Monday, May 18, 2009

The Stockbridge Mohicans' Casino and Their Economy

There may be some exceptions, but today's Stockbridge Mohicans are middle class Americans. The older ones remember having to choose between poverty and a life away from home. But changes occurred across Indian Country when gambling lost its moral stigma and tribes were granted the right to establish casinos. Not all tribes have benefited, but the Stockbridges, with their Northstar Mohican Casino, and a few other tourism ventures, like the Pine Hills Golf Course, have been quite successful. As a result of that success, some feel that the tribal government is losing touch...

This tribe - that was very poor through much of its history - went into debt like never before to build a brand new $100 million casino. This tribe, one of the first to practice the white man's "agriculture," is now so - for lack of a better word - modern, that they don't want any working farms on their reservation.

But of course, there are those who see the foolishness of some of these "modern" ways of viewing things. One is Wayne Miller, who wrote a letter to the editor which appeared in the Mohican News last month:

In a more recent issue of Mohican News, another tribal member agreed with Miller, and added "What if older folks could teach younger people how to grow their own food, instead of how to roll the dice?"

That might be a question that Americans of all racial backgrounds should be asking themselves right now.

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