Native American Culture/My bachelor thesis


Dear Mr Stutton,

I'm a Czech student of English language and literature, which involves historical and cultural studies of the major english speaking countries. I've chosen quite a specific topic for my bachelor thesis - Native American casinos - the history of this phenomenom and most importantly, its consequences on the Native American culture and social life in reservations.

I'm desperately looking for as many legit sources as there are. I've managed to find some, but it's always nice to have something more to lean onto. Therefore, I would like to ask you for help - it would be most kind of you to point me in the right direction and recommend some useful sources of information on this topic, both books and online sources. It would help me very much.

Yours sincerely

I'm not quoteable as an expert on the legal issues of tribal law or the drive for establishing American Indian Casinos. I do know that most traditional Indian cultures here have engaged in gambling as all cultures worldwide have. Beginning in the 1960s, the increased push for tribal sovereignty came from both tribal leaders, their Nation and from special interests connected with Casino Gaming. There have been many articles and books written about the somewhat shady business of establishing casinos on Tribal land to skirt State Laws against casino gambling. Needless to say, the powers that be in Las Vegas were dead set against any of this happening,as they wanted to continue the virtual monopoly on gaming in the US. There have been long, contentious court battles and even violence in some cases. Look up Standing Rock Casino Controversies, New Mexico Pueblos Casinos Legal Fight, Navajo Nation President McDonald Legal Fight, Sheldon Adelson, Gaming Lobby.

Most of the controversies and legal battles are now over, but some of the well-connected players in the set-up game continue to lobby state governments to allow tribal gaming. In some cases, Federal law regarding tribal rights, supersede state law and this had created some interesting battles, particularly in NY State, on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation. I know from our residential time in New Mexico, that this all got pretty contentious, at one point, the Northern Pueblos threatened to block the Federal Interstate highways through their lands unless the State agreed to a revenue sharing deal on the table. We remember the huge piles of concrete barriers ready to be shifted across I-25. Casinos do help tribes with jobs and cash-flow, however. One small Pueblo near our NM home, Sandia Pueblo, had at the time it opened it's first Bingo Hall in an inflatable Quonset hut, 425 members. Since that time, the membership enrollment ranks have swelled and the word is that every man, woman and child in SAndia is a millionaire several times over. They opened a HUGE, mountainside resort Casino about ten years ago which is now one of the biggest entertainment venues in the Southwest, for headliners. It sprawls over the plains face of the foothills above Albuquerque and can be seen from many miles away and the Pueblo itself has grown with new, larger homes going up in developments all over what was once dry range grazing land. The traditional ranching that was the mainstay of Sandia income has taken a back seat tot he new revenue sources. Now Sandia Pueblo and it's neighbor to the South, Isleta Pueblo (also a casino location) have used income to flex their muscles, forcing the City of Albuquerque through the courts to adopt better environmental/water standards for the Rio Grande River, which has benefited all New Mexicans downstream. Casino Gaming has both helped and hurt, removing huge amounts from Sales Tax revenues (similar to EU value-added tax, levied at the State level) which many states rely upon for education and other programs. This occurs because tourist disposable income dollars are reduced by money spent on tribal gaming. Revenue sharing arrangements, where they are in force with the State Governments, do not always fill in the lost income, but gaming is the fact on the ground now, so governments will have to learn to work with it. Hope this helps.

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Richard Sutton


As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.


My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, and our Ebay Store.

UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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