Will Navajos take a gamble?
Navajo President Peterson Zah recently vetoed a
tribal ordinance that would have laid the groundwork for legalized
gambling on the tribe's reservation. But his rejection doesn't mean
gambling is dead for the Four Corners tribe. In July, the Navajo
Nation Council passed the gaming ordinance spelling out procedures
for acquiring licenses, deterrents to criminal activity and types
of gambling allowed. In his veto message Aug. 5, Zah said many
residents told him they oppose gambling, but he wants all 175,000
tribal members to vote on the issue, reports AP. "It is time for
the Navajo Nation to begin requesting the views of the Navajo
people on issues which affect all Navajo people." Zah said his veto
of the ordinance won't stop ongoing negotiations between the tribe
and the states of Arizona and New Mexico over state compacts
required by the federal Indian gaming act. A vote in favor of
gambling would strengthen the Nation's negotiating hand, he added.
In April, a consultant hired by the tribe said the tribe could net
$38 million and 2,710 permanent jobs in one year if it opened
gaming halls at five locations.