Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Activities of a Casino"

This poem is spillover from the July 9, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette. It also fills the "Silver and Gold" square in my 7-1-20 card for the Winterfest in July Bingo. This poem belongs to the Iron Horses thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"The Activities of a Casino"

[Monday, August 29, 2016]

"I am just so fed up with this!" Briar said
as he stormed into the meeting.

The picnic shelter already held
three of his friends and
their favorite teacher.

"Now what?" Haiwee said,
watching her student take a seat.

"Lewis Hunter and Ida Taggee
are working together," Briar said.
"I heard them talking about it."

"Well, that's not good," Haiwee said.

Both of them served on the tribal council.
Lewis was a corrupt politician with
a gambling problem, while Ida
agitated for disenrollment.

"It makes a twisted sort of
sense," Briar said. "If we're
right about Lewis taking the fat,
then teaming up with Ida would
make it easier to hide that because
the payments would still increase."

Kimama gave a glum nod, tucking
her hair behind her ear. "Yeah, if you
cut the pemmican into fewer pieces,
then everybody gets a bigger piece."

"Except for the people who get
cut out." Cliff drummed his fingers
on the table. "They don't get anything."

"Technically, they would still qualify
for government assistance, just nothing
from the tribe anymore," Haiwee said.

"It's still wrong," Cliff said, frowning.

"I agree with you, but it's important
to distinguish between what the tribe
gives and what the government gives,"
Haiwee said. "Ida keeps arguing that
the government can take care of
people well enough, so there's
no need for the tribe to support
those who don't 'really' belong."

"That's bullshit," Briar said.
"We need to do something."

"Like what?" Kimama said.
"They won't listen to us. We
are nowhere near old enough
to run for the tribal council."

Haiwee sighed. "I guess
She Walks in Mist was right.
The bigger casino is causing
problems for the college. People
get distracted by silver and gold,
and they forget the good red road."

"When the capital development
of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is
prone to be poorly done," Briar said.

"Well, yeah," David said. "Having
more money for individuals and
for the schools is great, but we're
also seeing more problems with
gambling, drinking, and doing drugs.
The casino encourages bad habits."

"Stupid Lewis encourages it,
you mean," Briar grumbled. "He
keeps bringing his sleazy friends,
and a bunch of crooked politicians
are bound to get into trouble."

"As if we need to import that,"
Cliff said. "We have more than
enough bad history of our own."

"Yeah, and Ida's trying to use that
to pretend people don't belong here,"
Kimama said. "Like she's pure as
pipestone herself -- everybody
knows she's half Puyallup."

"Okay, we all know what
the problems are," Haiwee said.
"Now what can we do about them?"

"Break up the collaboration, if
possible," Kimama suggested.
"Lewis and Ida alone would be
half the trouble they are together."

"It's really all about money, at
the root," David said thoughtfully.
"If we could disrupt that somehow --
without wrecking our whole economy --
then that'd take the smoke out of them."

"Well, Ida's whole goal is to eject people
so she and her cronies will get more money
from the per capita payments," said Briar.
"Block the payments somehow, and
there's no point ejecting the people.
It's not politically motivated here
like it is in some other tribes."

"What if we could make it so
that any payments owed to
former members wouldn't
get routed into the pool for
individual payments, but for
tribal investments instead?"
David said, tilting his head.

"That could work," Briar said
as he leaned forward, resting
his elbows on the picnic table.

"No, the tribal council would
have no incentive to do that,"
Haiwee said. "It'd never fly."

"It would if we told everyone
that they're just in it for greed,"
Kimama said. "Half the tribe
believes that already. "They
might follow Lewis because he
talks a good talk and butters
them up with promises, but
they don't really trust him."

"Good point," Haiwee said.
"All right, what could we do with
the money if we redirected it?
We should frame a proposal,
and it should include things we
could do with the tribe's part
of the casino money anyway."

"Why not work on increasing
the tribe's take too?" said David.
"The payments are getting so high
that some people don't really know
what to do with them. We could
honestly accomplish more by
building big things to share."

"We can include that in
the proposal," Haiwee agreed.
"I'll even arrange for you to get
some class credit for writing it up.
We just need a few project ideas."

"I think we should focus on finishing
the Pomp Family Fun Park," said David.
"It's not much use with just novelty shops
to attract guests. We need to launch
some of the thematic modules, at least
the midway for games and rides."

