Matt D
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Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Tue Jul 29, 2003 10:52 pm

Recently, I took a drive out to the Low Desert (Cochella Valley/Salton Sea area) of SoCal. Since it was hotter than $hit, I decided to go to one of the so-called "Indian" Casinos.

I saw a rather interesting sign at the entrance when driving in:

'Welcome to the Sovereign Nation of _______ Tribe' (I don't want to say which one it was).

Then, after having a nice lunch, I decided to try my luck on the [quarter] slot machines.

Well, I stuck a $20 in, and after winning a few, losing a few, with 35 credits still on it, I hit a jackpot (10,000 quarters, or $2500).

So I thought that was cool. Definitely made my day. But then, before giving me the stack of cash, I had to fill out a declaration that I indeed won that money, and it is subject to taxation. So as I walked out of there with a stack of 25 fresh new Uncle Bens in my pocket, and a lot of quarters (I always quit when I'm ahead), one thing trouble me. If this was really the "soverign" nation they claimed to be, then why am I being required to sign tax forms? If this Reservation is indeed "out of the country", then technically, whatever I win there is none of the IRS's business. Also, there was no "customs" at the "border". The currency didn't bother me. Heck, most of Mexico uses the US$D.

So can someone please 'splain to me what's going on?

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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Wed Jul 30, 2003 3:00 am

Putting up a sign in your driveway really doesn`t have much legal power. It`s a political statement, to be sure, but legally it means nothing.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Wed Jul 30, 2003 4:47 am

Putting up a sign in your driveway really doesn`t have much legal power.

From what I understand, Avt is technically correct. While the U.S. Government gives the various tribes the "Sure, you're a sovereign nation!" wink-wink, nudge-nudge speech, they're no more sovereign than if I planted a flag in my front yard and declared that my property was seceding from the Union.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Sovereign Or Not?

Wed Jul 30, 2003 4:54 am

They are called Native Americans (cuz they were here first). I am Indian (from India, duh) and it really bugs when the natives themselves as well as other refer to themselves as Indians. What, now everyone is embracing ignorance?? It has been 500 freakin years since Coloubus' mistake, why is not anyone interested is fixing that BS!?

In any event, I think they are using the word to make themselves feel more independent appart from the USA. To possess sovereignity, one must simply have supreme power especially over a body politic or freedom from external control, i.e. controlling influence.

Anything else is...technical.

I think they are not, because they still need a vote from the state they are in to built a casino, otherwise they don't need anyone's approval.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Wed Jul 30, 2003 1:49 pm

But the fact remains that the resevations are indeed sovereign nations under non revokable treaties. True they need state permission to operate casinos (I don't understand that part at all) and, as long as you are driving on a state highway, you are protected by the US Constitution. Just don't go out into the desert and get caught breaking any laws, You may just find that they need not read you the Miranda warning (though they probably will), you can be held incommunicado for extended periods and the punishment will probably be harsher than in the city.

Also you cannot serve a civil summons on a reservation to a resident without tribal approval. In fact many criminal summons cannot be served on tribal lands.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Wed Jul 30, 2003 9:03 pm

Congrats to you. I drove to Cache Creek in Northern California last night and won $2500 on a dollar slot ("The Mummy" -- oooooohhhh!).

BTW, the weather you mentioned made it up here with lightning flashes but no thunder, and minimal rain. Probably only my 3rd or 4th time to see lightning since I moved to California about 10 years ago.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:53 am

I had the chance to spend some time in the Navajo Nation last summer, which is located in southern Utah and northern Arizona mainly. While there I spoke with a Navajo legislator, and he told me that one of the things that was being considered in the Navajo legislature was the concept of trying to get statehood for the Navajo nation...a rather interesting idea...

Also, the Four Corners National Monument is run by the Navajo Nation as well, something which I thought was a little ironic given the whole "sovereignty" thing...

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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:52 am

Statehood... why would they want statehood?? Look at all the benefits they have for NOT being a state!
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Thu Jul 31, 2003 2:46 pm

You can't be kinda pregnant, or kinda sovereign. Either you are or you're not, and anyone who thinks the reservations are is deluding themselves. BTW, I'm not for one or the other, I don't have an interest in this. But if they were truly sovereign, they wouldn't need approval from anyone for casinos, they'd have their own government, and wouldn't receive any support from the States ( or Canada, depending on where they are). By any measure, they are not sovereign anything.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Fri Aug 01, 2003 12:18 pm

The Indian Nations are legitimate governments. They have no obligation to adopt or follow the laws of the states that they are "in" (actually, surrounded by), because they have separate existence.

Many of the basic functions of government are handled by the federal government, by practical necessity, but many tribal entities issue passports (legit), they have their own courts, customs, license plates, etc.

The casinos exist precisely because the states have no say.
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RE: Indian Reservations: Soverign Or Not?

Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:43 am

Sccutler, as for customs you mentioned, what they do in them? As I understand, no of them has embassies or issues visas and I doubt they has to fear illegal immigrants...

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