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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Narragansett Indian Tribe Gets Raw Deal on Casino

Editor's note: Will reported on Saturday's memorial ceremony here. On Monday RI Future's Bob Plain released the following article (originally here).

By Bob Plain on July 16, 2012
When the Narragansett Indians wanted open a gaming casino in Rhode Island, the state told the tribe the constitution would need to be amended in order for that to happen. For some reason, the state hasn’t asked the same of Twin River as they look to develop a full-fledged casino. Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas explained the inequity on WPRI’s Newsmakers this weekend.

Thomas told Ian Donnis that the tribe is being unfairly singled out. “I’d like to ask them why the state is so hellbent on fighting my tribe. I think it’s a discriminatory practice, and I think to single out a tribe by statute, it’s insane. I want to know how this can happen, and I also want to know from [Attorney General Peter] Kilmartin how it can happen.”
The dichotomy speaks to the raw deal the Narragansetts get here in the Ocean State. Remember how Governor Carcieri treated them when they didn’t pay taxes on cigarettes they were selling? You think he would have sent to State Troopers into CVS if they weren’t paying their tax bill?
“I’m still angry about it,” Thomas said when asked about the infamous smoke shop raid on Newsmakers. “We’ll forgive but we can’t forget. It was just totally unnecessary to come in and throw us around for untaxed cigarettes. It doesn’t happen anywhere and it gets back to how we feel that the state has such scant regard for our tribe.”
Later on in the show, retiring state Senator Rhody Perry said, “I think the tribe could have been treated in a more fair manner.” I’m not sure how one couldn’t agree.