"Don't forget the food," Kimama said.
"Lots of gamblers drop by for that."

"I'm more interested in having
a movie theatre that will actually
show tribal films," Haiwee said.
"We need the language practice."

"Point," David conceded. "I'd love
to have native cartoons for the kids."

"The high and low rope courses
would be a lot cheaper and faster
to install, though," Cliff pointed out.

"So maybe do those first, then
use the extra funds they generate
for the next theme," Haiwee said.

"We could invest more money in
the Many Horses Business Incubator,"
Briar said. "Launching new businesses
helps everyone because that creates
new jobs as well as services."

"I like that idea," David said.
"We need more jobs that aren't
part of the casino business."

"Agreed," Haiwee said. "Okay,
I think that's enough to start with.
Work up a proposal and have a draft
of it on my desk by this Friday."

"I can do that," Kimama said.
"We'll break it down into sections,
each write up our ideas, and then
I'll put the pieces together."

"I look forward to seeing it,"
Haiwee said with a smile.

They all took out notebooks
or tablet computers, and they
checked their calendars to make
a schedule for collaborating.

Maybe if all of them worked
hard enough, they could actually
rise above the activities of a casino.

* * *


Lewis Hunter -- He has terra-cotta skin, brown eyes, and short dark hair starting to go gray. He is tall and stout with a big beer belly. His heritage is Shoshone-Bannock, but he only speaks English. Lewis earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a Communicaton minor at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. Currently he lives in Fort Hall, Idaho in the Fort Hall Reservation. Lewis serves on the tribal council of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. Charming when he wants to be, he often talks people into bad ideas. He also brings other corrupt politicans to the tribe's casino. He has a gambling problem, and so do many of his friends.
Qualities: Good (+2) Charisma, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Knows Everyone on the Rez, Good (+2) Sports Fan, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Corrupt Politician

Bachelor of Science in Political Science
at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho

Department website: https://www.isu.edu/polisci/
Program Admissions Requirements
Code Title Credits
Completion of a minimum of 24 credit hours with at least a 2.25 GPA.
Satisfactory completion of General Education Objectives 1 (English Composition), 2 (Principles of Speech), and 3 (Mathematics).
Completion of the following courses, (or their equivalents) with at least a C grade in each.
POLS 1101 American National Government 3
POLS 2202 Introduction to Politics Critical Thinking and Analysis 3
A signed agreement between the student and a member of the faculty agreeing to academic advising.
Total Credits 6
Course List
General Education
The listing below includes program requirements that also fulfill General Education requirements.
Code Title Credits
Objective 1
ENGL 1101 Writing and Rhetoric I
ENGL 1102 Writing and Rhetoric II 6
Objective 2
COMM 1101 Fundamentals of Oral Communication 3
Objective 3
MGT 2216 Business Statistics 3
Objective 4
ENGL 1115 Major Themes in Literature
ART 1100 Introduction to Art 6
Objective 5
GEOL 1100 The Dynamic Earth
& 1100L The Dynamic Earth Lab
NTD 2239 Nutrition 7
Objective 6 - POLS 1101 6
Students must fulfill Objective 7 or Objective 8 3
Objective 7 - POLS 2202
Objective 8 - N/A
Objective 9
ENGL 2212 Introduction to Folklore and Oral Tradition 3
Total Credits 37
Course List
Major Requirements
Code Title Credits
POLS 1101 American National Government (Partially Fulfills Objective 6) 3
POLS 2202 Introduction to Politics Critical Thinking and Analysis (Fulfills Objective 7) 3
POLS 2221 Introduction to International Relations 3
POLS 3313 Introduction to Political Philosophy 3
POLS 3331 Comparative Politics Framework for Analysis 3
POLS 4427 Voting and Public Opinion 3
POLS 4404 The Legislative Process 3
POLS 4442 Constitutional Law 3
POLS 4460 Senior Seminar 3

Choose 12 credits of program electives from any of the courses in the political science curriculum (excluding POLS 4459).12

POLS 4452 Budgeting and Finance: 3 semester hours.
This course explores the dynamics of the budget process in government as well as detailed issues in budgeting and finance. The main objective is to provide the class with a thorough analysis of budgeting terms, methods and problems. The course covers general issues in budgeting, revenues for government, economic development, and citizen participation. D

