Regulatory Updates

Guilty Because of the Success of Indian Gaming?

Steve Cadue
Steve Cadue

Steve Cadue, Tribal Council Member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas

United States Senator John McCain emphasized that Indian tribes make billions of dollars in Indian gaming, not millions. This is the specious reason Senator John McCain, Chairman of the U. S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, provided to me in a question and answer session during his book signing in Kansas City, Missouri on December 16, 2005. I asked Senator McCain the questions: “Why are you proposing to change the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act legislation?” and “Will you be having consultation with Indian leaders in Indian Country?”

Senator McCain began his response by informing the audience of the hugely dynamic financial growth of Indian gaming. He explained that Indian gaming needs stricter oversight and that non-Indian clients must be protected in Indian casino gaming. Senator McCain also refuted my concern for Indian leader consultation, stating that he regularly consults twenty-seven Indian tribes in the state of Arizona and has their support. Twenty-seven Indian tribes cannot suffice for national Indian leader consultation.

Senator McCain further explained that lobbyists such as Jack Abramoff stole money from Indian tribes and for this reason Indian gaming legislation must be changed. In Senator McCain's final response to my questions he said that he will change the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and that another reason for not conducting a hearing is that there are some tribes who will never go along with his proposed changes. The fear in Indian Country is over what Indian tribal treaty right will be broken next. Kansas City, Missouri is not in Indian Country and out of an audience of nearly 1,000 people, my wife and I were probably the only Native American people in attendance. For the audience's benefit I prefaced my questions to Senator McCain by reminding him that he is the Chairman of the U. S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee and that Indian treaty rights must be upheld by the United States Congress. Sovereignty, treaty rights and consultation with Indian leaders are mandatory considerations to new legislation that will impact Indian people. Is choosing destiny only right for Senator McCain and not a choice afforded to our Indian people?

Senator McCain, a Republican front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, needs a scapegoat for the lobbying scandal in Washington, D. C. and our Indian people are the most vulnerable. Senator McCain gives warning that it is time to kill the “White Buffalo” Indian gaming sustenance of the Indian people.

We in Indian Country must resist. Our Indian people need a fair hearing with the United States Congress, with the citizenry of the United States, and with the citizenry of the world. Indian gaming is the most successful Indian economic development in the history of the United States and it upholds the very essence of our Indian treaties and tribal sovereignty. Resist, resist, resist.

Steve Cadue is an elected Tribal Council Member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas. He can be reached by calling (785) 842-7821 or email