That notorious deal that was struck to purchase Manhattan Island from the Native Americans for twenty-six dollars worth of beads must have stuck in their collective craws like a stubborn bit of turkey gristle from a hastily prepared sandwich, and they finally found a way to appeal to so-called "Americans" on their own level: use their own greed and avarice against them!
Open a casino!
The government can't say no to them due to the provisions of the act that put reservations on the map (in some of the most unattractive real estate in the country, by the way). So now, certain Indian tribes are getting rich from watching white people in baggy pants and colorful polyester-blend tops throw money into silver slots hoping to get some of it dropped back to them. The beauty of the casino business is that the House always wins, and everyone is okay with that, as long as a few people make out all right and there are enough bells and whistles going off when the money starts totaling up on the inserted card to keep the folks standing there blindly jamming more money into machines with absolutely no hope of getting an Orange Crush or a Coke in return.
Had the Native Americans who gathered on Plymouth Rock in the early 1600s known what havoc these seemingly pleasant folks all dressed in black with the buckled hats would visit on them in the very near future, they would have been less forthcoming with the roasting ears and the popcorn, adopting a refrain that my ex-wife used to tell me sometimes in the movie theater: "Get your own bag."
How can you not feel for these people who were so thoroughly shafted by the United States government? And how can you not wish them well when they build monumental casinos with Orrefors crystal sculptures of noble tribesmen preparing to spear bison in their hotel lobbies, all bought with the money of the ancestors of the very people they fought so bitterly against at the time when they were served eviction notices signed in congressional blood? Some of these dudes playing blackjack even have wispy goatees just like George Armstrong Custer. And by nightfall, they're scalped all right! Oh, yes they are!
I can envision the board members of one of these Native American casinos celebrating Thanksgiving this year. Perhaps they'll hire out a wait staff to bring on the fine roast, all dressed in retro Pilgrim hats and white aprons.
As they bend their glasses to be filled with Dom Perignon, perhaps they'll pull out a fifty dollar Monte Cristo Cuban cigar smuggled in from the Bahamas and tell one of the Pilgrims to light it for them.
At this, another Native American will make an observation. "You know," He'll begin. "When we gave them cigarettes, we thought that would do them in -- who could have guessed how long it would take?"
"Pretty resilient, aren't they?" the Native American with the cigar will respond. "But with any luck, we got them on the ropes now. All we need to do is give them a glimmer of hope that they can escape their circumstances with the simple pull of a lever or the drawing of a lucky number."
"That's the American Way, right?"
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