POLS 4466 Public Lands Policy: 3 semester hours.
Analysis of the historical and contemporary use and disposition of the federal public lands. The agencies that manage the public lands, major laws, and regulations and the political conflict that surrounds their use and conservation. D

POLS 4478 Federal Indian Law: 3 semester hours.
Examination of tribal governments; their relationship with the federal government; sovereignty, jurisdictional conflicts over land and resources; and economic development. Equivalent to ANTH 4478. D

POLS 4479 Tribal Governments: 3 semester hours.
Complex legal position of Indian tribes as self-governing entities; principles of inherent powers; governmental organization, lawmaking, justice, relation to state and federal government. Equivalent to ANTH 4479. D

Students who desire to complete a pre-law emphasis should consult with a pre-law advisor in the Department of Political Science.
Total Credits 39
Course List
Degree Totals
Code Title Credits
Program Admission Requirements (w/o General Education) 0
General Education 37
Major Requirements (w/o General Education) 33
Upper Division Free Electives 18
Free Electives 32
Total Credits 120
Course List

Communication Minor
at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho

Core Courses:
• CMP 2201 Business & Professional Communication
• CMP 2209 Persuasion
Choose FOUR Electives (at least THREE from 3000 or above):
• CMP 3308 Groups and Communication
• CMP 3320 Foundations of Leadership
• CMP 3382 Political Communication
• CMP 4420 Advanced Leader Communication

Ida Taggee -- She has fair skin and long straight brown hair. She is short and fat. Her heritage is Puyallup and Shoshone. She speaks English and Shoshone. Ida lives in Fort Hall, Idaho in the Fort Hall Reservation. She serves on the tribal council of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. Having figured out that fewer people would mean a bigger piece of pie for the remainder, she advocates disenrollment.
Qualities: Good (+2) Cook, Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Shoshone-Bannock Culture, Good (+2) Smooth Talker, Good (+2) Tough
Poor (-2) Disenrollment Leader

* * *

“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done”
John Maynard Keynes

For the location notes of the Idaho Fort Hall Reservation Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Revitalization Project, see "The Hearts They Leave Behind."

Casinos have pros and cons. The economic benefits can help the whole tribe. Per capita payments can lift families out of poverty and make tremendous benefits to children's futures. Because some people have squandered lump-sum payments, some tribes attach conditions (like graduation from high school) to payments and/or space them out over several years. A drawback of this approach is that it can prevent people from accessing the whole potential for big-ticket items such as buying a house or attending an expensive college. On the downside, casinos also fuel problem gambling, dependency, and corruption.

Disenrollment is a vicious form of self-erasure and genocide, because it pretends that some people are not Native American. While obtaining the benefits of tribal heritage requires official endorsement, the disadvantages are dispensed at a glance in wider society.

Here is a thoughtful look at ways to set per capita policies.

owasicu owe waste sni
'the way of the fat-taker is no good'

Taking the fat can refer to taking the best part, or taking more than your fair share, leaving others with little or nothing. Hence "fat takers" as a rude term for white people, but it can refer to greedy people in general. This is a particularly despised vice in tribal cultures that value generosity and humility.

Pemmican is Native American trail food. It was traditionally made from fat, dried meat, and berries. Modern recipes often add spices and other things, improving the flavor and turning it into something like a meal bar. Learn how to make it.

A key distinction between local-America and Terramagne-America is how disenrollment work. Here, people pretend that it makes people not Native American anymore, which is nonsense -- they still have all the ugly history and discrimination, just stripped of the few benefits. In Terramagne, disenrollment only removes people from that one tribe. It does not affect any other tribal membership they may have or gain, nor what the U.S. government owes them. Some states have a catchall reservation for Native Americans without a tribe, but most don't.

The good red road is a Native American phrase that represents an ethical and spiritual life according to tribal traditions.

Pipestone or catlinite is usually red, but black and green varieties also exist. This sacred stone is used to make ceremonial pipes in Shoshone and othe Plains cultures. Here it's a reference to purity, riffing on the European phrase "pure as the driven snow," which hardly applies to red heritage.

In Shoshone and other First Nations, smoke symbolizes breath, communication, and prayer. Here it's also riffing on the European phrase "take the wind out of his sails."
Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, economics, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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