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Journal Article

The Distribution of Wealth, Sovereignty, and Culture Through Indian Gaming

Naomi Mezey
Stanford Law Review
Vol. 48, No. 3 (Feb., 1996), pp. 711-737
Published by: Stanford Law Review
DOI: 10.2307/1229281
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229281
Page Count: 27
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The Distribution of Wealth, Sovereignty, and Culture Through Indian Gaming
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Abstract

Gaming on Native American reservations under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) has generated enormous revenues for some tribes, but also has engendered much controversy. In this note, Naomi Mezey argues that the redistributive effects of the statute, and hence a tribe's ability to benefit from the IGRA, depend on the cultural paradigm within which the tribe functions. Ms. Mezey considers the IGRA's operation under three cultural models-Postmodern, Traditional, and Culture as Negotiation-and concludes that, by not considering the cultural choices it creates, the IGRA fails to provide an effective means of strengthening tribal sovereignty and economic development. In particular, Ms. Mezey stresses the IGRA's ironic effect of forcing tribes to surrender some measure of sovereignty in order to exercise the federal gaming right. She also suggests that those tribes that reap the greatest benefits from the IGRA may suffer least from the problems the statute sought to eliminate.

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