I honestly wish though our stereotype of casinos was never meant to be.
Yeah, I am definitely with you on that. One of the stories I was told actually related to that, albeit a bit tangentially. It was not directly
related to the casinos themselves, but is one of the many stories about the road to how we got here. Basically, there was federal money put aside for some tribes around the time of the Civil War. You probably know more about this than I do. Unfortunately, as I said, I have been fairly ignorant about most of this. There may have also been money from the state. Not sure. But in any case, the money had been mismanaged and not invested or anything, so about 100 years later around the late 1940s or early '50s, the same exact sum of money was just sitting there and had obviously lost a LOT of its value because of inflation.
Anyhow, there was a large gathering in San Francisco that my great aunt and at least one of my father's cousins (as a very small boy) was present for where they were deciding whether to accept the money. The catch was basically (and I don't know all the specifics) that accepting the money equated to forfeiting a great deal of the tribes' sovereign status. That is part of the reason why the money sat so long. It was supposed to have been well intended to compensate the tribes for the land that was taken, etc., but was part of the "great bargain" that would ultimately cause the tribes to give up even more of their identities if accepted. Speaker after speaker stood up against the idea, and judging from the crowd reaction, the audience was pretty much unanimous that they still did not want to accept the funds and give up their sovereignty. But then it came time for the "blind" vote, and when the anonymous votes were tallied up, they told a much different story. Basically, once people could speak anonymously, money spoke louder, and the overwhelming majority was to accept the funds and give up their remaining lands and sovereignty. According to my father's cousin, his mom told him as they were leaving something along the lines of, "Many people forgot today that they are Indians. Don't ever forget that you are an Indian. EVER."**
But that whole duality is part of the reason for that identity crisis from that time. And it was apparently part of the trend around the country during that time period of people who had that background essentially renouncing it or at least quietly relegating it to the background.
I hope you find this interesting. I may be a bit off on some of the details. Again, this was something I never really knew about and only just learned, so I could easily be mistaken about some points. But I think it is mostly correct. It was really cool learning about that.
One of my distant cousins is very much into the culture and is performing at this annual celebration, which we plan to attend this year with our kids so that we and they can learn a lot more: http://touramador.com/chawse-big-time-indian-celebration **FN: And, yes, I realize "Indian" is not considered the politically-correct term. But (1) that is the term that was used by her at the time, so in paraphrasing what she said, I wanted to capture it as accurately as I could (at least, as it was passed on to me); and (2) nobody in my family who shares that background (and this is true of many of the Native Americans in Northern California) do not shy away from or object to the term, even though most understand that it is historically inaccurate. I tend to not shy away from it either, but my apologies if it offends anyone who feels differently. Again, I use it only in the context in which it was used at the time, which is directly quoting (or at least paraphrasing a quote) someone from an event in the late '40s/early '50s.