NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
THE HONORABLE CLIFFORD LACHAPPA
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Lachappa.
CHAIRMAN LACHAPPA: Good morning, Madam Chairman and Commissioners.
First of all, I'm glad Chairman Pico put it very elegantly the questions about the Tribes and what they're doing on the Reservations. And I want to say to you, the people in this room as I walked in here I got different vibes from different people. I got handshakes. I got pats on the back, and I got other vibes like uh, there they are. They're the ones that are causing all these problems.
But with that, first of all I'd like to say who are the true Native Americans? Who are the truly native people who were in this country before any of you guys and your ancestors were here? Our ancestors were here first, and I want to make it clear. We weren't put on the Reservations by our people; we were put on by the White man and the government, and everybody else. Our people got killed by disease, by foreigners, and you know, it just really hurts me to see the things that we've done on the Reservation -- and I'm not going to go in the direction that Chairman Pico did -- but you need to come out and see what we've done. The livelihood of the Tribal membership, the new homes that we've done, education, scholarships, and I'm not going to repeat what Chairman Pico said.
Everybody in this room knows and sees what we've done in the community. Eighty-five percent public support. We're not doing nothing nor more than anybody else doing, it's just that people don't like what we're doing. We're successful at it, and they want to get their hands in our pie, and we, as Chairman Pico said, the position on the compact process was to get to the table. Although it appeared there was a gun to our heads, we felt the opportunity to continue to see tomorrow, because if you weren't there in the meeting room, there was a lot of hesitation of the membership to sign the compact because of the sovereignty issue. And as Allison put the sovereignty meaning in perspective, but it means more to us being Native American. The word sovereignty. It stood that people can decipher the word sovereignty what it means to them, but what they think it means to them, but living on the Reservation all your life, sovereignty is the blood and the life of every Native American in this room that is a Native American or claims to be a Native American. So you live in homes with no electricity, no water, no toilets, and then when we get that then you want to come and try to tell us that well, you guys are doing no good for the community. Believe me, it's totally wrong.
In the compact process we believe that in order to see tomorrow that we had to sign the compact. I think we did a good job in changing some things, and using the public model. But we'll get to see tomorrow, and hopefully when the new governor comes in and if the initiative passes, then fine, we'll go under another umbrella. If it doesn't pass, then we'll take the next step. But it's always been a battle for Native Americans regardless of what it is. In sports, in politics, it's always been a battle because you're Native American, you live on a Reservation, you come from a poor ancestry, you're drunks, you're welfare recipients, and you guys can never be successful in your life. Well, I guarantee you there's a lot of number of people, not just me as a Chairman, but there's a lot of elders and a lot of their kids and their kids have gone through education process. They're doing well in their community. They're leaders and sit on councils. So to dispute that, I'd fight for somebody that claimed that I'm not doing any good for my mother's blood, and I'd fight to the max, and I'd take anybody on wants to challenge me on my ancestry.
But getting back to the compact, it was something that is being forced on the Tribes in the area. It's something that's going to be forced on the central Tribes probably in September when they get their ruling. The northern Tribes have pretty much come along the line with the compliances as we so-call the compliance of being legal. But there's a lot of factors in that compact that Chairman Pico addressed in a nice way, elegant way. But the opportunity for us to sit at the table next year and get some of the things out of there, that's important. It may be the machine allocation number, it might be one of the ridiculous things that's in the compact, and Mr. Kolkey's going to be up next and people can ask him about that. It was some little thing about badges. Do we provide the badges; do they bring the badges, or what. I mean, it's ridiculous. Things like that in the compact that I think next year, with the new governor we'll be able to knock some of the silliness out of the compact, and maybe it might be viable; I don't know. But in order for us to see tomorrow, the Tribe -- our Tribe had to accept it or not accept it. But with right minds and wisdom, like it mentioned in the paper, they decided to see tomorrow, and that's what it's all about. And we're into the game. There's one man in the room. I see him, Mr. Martin Macaro. When all this turmoil was going with the Tribes, and Chairman Pico put it elegantly, that it is dividing the Tribes. But Chairman Macaro I respect him because what the southern Tribes are forced to do and what they had to do he comes out and says, wait a minute. I think those guys are doing something to prolong what we're doing in the gaming business. So Chairman Macaro, I really appreciate your comments. I heard it from the grapevine, but I really wanted to talk to you personally and tell you thank you.
Also one of the most important things that the Commissioners need to do, you need to come out on the Reservations and see. There are no Indians laying under the tree waiting for their welfare checks. There are people working. I mean we've got youth programs; we've got scholarships; we've got senior programs; we've got loan programs. Chairman Pico's Tribe has got a bank; they got the mall. I mean, it's so positive. And as far as unionization goes, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. It's not a big -- what do you call it -- it's not a breaker deal for us. I mean, I think we're people, we're humans in this world. I mean if we can come together and sit down and talk, that's what we do. We've sat down and talked many years, and we had treaties signed, but they weren't honored. But I think in this day and age with the minds that we have in this society, we could sit down with the union people and pound out a thing if that's what we want to do. If it doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen. That's the way I look at it. But I really want to appreciate the time that I had. I'm open for questions, and I just want to say that Native Americans, the truly native people in this room are us.
Thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you, Mr. Lachappa.