Not all tribes like golf

  Dear HCN,

It isn't often I see a story so well-written and, at the same time, so accurate as "Tribal Links" (HCN, 6/4/01: Tribal Links). Mr. Selcraig is to be complimented for managing the nearly impossible, colorful, sometimes flip characterizations and turns of phrase that are right on the money! I enjoyed reading that article and will look for his byline in future. My one correction is that the spindly ocotillo at Cochiti are almost certainly cholla.

The story is timely. That in the last generation or so the Native American world of New Mexico has undergone dramatic changes is indisputable. The advent of gaming and golf has divided that tribal world into the haves and the have nots; those who have gone for the buck and those who, in strict observance of culture and traditions, have not. I doubt that everyone sees golf as a good thing, somehow morally superior to the evil but lucrative industry of gaming. Both are highly seductive, extremely wasteful, alien concepts, and both have profound implications for Native American cultures. You ask, "Why are New Mexico's Indian tribes embracing the ultimate white man's game?" You could as well ask, "Why do some tribes choose not to embrace the white man's games?" The missing element in your tale is those who have chosen to remain true to the old ways. To really know why some of New Mexico's Indian tribes are embracing the ultimate white man's game, you need to look at those that are not. The answer is that which makes the world go round.

William Baxter
(Scots ancestry, non-golfer)
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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