Tribal gambling group takes stand against Trump’s racism
Tribal gaming interests in the United States have always had something of a fraught relationship with the US Government. After all, despite their status as independent entities, American Indian tribes have been under the thumb of the government in one way or another since the late 19th Century. Not surprisingly, that relationship has not always been as close as one or both parties would like it to be.
That animosity bubbled to the surface last week when the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) issued a statement condemning a recent set of racist comments made by US President Donald Trump regarding four Congresswomen of color. In his remarks, the US President said, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the four Congresswomen in question were born in the United States while a fourth is a naturalized citizen who came to the US from Somalia as a child.
Trump’s blatant racism did not sit well with NIGA chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. who fired back a statement reported on by CDC Gaming Reports saying, “Urging certain groups to return to their countries of origin conjures up dark images of this nation’s past injustices and intolerance,” Stevens said. “We should be honoring the strength of this country represented by one of the most diverse Congress in this Nation’s history.”
Trump has a long, and troubled, relationship with tribal gaming that goes back to his days as a casino owner in Atlantic City. During that era he suggested, without evidence of any kind, that tribal casinos were run by organized crime. He has also suggested that lawmakers vote against a bill that would help the Mashpee Wampanoag of Massachusetts build a casino.
The US President has not responded to NIGA’s statement.