"The New Buffalo": Indian Gaming & Native American Rights




Persinger, Olivia Shelldazlo

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Native American tribes once found self-sufficiency through living off the land and killing buffalo. As time progressed, the tribes' capability of maintaining self-sufficiency changed to where most tribes now promote their economic development, sovereignty, and strong tribal governments through tribal gaming. Thus, tribes have cultivated their "new buffalo" through the Indian Gaming Association. While tribal gaming brings advantages such as increased job opportunities and revenue; it also brings disadvantages such as problem gambling and increased criminal activity. This thesis uses an economic and political focus on topics such as these, asking what the benefits and harms are to Native Americans from tribal gaming. The first step in approaching these questions is to understand the historical development of intergovernmental relations since the beginning of Indian Gaming. Next, scholarly written sources, legal documents, and interviews with contemporary figures fill out a portrait of the current situation. The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate how tribal sovereignty is affected by the presence of the Indian Gaming. Additionally, this research seeks to evaluate how Indian gaming affects Native Americans in an economic and political sense. Although this research is ongoing, this thesis's theory is that tribal governments gain slight tribal sovereignty from tribal gaming; however, the U.S. government gains the most benefits from tribal gaming. This paper suggests the need for the U.S. Government to preserve and protect the tribal sovereignty of Native Americans through tribal gaming instead of using them as political pawns.



Indian Gaming, Tribal Gaming, Native American Rights, Native American, Native American Voting Rights