WHERE THE CHIPS FALL: CULTURAL RESENTMENTS AND UNEXPECTED IMPACTS OF INDIGNENOUS OWNED CASINOS IN SOUTH-EAST CONNECTICUT, USA

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the results of two academic studies related to the development of two native owned casinos, Foxwoods Casino and the Mohegan Sun, and the associated impacts and attitudes of local residents in Southeastern, Connecticut. Academic surveys were conducted within a few years after the opening of each casino. The casinos are located in close proximity to each other (about 20 miles apart) within a predominantly rural region. The differing histories of the two tribes and their changing relationships with the surrounding Connecticut residents provide an interesting study in cultural politics in which economic development is situated within the cultural, social and political relations that surround it. The perceptions of local residents in nearby Connecticut towns provide evidence of their perceived benefits and costs of casino development, as well as their changing relationships with their Indian neighbors. The results of both studies found that concerns were raised over the control and the scale and pace of development in which the surrounding US residents had no control. Unexpected issues were raised in the Mohegan Sun study about the influx of immigrant workers to the casino and their resulting impact on the towns public resources. Results of the Foxwood’s study indicate that the community is particularly preoccupied with the notion of tribal sovereignty and federal recognition. These cross sectional case studies compare and contrast some of the following major themes: development issues, native tribes as neighbors, ethnic diversity, tribal sovereignty and, impacts on education. These studies highlight some of the major themes and implications of the development of native owned casinos from the resident perspective.

 

WHERE THE CHIPS FALL: CULTURAL RESENTMENTS AND UNEXPECTED IMPACTS OF INDIGNENOUS OWNED CASINOS IN SOUTH-EAST CONNECTICUT, USA

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the results of two academic studies related to the development of two native owned casinos, Foxwoods Casino and the Mohegan Sun, and the associated impacts and attitudes of local residents in Southeastern, Connecticut. Academic surveys were conducted within a few years after the opening of each casino. The casinos are located in close proximity to each other (about 20 miles apart) within a predominantly rural region. The differing histories of the two tribes and their changing relationships with the surrounding Connecticut residents provide an interesting study in cultural politics in which economic development is situated within the cultural, social and political relations that surround it. The perceptions of local residents in nearby Connecticut towns provide evidence of their perceived benefits and costs of casino development, as well as their changing relationships with their Indian neighbors. The results of both studies found that concerns were raised over the control and the scale and pace of development in which the surrounding US residents had no control. Unexpected issues were raised in the Mohegan Sun study about the influx of immigrant workers to the casino and their resulting impact on the towns public resources. Results of the Foxwood’s study indicate that the community is particularly preoccupied with the notion of tribal sovereignty and federal recognition. These cross sectional case studies compare and contrast some of the following major themes: development issues, native tribes as neighbors, ethnic diversity, tribal sovereignty and, impacts on education. These studies highlight some of the major themes and implications of the development of native owned casinos from the resident perspective.