The Native Americans were recently awarded millions in a farming lawsuit, in fact, 680 million dollars.
680 Million is a lot of money but will it help the Native American farmers? You have to wonder. The lawsuit stemmed from discrimination in farm loans from 1981-1999. The plaintiff’s attorney stated, “The USDA has committed to improving the farm loan system in ways that will aid Native Americans for generations to come.”
According to the USDA, there are about 60,000 Native American farmers in the United States, many of whom farm tobacco.
This is taken from the Support Native American Art website,
“Info snippet: Did you know… For thousands of years, tobacco has had a sacred purpose for many Native American tribes. It is used for prayer, to show respect, to heal, and give spiritual protection. Tobacco was never meant to be abused. Sacred use of tobacco does not include the use of commercial tobacco products.”
Another Native American industry is the casinos. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988. Under the Gaming Act, “Tribes could operate full-scale casino gambling on reservations in any state that allowed such gambling anywhere within its borders, provided the details of the operation were set forth under a tribal-state compact.”
In NYS, several gaming casinos opened up and have faired well. You can search the casino location in your state here.
It was interesting to note that “Indian gaming pays $1.3 billion in taxes to federal, state, local governments.” I had no idea that Indian gaming contributes so much back to the government.
Native American Indian facts:
According to the census reports, there are about 2 million Native Americans in the United States and 1 million in Canada.
There are about 150 Native American languages in Canada and the United States, and another 600-700 languages in Central and South America.
Woody Guthrie wrote, “This land is your land…”