I’m not certain if Native American Gangs or casinos owned by Native American tribes do more harm to the heritage of a once proud nation.  Both gangs and casinos serve two evil masters — money and power — and in the end, the result is always emotional evisceration and a disgraced death.

I wonder if the irony of American Indians turning on each other in modern day intra-tribal rivalries just to earn a larger share of casino blood money is worth the rampage against their founding humanity?

“Showing your colors” takes on a whole new edge beyond gangland when you have to open your mouth for a DNA swab and roll up your sleeve to bleed out proof of you are who you thought you have always been — or maybe not:

For Indians who lose membership in a tribe, the financial impact can be huge. Some small tribes with casinos pay members monthly checks of $15,000 or more out of gambling profits. Many provide housing allowances and college scholarships. Children who are disenrolled can lose access to tribal schools.

The money and the immense power it has conferred on tribes that had endured grinding poverty for decades have enticed many tribal governments to consolidate control over their gambling enterprises by trimming membership rolls, critics and independent analysts say.

“Sometimes it is political vendettas or family feuds that have gotten out of hand,” said David Wilkins, a Lumbee Indian and professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota who has studied disenrollment across the country. “But in California, it seems more often than not that gaming revenue is the precipitating factor.”

Do these warring tribes realize they are now killing each other off for the want of money the same way the U.S. Cavalry tried to wipe their ancestors from the face of the earth for the want of gold in the Black Hills?

If money means more than bloodline, I shudder to think how many of the rest of us could stand the results of a DNA test to prove who we really are and where we really came from and how our entire lifestyle could be tugged from under us because of a misshapen written record from antiquity that could condemn us with a single swipe of a quill pen.


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