Foxwoods Resort Casino Elfenbeinturm via Creative Commons

Indigenous people of the Americas (aka “Native Americans” or “American Indians”) across the United States are mostly invisible to us. Even the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribal Nation identities are reduced to their casinos. How many patrons take the time to understand the long, complicated history that culminated in these resorts?

What most Americans do not know (and do not care to know) is how the history of genocide against these indigenous peoples is as much a stain on our nation’s history as slavery.

I don’t gamble, but I do smile every time I think about the money visitors spend at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. I smile because in some small and imperfect way, Americans are unwittingly paying for the sins of their ancestors. I smile because I take this personally as an enrolled member of The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne (Registry # 1590501301). This tribe, too, has a small casino.

I wish there were other options for them to sustain their economy, but this is the reality of many tribes, including those contained inside Connectcut’s borders.

So I say this to Gov. Ned Lamont and the Connecticut General Assembly: Honor the agreements you made with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribal Nation to share casino revenues in exchange for granting exclusive gambling rights to them.

There’s a long, tragic story of broken treaties and disrespect for the lands of these sovereign nations. Do not continue this shameful history.

Deidre Phillips Goodrich lives in Middletown.

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