Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Wampanoags Are People Too

Seems to me, from today's show, that the Wampanoags are pursuing that often cited American dream, in precisely the way that the Federal Government gave them--after they had put in their bid for recognition. They did not shoot for recognition to get gambling--the opportunity was given to them. In much the same way we are trying to deal with our demons of health care, education, culture, heritage, etc., they also seem to be grasping for their brass ring. In the same way that we each find the best way to provide for our families, they have found a way.

It became clear to me today that it is not JUST about money for the sake of money, but that it is about the opportunity and relief that the revenue will provide the Tribe to govern itself and prepare and secure its future. Self determination, as well as self sufficiency will lead to a greater sense of identity and dignity for these people. This is a step forward for a conquered people, that our ancestors conquered and/or erradicated. Think of it as restitution, of sorts, for the anglo-american history that began here only hundreds of years ago.

Someone stated at the BIA meeting that "no one wants to live near a casino." Today, there were several people who will, and claim to do so willingly (including myself). I do appreciate those people who give the other side of the story--even if they do sometimes speak in untrue absolutes to make their point. However, there does need to be some recognition that the Tribe has a certain right to its future, even at some cost to its neighbors.

I know that this is not a technical argument citing facts and figures. However, when you begin to consider the faces of the people being opposed--and to oppose their source of revenue and future as determined by the Feds is to oppose them--you may begin to appreciate that the money is emblematic of raw opportunity for the Tribe.

We are all capitalists in one way or another. We each may even work for capitalists from whom we earn our paychecks. Our economy is made up of people who exploit limited resources and prey on human weakness (e.g., oil companies, liquor companies)and who leave in their wake all kinds of very nasty impacts, which they never even attempt to mitigate. The difference here...in my opinion...is that the result will be the restoration of a conquered people to a level that will sustain them for years to come.

As to Middleborough...I still believe that Middleborough will fare well. Its an opinion. I also believe that we will enjoy a ccertain level of prosperity if we are careful in how we use this revenue stream. I know...I am skeptical of what we will do with the revenues also. However, our shortcomings are not the responsibility of the Tribe...we own our faults and they are ours to repair.

In any event, I learned some new things from my guests and was pleased. I do note that Mark was a little ticked at the "lack of balance," but I did do a CFO show (and hope to do another one). Also, I am not the news, and I though the phone in questions were very good, and helped to raise some of the opposition issues--how much are the impacts really; how much will the revenues be net, net, net;and won't the jobs really be going to flunkies of the investors and leave nothing for anyone buut the Tribe.

2 comments:

Mary Stone in Middleboro said...

Hi Adam:

It was definitely an interesting show, and thanks for letting me ask my question. One thing that the answer did clarify, which I was never quite certain of, was the nature of the relationship between the financial backers and the tribe, it has now been publicly stated that the financial backers have an investment relationship and not a management relationship. That can now be checked, verified, or refuted. I have my own thoughts about the second part of the answer, which is that the tribe will make hiring decisions for the well-compensated, highly skilled openings that are in the best interests of the success of the casino enterprise. This means that the jobs will still go to people from "away" with the required expertise, in my view, so let's not all start salivating over those 60K a year salaries just yet.

Thanks again for the public formum and the public discussion.

MTS

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Adam,

When you and I did a show there was inherent balance in that there was a 2-way discussion between a pro and anti. I wouldn't call that a "CFO show". So far you have done:

Shawn Hendricks(Isn't the casino wonderful)
Mark Belanger(balanced discussion)
Perkins, Masi(Won't the casino be wonderful for the region)]
Bigby/Ghosts(Won't commercial casinos be wonderful)
Pro-casino panel(Aren't casinos wonderful for the town)

I was not ticked of so much at the lack of balance but at a my perception that anti-casino concerns were being ridiculed and dismissed. You had a totally pro-casino panel that were yucking it up over the "fire and brimstone" predictions of the anti casino residents.

Agreed that the phone calls brought in a measure of balance - but it wasn't enough given the pure pro-casino makeup of the guests.

Everyone in America has sympathy for the sins of the past w/regard to Indians. If America as a country wishes to make amends - which I'm in favor of - it should not mean that Middleboro has to be threatened to accept a deal that provides roughly one half of the revenue that a commercial facility would provide. And any tax/regulation breaks given to the tribe should come at the expense of the state of federal government - not out of the pockets of the host community.