McCain Turns On Tribes
Now, in the wake of the Abramoff scandal some former Indian friends have become foes. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is one of them. He has introduced legislation to take control of Indian gaming away from tribal governments and put it into the hands of the National Indian Gaming Commission.
When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988, no one envisioned the phenomenal success Indian gaming would achieve. The relatively small bingo parlors have become highly sophisticated casinos in rural America accompanied by hotel and resort communities rivaling those in Vegas and Atlantic City. This has upset many white Americans and they feel it is time rein in those “uppity” Indian tribes and put them on a leash. McCain’s Senate Bill 2078 is designed to do just that.
S.B. 2078 would transfer authority for contract approvals from tribal governments to the NIGC, on the premise that unscrupulous developers or vendors might defraud or take advantage of tribes.
S. B. 2078 would transfer authority for budget allocations from tribal governments to the NIGC, on the premise that tribes are incapable of making responsible choices about revenue allocations.
S. B. 2078 would take regulatory authority over Indian gaming away from tribes and give it to the NIGC, despite Congress' intent that tribes would be the primary regulators of their own gaming operations.
S.B. 2078 would eliminate the two-part process for transferring land into trust for gaming purposes, forever denying landless tribes the opportunity to develop gaming programs on lands they might acquire in the future.
There is a great irony in the debate over S. B. 2078. In the 1987 Supreme Court California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians decision, the court acknowledged the retained right of tribes as sovereign nations to engage in gaming without state interference as long as gaming in some form was legal in that state. State governors and attorneys general demanded that Congress limit this right so they would have more control over Indian gaming within their boundaries. Congress acceded to those demands and IGRA was born. The whole point of the compact process was to give state governments at least limited authority over tribal gaming.
Now S.B. 2078 proposes to hand over regulatory authority to the NIGC, potentially rendering toothless many of the existing tribal/state compacts. If the federal government is going to control Indian gaming so completely, why bother with the compact process at all?
Having introduced S.B. 2078, McCain now may find himself lost in the land of unintended consequences. He has alienated Indian tribes, his former friends and political allies. He has squeezed state governments out of the tribal gaming regulatory process. He has become the poster boy and fearless leader for all those Indian-haters who prefer their Indians poor, dependent and subjugated. He has taken his first step on the 2008 campaign trail by stepping on the necks of Indian people. Maybe he didn't mean to, but if S.B. 2078 passes, what he meant to do won't matter.
It is time to let your senator know you oppose S.B. 2078. Your vote DOES count!!!
This column has been edited for length and content from an April 14th article in Indian Country Today bylined John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
Save The Internet!!!!
This is for real!!!!
Congress is now pushing through a law that would give control of the Internet to giant companies who want to charge big bucks for things that are currently free or low-cost---everything from posting a web page to being able to use audio, video, and photos online.
This would ruin the Internet for nearly everyone: nonprofits, online activists, Google users, Ipod listeners, small businesses, economic innovators, and others.
Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of letting companies like AT&T and Verizon destroy the Internet for the little guy.
We need to act now. Can you sign this petition to your member of Congress asking him or her not to ruin the Internet? Click here:
A great article on this is located here: http://www.newyorker.com/printables/talk/060320ta_talk_surowiecki
North Carolina Cherokee Pass Free Press Clause
NAJA Congratulates Tribe on Act
VERMILLION, S.D. The Native American Journalists Association congratulates the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as the most recent Native sovereign nation to protect the freedom of the press and the autonomy of its tribal newspaper, The Cherokee One Feather.
Last week, the Eastern Band council passed the Free Press Act of 2006, reaffirming the tribe's commitment to the free press provisions of the federal Indian Civil Rights Act and ensuring that the tribally owned press is "independent from any undue influence and free of any particular political interest. It is the duty of the press to report without bias the activities of the tribe, the tribal government, and any and all news of interest to have informed citizens." The law also sets up an editorial board to oversee publication of the One Feather.
"This act is courageous - a tremendous effort by (council member) Teresa McCoy and the council to ensure the press is free and open," NAJA President Mike Kellogg (Navajo) said. "With a free press, the Eastern Band of Cherokee will be able to truly exercise its sovereignty, and tribal citizens will be able to hold their leaders accountable."
Throughout Indian Country, many newspapers, radio and television operations and Web sites are tribally owned; although the Indian Civil Rights Act protects freedom of the press, the law offers little protection when the tribal government also owns and finances a media outlet. That's one reason that NAJA has worked to support those tribes that have found ways to protect press freedom while maintaining support of their tribal media.
"For the media to be truly free, it requires private ownership and funding. In the absence of such media in Cherokee, Tribal Council is to be commended for taking this step to separate the community's only newspaper - a tribally owned paper - from the politics that surround the Council chambers and executive offices," said Joe Martin, One Feather editor and a NAJA member. "I wish to thank the council and hope to further the spirit of sunshine legislation through strengthening open-meetings and freedom-of-information laws."
Since its founding in 1984, one of NAJA's primary goals has been to support freedom of the press in Indian Country.
NAJA Accepting Submissions For Spring/Summer Newsletter
NAJA is accepting submissions for its next newsletter and is looking for articles about our industry or recent moves or promotions for the Members on the Move section. Send submissions to email@example.com and place "Newsletter" in subject line. Deadline is May 12.
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