The federal government has taken many stances on the administration of the Native American peoples. From the concept of manifest destiny from which spawned acts of genocide, dishonored treaties, and cultural annihilation, to the present policy upholding the sovereign rights of tribes, the federal government has proven that it is a political rather than moral body.
And politics has been at the center of California Indian matters during the 1990s. 1n 1988, Congress passed the passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was an attempt to balance interests between tribal sovereignty and the states, and required the states to negotiate "in good faith" to reach agreements with the tribes for the operation of casinos. During California Gov. Pete Wilson's tenure, several disputes between the state and tribes led to the shuttering of tribal casinos.
The conflict between the state and the tribes led to the Indian Self-Reliance Initiative, known as Proposition 5, which was put on the ballet to allow tribes to open casinos that offered Nevada-style gaming. California voters approved Proposition 5 by a two-to-one margin in 1998. The approval of this proposition could be deemed a small victory for California Indians, and the awareness of the voters of the need for some form of redress.
Proposition 5 was immediately challenged by Nevada-backed interests and California card room owners. The California Supreme Court ruled in August 1999 that Proposition 5 violated the state constitution. This led to the passage of Proposition 1A, which amended the state constitution to allow for compacts between tribes and state.
Casino gaming does not benefit all the tribes, and the California Indians are among the most economically deprived groups in the nation and one of the lowest socioeconomic groups in Indian Country. They are the most land-poor Indians in the country, and federal funding for California Indians is the lowest per capita of any state. While the economic power of some Indian tribes has increased, it is in large part due to the ability of the remaining California Indians to preserve their traditions, and thus their identity as a proud society that has suffered at the hands of conquerors. The sustenance of their cultural identity has allowed them to develop a political identity, which is a requirement for their survival as a people.
3.2 Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past. (3.2.3)
12.7 Students analyze and compare the powers and procedures of the national, state, tribal, and local governments.