American Indians DNA Testing To Determine Casino Profits EntitlementJune 17, 2011 10:45 am
With potential members of Native American tribes entitled to a share of casino revenues, many tribes in the US have resorted to drastic measures to whittle down membership applications.
One such tribe is the Chukchansi tribe which operates the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Despite business booming, the Chukchansi tribe will now soon vote on whether to introduce a DNA paternity test in order to determine the validity of all claims. At the heart of the tribes concerns is the expansion of the tribe which grew from a mere 23 in the 1980’s to over 1,000 at present.
However, it is believed that the tribe increased its numbers during this time partly in order to increase federal aid, but then decided to suspend new memberships in 2003 when their casino finally opened its doors.
Since then around 700 members have been expelled through non-genetic means and explaining the situation, chairman of the Chukchansi tribe Reggie Lewis commented:
“Since we started a casino a few years ago, all of a sudden we had Chukchansis coming out of the woodwork. We thought DNA would be a way to make sure that we only get people who are qualified to be in the tribe in the tribe.”
However, others see more self-serving interests behind their decision related to
the remaining members receiving an even bigger share of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino pie.
Whatever the case may be, the Chukchansi tribe is not the only native American tribe to contemplate DNA means testing. Already some of the 565 tribes representing almost 2 million native Indians in the U.S. have used the test to drastically reduce their numbers. As a protester at an anti-culling rally explained recently:
“There are tribes across our country that have terminated a significant portion of their citizens. In California alone, nearly 2,500 Indian people have been stripped of their tribal citizenship since the approval and expansion of Indian gaming, stripping them of the right to vote, representation for their allotted tribal lands and healthcare.”