, T. Dan Hopkins, was one of the Native actors who brought the story to life. BUT -- because of a technicality, the Pequots do not have to pay residuals to the performers in the film. Someone somewhere is realizing vast profits but those are not being shared with the people who made it possible...
All Best
Russ Bates