In the last few years, California has witnessed numerous controversies surrounding casinos and gaming. The purpose of this study project is to research the background to this situation. We will pose some questions and encourage you to find your own answers, then debate your findings with others.
1. How many First Nations were there in what is now called California before the invasion of Europeans?
2. What happened to these First Nations?
3. Did California’s First Nations give up their lands to others willingly?
4. Were California’s First Nations compensated for their lands?
5. What role did the State of California play for or against First Nations people?
6. What role did the US government play for or against First Nations people?
7. What role did the media play for or against First Nations people?
8. Who stood to win or lose as First Nations issues were decided in early state history?
9. What impact did the Gold Rush have on First Nations people?
10. What happened to the population of First Nations people from 1767-1900?
1. What is sovereignty and how does it apply to California Indian Tribes?
2. What relationship do California Indian tribes have with the State and Federal Government?
3. Did California Indian tribes give up their land in a legal proceedure?
4. Did California Indians have the same legal rights as other citizens in the 19th and 20th centuries?
5. When were California Indians first allowed to vote?
6. When were California Indians first allowed to own their own property?
7. How were California’s 18 treaties with California Indian tribes drawn up?
8. How much land was ‘reserved’ for California Indians? How much did they actually receive?
9. What laws have California voters passed related to casino gaming?
10. What legal basis does the Governor have to demand a cut from casino gaming?
1. Does casino revenue make up for ethnic cleansing and genocide?
2. Do tribes have an obligation to help pay for state services?
3. Do tribes have an obligation to local communities when planning casinos?
4. In a state that has seen radical land ‘development’, is it fair to criticize tribes for planning casinos?
5. Should tribes be held to a different or higher standard?
6. What do you make of claims that casinos automatically attract crime and low lifes?
7. Should casino tribes be criticized for donating to election campaigns?
8. Given the history and legal questions, is it fair to say the First Nations still own California?
If so, what is a fair way to resolve the issue?
If not, what is fair compensation for what was lost?
Choose one or several of these questions to research online. Find arguments for an against your own position. Debate these arguments in class. Be prepared to back up your own position with facts.