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Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods, the World's Largest Casino16 July 2000
Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods, the World's Largest Casino
***** A Must Buy
According to Jeff Benedict, author of the sizzling expose Without Reservation, the "Indians" that run Foxwoods, the largest casino gaming complex on the planet, are as closely related in blood to Connecticut's Western Pequots as they are to Eastern New Hampshire's kumquats. In fact, I have as much Western Pequot blood in me as they do, which is to say not a single drop.
Benedict's primary thesis, one which he backs with solid evidence and excellent journalism, is that the whole "Pequot" reservation issue and subsequent Foxwoods deals are part of a huge scam first orchestrated by a crusading "Indian-rights" lawyer who brought ridiculous land-grab suits against private homeowners all over the United States in the cause of "Indian justice" even when, as in the case of the Western Pequots, there weren't any real Indians left who had actually been aggrieved.
This scam achieved the initial goal of getting the "Pequots" recognized as a tribe even though all the "Indians" were actually Caucasians by birth! The scam was then brought to full fruition by other sleazy lawyers who had originally been hired by the landowners to protect them against the greedy Caucasians-dressed-in-Indian-costumes, and also by government officials, including Ex-Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker, who helped the "Cauca-Indians" grab the land of American citizens in the name of reparations for past sins.
In addition, Benedict's book is a cautionary tale of political correctness run amok. The Pequot's "chief" Skip Haywood is the grandson of a woman who might have had a dollop of Narragansett Indian blood in her. The Narragansetts were a tribe far removed from the extinct Western Pequots of Connecticut. Haywood's granny just happened to be the only person living on the old Western Pequot reservation when she died. Skip is pictured by Benedict as a charismatic ne'er-do-well who moved from state to state and dream to dream until he latched onto the Indian bandwagon and rode it for all it was worth -- which is currently billions!
The modus operandi of Haywood and his "Indians" was stark and simple: At every turn, when any questions arose as to the legitimacy of the Pequot tribe (and an astute President Ronald Reagan had such questions), Skip and company launched a vitriolic attack on the "white man" for killing and destroying the Indians and portrayed themselves as historical victims of those crimes. Forget, of course, that they themselves were white men.
These attacks captured the fancy of the PC Press, particularly the New York Times, which continually took up the cause of the "Indians" as represented by the Pequots. The politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, could not stand up against such PC consciousness and so no one ultimately sought to see if these "Indians" were real or the dime-store variety.
Still, the fact that the Pequots were not Indians didn't stop the "tribe" from amassing a huge amount of land and having it declared the property of the United States Government in trust for the Indians. Along with that came cash from the government and contributions from well meaning but deluded citizens who thought they were helping the Indian cause. It also meant that the Pequots were free from the environmental laws that other businesses must obey and also free from paying all state, Federal and local taxes!
In fact, Benedict shows that the Haywood group, if they were victims at all, were victims of low expectations, poor work habits, and lower-class upbringings far removed from any Indian culture or tribe. Every one of the first Pequots was listed as "Caucasian" on his or her birth certificate, birth certificates that have been clumsily changed to "Indian" since the Pequot tribe was recreated.
If there is a failure in the book, it is the absence of any visual evidence of tampering with the birth records and no pictures of the men and women being written about. In fact, not one member of Haywood's original "Cauca-tribe" is even remotely related to a Pequot Indian (Western or Eastern) or any Indian for that matter, and currently the few who have any discernible Indian lineage (far, far removed according to Benedict) are not in the Pequot line at all. The Western Pequots are extinct and have been for almost a century.
The current Pequots are now a mixture of Caucasions and newly "Indianized" African-Americans. Benedict gives Skip Haywood high marks for not being prejudiced, he accepted any and all races into his tribe -- the only race he didn't have represented was Indian! Ironically, he was rewarded for his racial generosity by being deposed by the new "chiefs" who now rule.
Haywood had a grand vision of creating the world's greatest amusement park and making the Pequots a repository of Indian lore. He even built the world's largest Indian museum. The fact that he wasn't an Indian didn't seem to interfere with his characterization of himself as one. The new leadership of the Pequots, according to Benedict, is composed not so much with dreamers as with criminals and schemers who are driving the Foxwoods Casino, a billion-dollar-a-year business, into heavy debt to fuel their spendthrift and lavish lifestyles. Indeed, the reservation itself has now experienced its first rapes, burglaries and drug arrests.
Some of the quotes that Benedict uses in the book from the newer Pequots are enough to make your blood run cold. Many of the newer Pequots resent the fact that Haywood expected them to work; that they were only given a free home, a small yearly stipend (somewhere around $50,000), and free college and medical care when they could be taking millions from Foxwoods without having to work, millions that they could spend as they wished if Haywood's Tribal leadership would stop building and creating new enterprises and just soak the existing casino. This new group deposed Haywood and is now in charge of the Pequots. They are driving the casino-hotel towards fiscal ruin.
Without Reservation reads like an exciting John Grisham novel. Benedict is a writer of power and promise. He knows how to set a scene and deliver. Power corrupts, certainly, and power, coupled with Law and the PC populaces' inability to see injustice when perpetrated by a "minority group" corrupts absolutely if Benedict is correct in his assessment of what happened in this land swindle and what is continuing to happen during the new Pequot reign.
And what of Foxwoods? There is no denying that the Pequots and their financiers, the Chinese and Malaysians, enjoyed incredible prosperity as a result of this grand enterprise. There is no doubt that Foxwoods is a magnificent casino-hotel complex. And there is no doubt that once you read Benedict's book, which every casino player should, you will have serious reservations about ever gambling there again -- and that's no pun, it's a fact.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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