Wampum: How Indian Tribes, the Mafia, and an Inattentive by Donald Craig Mitchell

By Donald Craig Mitchell

The never-before-told tale of Indian Casinos in America

In 2015, 239 Indian tribes operated 478 casinos, high-stakes bingo halls, and different playing amenities on Indian reservations in 28 states that jointly earned $28.5 billion in gross gaming profit. How did Indian playing turn into this sort of profitable and average fixture of the yankee panorama? In Wampum, Donald Craig Mitchell tells the never-before-told story.

In 1979, the Mafia opened the nation's first high-stakes Indian bingo corridor at the Seminole reservation in Florida. 9 years later, Indian tribes have been working bingo halls on reservations in 23 states. Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to topic playing on reservations to legislation through the government and the states within which the reservations have been positioned. yet, whereas contributors of Congress who voted for the invoice did not intend for it to take action, the act facilitated the transformation of Indian bingo halls into what they're today―Las Vegas-style casinos whose gaming flooring comprise greater than 352,000 video slot and different gaming machines.

On Capitol Hill, Donald Craig Mitchell is a well-known professional on Indian legislation and background, and the one researcher who had early entry to the files of the committees whose contributors and employees wrote the debts that turned the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In Wampum, he deals readers the 1st complete examine the forces in Congress and contained in the Bureau of Indian Affairs that experience created the Indian gaming industry.

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Extra info for Wampum: How Indian Tribes, the Mafia, and an Inattentive Congress Invented Indian Gaming and Created a $28 Billion Gambling Empire

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To maintain the fiction that the confinement of Indians on reservations was voluntary, the federal government “negotiated” treaties in which tribal leaders agreed to their own confinement. Today, tribal leaders are adamant that their tribes and the United States government are, and have always been, co-equal sovereigns. But that is mythology masquerading as history. In 1854, for example, Isaac Stevens, the superintendent of Indian affairs for the territory of Washington, met with sixty-two headmen, representing nine tribes, at Medicine Creek, fifteen miles east of Olympia, Washington.

Many of those present, however, did not understand Chinook jargon. Nevertheless, when Shaw finished explaining the treaty in a patois many could not understand, the headmen, all illiterate, signed the Treaty of Medicine Creek with their marks. They did so because, as Shaw explained in 1903, there was not a man of note among all the Indians at that council who did not know that they had not a single right that could be maintained by either force of arms or by law. Every one of them recognized that there was no power that could protect them from the encroachment of the white settlers, save and except the Government of the United States … [which] had possession of the whole country and could do as they [sic] pleased with it.

Because the federal treaties and statutes, Department of the Interior regulations and legal opinions, and judicial decisions that formed the corpus of “Indian law” were a disorganized muddle, in 1938 Assistant Attorney General Carl McFarland, the head of the Lands Division, decided that the attorneys he supervised needed a manual on Indian law. By 1938 Felix Cohen, who by then had worked at the Department of the Interior for five years, was considered the department’s Indian law expert. So McFarland borrowed Cohen to supervise the writing of an Indian law manual.

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