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| xv Introduction Becca Gercken T here are clear and profound diffferences between Indigenous gaming in the UnitedStatesandCanada,andyetacademicsandnonacademics,American and Canadian Indians, and European Americans and European Canadians make sweeping generalizations about North American Aboriginal casinos.1 Assumptionsaremadeaboutthesamenessof IndigenousgaminginNorthAmerica, from its origins to its impact.With GamblingonAuthenticity, we attempt to explain why people look for these similarities and even imagine them when they are not there.Thegoalof ouranalysisof gaminginitsvariousfunctions—bothculturaland economic—is twofold: to clarify how gaming is used to talk about Indian-ness in both academic and nonacademic conversations, and to explore what the rhetoric surrounding Indigenous gaming reveals about perceptions of and anxiety over Indigenous sovereignty. In an efffort to offfer a more complete and nuanced picture of gaming as sign and strategy than currently exists in academia or the general public, Gambling on Authenticitycrossesbothdisciplinaryandgeographicboundaries.Thereisagrowing body of scholarship on gaming in North America, but virtually all of it focuses on economics or politics, stays either above or below the 49th parallel, and often focuses on a particular tribe’s or band’s gaming operation. This collection instead xvi | Introduction offfers a transnational examination of North American gaming and considers the role Indigenous artists and scholars play in producing representations of Indigenous gambling. Each case study offfers a historically and politically nuanced analysis of gaming, and, together, the studies create an interdisciplinary reading of gaming informed by both the social sciences and the humanities. Gambling on Authenticityworkstoilluminatethenot-so-newIndianbeingformedinthepublic’s consciousness by and through gaming, asking readers to consider how Indigenous identity is being undone, reconstructed, and reimagined in the Indian casino era. ■ ■ ■ The Congress fijinds that . . . Indian tribes have the exclusive rights to regulate the gaming activity on Indian lands if the gaming activity is not specifijically prohibited by Federal law and is conducted within a State which does not, as a matter of criminal law and public policy, prohibit such a gaming activity. ―United States Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, October 17, 1988 Indians bet the future on bingo palace. ―Roy Bragg, “Indians Bet the Future on Bingo Palace,” Houston Chronicle, November 6, 1998 It used to be that claims of Indigenous identity were most likely to be met with the question, “How Indian are you?” Now an Indigenous person is just as likely to be asked, “How much casino money do you get?” Indian gaming has entered the public consciousness in such a way that it is associated with all Indians, regardless of whether or not their tribe has a casino. The pervasiveness of Indian gaming in North Americans’ conception of contemporary Indian identity has transformed some Indian stereotypes, while reinforcing others and creating new ones. Given how central gaming has become to conversations about Indians—our identity, our economy, our sovereignty—it is surprising to look back and see how little media attentionitreceived,especiallyatthenationallevel,whenIndiangamingwasmade legal in the United States. On October 17, 1988, when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) passed, therewerefewbignewspaperheadlinesandnomagazinearticles.2 Asimplesearch of newspapers in the months surrounding the passage of IGRA reveals a spike in articles in September and October, but the number never exceeds 100 and drops offf precipitously by December 1988. In the few states in which Indian gaming was in Introduction | xvii place—Florida,Minnesota,andCalifornia—theactreceivedsomemediacoverage, but the story was local, tied only to nearby Indian nations and the potential impact on the state’s economy.3 Today, Indian gaming exists in twenty-eight states, and 43 percent of the 566 federally recognized tribes have gaming operations. However, even with increased publicawarenessof theexpansionof gamingandtheeconomicandpoliticalpower it has brought to tribes, there was still little buzz outside of Indian Country when Jon Tester, Democratic senator from Montana, led a reexamination of IGRA in 2014. Tester acknowledged that “while gaming is not a cure-all for the challenges facing Indian Country, it has provided numerous benefijits to the communities who operate successful facilities.We need to make sure all tribal nations can determine the best possible future for their people, whether that’s gaming or not.”4 Tester’s comments reveal progress in federal-Indian relations: the phrase “tribal nations” acknowledges sovereignty (at least of federally recognized tribes). Moreover, the recognition that tribes themselves “can determine the best possible future for their people” precludes any hint of the Marshall Trilogy’s paternalistic legacy.5 Yet even withthesesignsof progressinfederal-Indianrelations,NativeAmericansexpressed anxietyabouttheactionsof theSenateCommitteeonIndianAfffairs(SCIA);Indian Country Today’s headline for July 28, 2014, read, “Indian Gaming Reform: What Is Congress Plotting, and HowWill SCIA [Senate Committee on Indian...


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