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Living With Indians Isn't So Bad

Anti-Indian Groups Fail At Ballot Box

Resentment of Indian success, and particularly of the wealth generated by a few tribal casinos, has fueled the rise of a number of grass-roots anti-sovereignty groups across the country. But so far none of these groups, from Washington state to Oklahoma to Upstate New York and Connecticut, has achieved much success at the ballot box.

... In New York state, the Upstate Citizens for Equality in the Oneida and Seneca-Cayuga territories has protested land claims by Nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy, and has picketed a chain of gas stations and convenience stores owned by the Oneida Indian Nation. A candidate backed by the group gave a scare to incumbent U.S. Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert, R-23rd District, in the 2000 Republican primary, but his independent campaign fizzled in the general election. In 2002, another candidate sympathetic to the group withdrew before the voting for lack of support, and Boehlert was re-elected with 74 percent of the vote.

... In the analysis of Oklahoma’s [Republican congressman Tom] Cole, however, voters have been more impressed by the jobs and economic growth produced by tribal governments, a prosperity, he emphasizes, that coincided with their exercise of their sovereign powers.

"These jobs aren’t going to be exported to China," he said. "These profits aren’t going to be sent out of the area. This is where our headquarters are."

The article comes from a sympathetic source, but it's an interesting bit of information. It's easy to fixate on the conflict between Native Americans and their non-Native neighbors (particularly when the neighbors are poor and feel vulnerable, or employ racial or nationalist rhetoric -- it's interesting that some of the groups share the name "One Nation" with the right-wing Australian party). But it seems that most non-Natives aren't so upset, and may in fact feel solidarity with the Natives on economic grounds.


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