Small Recompense

It is past time for Americans of European ancestry to move away from the racist rationales of immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents, and to appreciate that our predecessors on this continent made it their home for thousands of years before royal grants and land developers turned it into “real estate.” Partial recognition of the amorality of this gigantic land-grab led to the legal patchwork of recognized tribal nations to which the federal government granted some rights late in the 19th century. One totally unanticipated result of this has been the recently recognized right of these nations to be free of state regulation of gambling.

Some might consider this to be generous. Others might maintain that it is a miserable token reward for the loss of their ancestral homes and lands. In any case, snidely referring to these native American groups as “casino tribes” is an elitist and ignorant way to categorize people whose ancestors had been here for millennia.

No one can contest the fact that the Chumash people lived in this area before the Europeans took over their lands, and enslaved and largely wiped out the population. If casino money enables their few descendants to take pride in their traditional culture, and even to buy some land adjacent to their pitifully small reservation, they should be applauded, not hindered. – Robert Jaffe, Carpinteria

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