I am a Native American, so are you…

Frank Parlato Jr. wants to make casino gambling legal for American citizens. He’s a businessman in Niagara Falls NY who sees the Seneca casino there sucking the discretionary money out of the economy and not returning anything. No property taxes, no sales taxes, even the cut of profits promised goes to Albany never to be seen again. He wants to see things change and improve in NF. He wants – and has plans – to open his own casino in Niagara Falls.

His point, why should the Senecas be able to do something our own citizens are prohibited from doing, is a good one. I’m not sure I want to see gambling become legal across the board, but I see his point.

I’ve wanted to write this article for a long time. It’s been rattling around in my head and it’s something that’s been bothering me for a while. But I held back because I didn’t want to offend any one. But someone is bound to be offended, possibly everyone, but I have to say it anyway.

While Parlato is making an issue of gambling, it’s really more than that. I’m sure he’s aware of that too, but is making a point through gambling. The real issue is Indian – Native American – Soveriegnty.

I’m not anti-Indian. I’m aware of their history and proud culture. I’ve worked with many members of the Seneca Nation and they are fine people. But the treaties they are so adamant about in the commercials have outlived their time.

The Senecas weren’t the first tribe to live here. What happened to their predecessors? They fought and were conquered, migrated, and/or finally were absorbed into the next tribe. Well, the latest tribe is the Paleface tribe and it’s time the assimilation is recognized.

The idea of them being a separate nation from the rest of the United States just isn’t true any more, even if some treaty says so. We all live in the same community, go to the same schools, drive on the same roads, enjoy the same things, so why do some of us not pay taxes, not need hunting licenses, not live by the same laws?

And who do the tax loopholes really benefit? The average Seneca? No, it’s a few rich businessmen who have exploited their status. The state of New York did the average Native American no favor by allowing gambling, they simply exploited the treaty to bring in something that is illegal under our state constitution. Then they cry foul when the same tactic is used to avoid collecting sales taxes. In the process, a few opportunistic people, who happen to be Indians, get rich, but it’s not trickling down to the rest of the tribe and it’s messing up our economy, too.

To the men of Niagara Falls, regardless
of race: I wish we could stand together
as friends, and demand equality with
Seneca, who should also be our friend —
for there is much to admire in Seneca.

If Seneca is tax-free, all men and
women should be tax-free.

If Seneca can open a casino, Americans in
Niagara Falls should open a casino.

And that my friends is not sexist or racist at all.

Frank Parlato Jr.

Let’s face it, we’re all Native Americans by now, at least those of us who were born here, whose parents were born here, and on and on. How far back does it have to go to be called native? Let’s stop dividing ourselves by what is really a racial criteria. It’s just as unfair to pay high taxes as it is to be on a reservation. We’re being kept on a financial reservation by the screwed up government we’ve allowed to happen and frankly that government is exploiting Indians by using them to provide gambling just as it is exploiting it citizens with high taxes.

I happen to be against gambling as a moral decision. I’m against drinking too, but I do it on occasion anyway. I think it’s a personal decision and some of us can handle the moderation needed to control it, while others can’t. We need laws to protect those people, not loopholes to get around the law.

I’m more concerned about the lack of moderation shown in Albany and Washington when they spend our taxes and think of ways to get more to spend.

Posted in News, Rants, WNY

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