Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 3


Tohono O'odham in poverty ask, "Where are the casino millions going?"

by Brenda Norrell

Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village


Tohono O'odham Reservation, Arizona: Every week, Tohono O'odham tribal members say they have no money for food, no money to heat their homes, and no money for their elderly parents.


They wonder where the millions of dollars in profit from the Tohono O'odham casinos are going. The tribe's Desert Diamond Casino draws overflowing crowds, and a new $550,000,000 casino is being planned.  Yet many Tohono O'odham people live in desperate poverty.


Some claim the The Tohono O'odham Legislative Council oppresses its people through Homeland Security, the National Guard and Tohono O'odham police. Tribal members say they are constantly stopped without reason and intimidated by US military, Border Patrol, federal agents and tribal police.


Many Tohono O'odham youth are pushed to the breaking point. Some   must choose between jail, hunger and leaving their homeland.


The Tohono O'odham Council does not allow outside reporters to attend council sessions. Those reporters are told to leave. Some have been threatened for asking questions. Yet, in northern Arizona, the Navajo Nation Council welcomes press and even provides copies of resolutions.


With no accountability, many Tohono O'odham people say this crime against humanity continues.


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