Saturday, January 31, 2009
Tohono O'odham in poverty ask, 'Where are the casino millions going?'
Tohono O'odham living in the most desperate poverty ask: 'Where are the casino millions going?'
Tohono O'odham youths, pushed to the breaking point by the US military and Tohono O'odham police, too often have to choose between jail, hunger and leaving their homeland
By Brenda Norrell
Every week, Tohono O'odham friends call and say they have no money, no money for food, no money to heat their homes at night and no money for their elderly parents.
Every week, Tohono O'odham friends ask where are the millions going from the Tohono O'odham casinos. The crowds overflow at the Tohono O'odham's Desert Diamond Casino on the edge of Tucson, while the Tohono O'odham people continue to live in the most desperate poverty. It only takes a drive across Tohono O'odham land to see what is happening and what is not happening, in regards to poverty.
Now, a new $550 million casino is in the plans:
Where are the millions going? The Tohono O'odham Legislative Council has long been able to oppress its people with the heavy arm of Homeland Security, the National Guard and Tohono O'odham police.
Now, the militarization is worse. Tohono O'odham are stopped constantly without provocation and threatened and intimidated by US military, Border Patrol, federal agents and Tohono O'odham police.
Tohono O'odham youths, pushed to the breaking point by the US militarization and police, too often have to choose between jail, hunger and leaving their homeland.
The Tohono O'odham Council does not allow outside reporters into its chambers for council sessions. In northern Arizona, the Navajo Nation Council welcomes press and even provides copies of resolutions. That does not happen in the Tohono O'odham Council chambers. Outside reporters are told to leave. The best that reporters can hope for when asking questions is to have their lives threatened for asking questions.
With no accountability, the Tohono O'odham people say this crime against humanity continues.