Saturday, January 28, 2006

Lost In The Shuffle

With their name used in vain, the Indians would like to point out few items that have been overlooked.
American Indians and the Abramoff Scandal / You don't know Jack: "Now that I think about it, as long as the Justice Department is investigating what happened to all of Abramoff's money, maybe they could investigate what happened to all the treaty promises that have been broken. Why is it, for instance, that despite the promise of doctors and hospitals in exchange for our land, the government, according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, spends more than twice as much on average for prisoner health care than for Indian health care?"
Extremely valid question. But aren't you guys rich?
Enter Jack Abramoff. Along with his friends and associates, he targeted a handful -- six, to be exact -- of Indian tribes to finance his empire on the Potomac. What, exactly, happened? As far as I can tell, the Abramoff crew took advantage of the Indian tribes' goodwill and bankrolls to the tune of $82 million in order to pay for their own mansions, exotic trips and think tanks -- you get the picture. Which is: A few Indian tribes get scammed, a bunch of lobbyists and congressmen and staff get greedy (and later nailed), some promises get made and a casino gets shut down, and then Congress starts falling over itself to enact lobbying reform. Meanwhile, nearly all federal Indian health care, education, housing, water, energy, heating and roads programs are getting cut.
I thought when I lost all that money in the casinos (instead of Nevada) that I was helping you out.
Let me be the first to say: We were cheated. Maybe if Indian tribes were remotely benefiting from Abramoff's schemes, then those beating their chests about the taint of tribal casino money might have a leg to stand on. The fundamental mistake they are making, however, is that Indian tribes are somehow running around waving fistfuls of cash in the air. Sure, there are some wealthy tribes out there. But only 20 percent of Indian casinos are doing really well, according to Indian Country Today; the rest are only marginally profitable. The reality, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, is that Native Americans still live in poverty at a rate more than twice the national average. We have the same economic disparity problems that we had before Abramoff, and I bet we are going to have the same problems after Abramoff.
Hopefully your problems won't get much worse, but as a powerless and mostly forgotten segment of today's society, scraps from the scraps won't be of much help.

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