Indian Country 52 #17 – Ca$ino (Greed)
“Calvin Phelps, a white cigarette manufacturer from North Carolina, seems an unlikely candidate for membership in a California Indian tribe. He even served as vice-chairman.
Phelps is serving a 40-month federal prison term for fraud. But that hasn’t kept him from voting via email in a tribal government election for the tiny Alturas Rancheria in Modoc County, which operates the Desert Rose Casino.
The tribe has just three to seven members, depending on who is counting. Perhaps the smallest of California’s 68 casino tribes, Alturas Rancheria in recent years has adopted five members as a way to make money. Two of them, including Phelps, are white.”
Dale Risling, deputy regional director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said he could not recall another California tribe adopting white people who were neither Indians nor Californians.
The tribe’s adoptees came with ambitious money-making ideas, including a second, much larger casino, a cigarette manufacturing plant, a smoke shop and offshore gaming. None of these plans ever panned out.
The newcomers have divided the tribe and stoked a conflict over tribal revenues that has consumed an outsized amount of time and money in state and federal courts. The U.S. Postal Service even had to decide recently which of the feuding members was entitled to receive the tribe’s mail.
At stake is control of $2 million a year in revenue: the roughly $700,000 the tribe makes from the Desert Rose Casino, the $1.1 million it receives in revenue sharing from the state’s big casino tribes, and several hundred thousand dollars in federal funds earmarked for tribal governments.”
– The News Tribune, Tiny California casino tribe adopts white men in failed attempt to profit.
Download the 18″x24″ poster (.pdf), Indian Country 52 #17 – Ca$ino (Greed).
Indian Country 52
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of graphic design by creating posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country.
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