American History02 Nov 2007 01:47 pm
A new edition of The Intellectual Devotional, this time with a focus on American History, is now available in stores. (Click here to order your copy.) As well as continuing to expand on posts from the General Edition, “The Devoted Intellect” blog will introduce and expand on material from the American History devotional. Today’s entry on “The Pequot War” draws from the new book’s “War & Peace” section.
The Pequot War of the late 1630′s began the long process of marginalizing Native Americans in North America. Thousands were killed, those who survived were sold into slavery, and the tribe itself was officially disbanded by the Connecticut government. In 1675, King Philip’s War continued this process, and it went on unabated until Andrew Jackson forced the Cherokee to travel the “Trail of Tears” in 1838. Eventually, Native Americans were given sovereignty outside of Federal jurisdiction in tiny enclaves. In 1987, this led to a curious unintended consequence.
One of the most highly regulated industries in the United States is gambling: many states forbid it outright, and others allow it only under strict supervision and in return for extremely high tax rates. But in the 1987 case California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians the Supreme Court ruled that state regulation of Native American gambling unlawfully impinged on the sovereignty of tribal reservations. Because of their unique status, Native Americans were free to operate casinos.
This case was no mere footnote, either. The descendants of those few Pequot Indians who survived the 1636-8 war expanded Foxwoods from a small bingo hall to the world’s largest casino. The state of Connecticut collects 25% of the casino’s revenues, and in 2006 that was over $200 million. After a tragic centuries-long history, the marginalization of Native Americans spawned one of the biggest businesses in America.
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