Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exception | Figure | Heritage

The Mashantucket Pequot Reservation is located in eastern Connecticut on a plot of land approximately 2.17 square miles in size. Formally recognized by an act of Congress in 1983 after years of lobbying, making the group the eighth Native American tribe to gain federal recognition. Due to the lack of federal or state restrictions on tribal land, the Pequots decided to use gambling as a revenue generator on their small reservation. Capitalizing on an inherent clientele only two hours away in New York City, they opened Foxwoods in 1992, which has become the world's largest resort casino. While the state of Connecticut reaps 25% of the profits from the slot machines, the reservation takes in the remainder. Due to the newly found wealth, people have scrambled to prove their lineage to the Pequots, which is based upon linking family to tribe members listed in the 1900 census. In hopes to reap the benefits, people have associated themselves with an American Indian identity, which usually constitutes a small part of their cultural and biological heritage.

1 comment:

  1. What I think is interesting about the communal profit sharing of Casinos on Indian Reservations is how black and white the requirements are for being a member of the community. It relies solely on your bloodline - there is no way to pay for membership, marry into the community or convert. And with the profit sharing, even the bloodline qualifications are becoming more strict.