Carolina Astrain

Newsroom coordinator
Minnesota Public Radio
castrain@mpr.org
Carolina;
Thank you for contacting me.
Please find attached the documents I referenced in our phone conversation.
I would encourage you to seek all exhibits and affidavits referenced in the decision handed down by the judge in ordering a new election for the position of Leech Lake Secretary-Treasurer.
You will note that poverty is at the very heart of this corruption of the democratic electoral process, and if casino workers had their rights protected like all other workers under state and federal labor laws these 48 casino workers could not have been intimidated by such a “firing letter” whether the letter was true, or as it appears to be in this case, a fabrication.
As you can see, workers without any rights in their places of employment have no rights in the communities where they reside— not even when it comes to voting for a candidate; can you imagine what the consequences would be should a casino worker run for tribal or other public office on a platform calling for real living wages and a smoke-free working environment?
You will have people shove the issue of “sovereignty” in your face as you question them; but, do you know of any sovereign nation that gets away with using “sovereignty” as an excuse for depriving workers of their rights and a safe and healthy working environment?
Here in Minnesota, over 40,000 people employed in the Indian Gaming Industry are forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws. Corrupt tribal politicians and state legislators will argue the state has no business in the affairs of Indian Nations— this is simply an unfounded argument for convenience because as you can see for yourself, even the Tribal Court Judge in this case relies on state election laws for making a determination as to whether or not a new election should be held.
Also, are you aware that John McCarthy who heads up the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association which doles out tens of millions of dollars to tribal politicians and state legislators for campaign funds, owns Tony Doom Enterprises which prints and manufacturers all kinds of election paraphernalia including such things as yard signs, pens, pencils, buttons, t-shirts, flyers and posters? This may not be illegal; but, I would urge you to consider the ethical question involved of a man in such a powerful position handing out money to politicians with one hand and taking that money right back in for personal gain in his other hand.

The entire political process in Minnesota is being corrupted by those who profit from Indian Gaming. And it is quite obvious that when votes can be purchased for a pack of cigarettes or a tank of gas or for $5.00 we are talking about poverty amidst an industry making the claim of being Indian Gaming from which everyone— except for a few Indians— is profiting and enriching themselves, otherwise people wouldn’t be selling their votes so cheap, if at all.

Anyone can walk into any of the three casinos operated by the Leech Lake Band— Palace, Northern Lights, White Oak— and see there is no reason for one single family on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation to be poor— yet unemployment is an atrocious and astounding 85% while those employed in the casinos receive poverty wages. I am pretty sure any 10 year old child could tell you that a person receiving poverty wages is going to be poor.

Archie LaRose has a lot of nerve talking about poverty since he works hand in hand with state legislators, federal politicians and the courts who have been enforcing this poverty for centuries and he leads a tribal government committed to denying casino workers their most basic human right— the right to organize into unions to protect their rights and livelihoods.

Absentee owners of the slot machines and table games run off with the profits and this is why Indian Gaming has forced the people of Indian Nations even further into the poverty with which the United States government planned in creating the reservation system— in fact, the way the Indian Gaming Industry was created through these so-called “Compacts” it is part and parcel of the centuries old campaign of genocide intended to exterminate Native American peoples. How else can one explain that Minnesota State Legislators banned smoking in all workplaces— EXCEPT for these casinos. The scientific and medical studies are very clear as to the detrimental affects of second-hand smoke in the workplace— if you don’t believe me, just contact the American Cancer Society or the Minnesota Heart and Lung Foundation… better yet, contact the Indian Health Service to find out how second-hand smoke is related to diabetes, too.

I would note; as I noted to you in our telephone conversation, that Minnesota Public Radio has not once done a news story on workers employed in the Indian Gaming Industry nor the impact of this industry when it comes to democracy on and off the Indian Reservations.

It is almost laughable, if not so sad, that the Leech Lake Tribal Council would even consider providing a severance package for the former Secretary-Treasurer who swindled the Leech Lake Band out of over two-million dollars— I guess there really is honor among thieves seeing as how Archie LaRose was arrested at one time for the armed robbery of the Palace Casino.

Thank you for contacting me.
Alan

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell: 651-587-5541
Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

 

Alan Maki

Alan Maki