Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gaming, Native American
Kathryn R. L. Rand
Gambling is a part of traditional culture for many North American tribes. Historically, tribes used games as a means of redistributing wealth and circulating possessions within a community. By the late 20th century, there was little wealth to redistribute because the nation's reservations were places of extraordinary poverty. As a result of the federal government's early Indian policies of removal and diminishment of tribal lands, as well as the subsequent development of federal Indian law, tribes had few means of economic development available to them on their reservations. Between one- and two-thirds of reservation Indians lived below the poverty level, and unemployment rates topped 80% in some areas. To survive, tribes have been forced, against the odds, to pursue some form of economic development. Indian gaming—that is, gaming conducted on tribal lands by federally recognized tribes—is the most successful reservation economic development strategy in more than a century and is ...