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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Travel West, 2

There's another feature of traveling west, namely the people. The Southwest, of course, has lots of Hispanics, but it was a pleasant eye-opener for a person like me, who has always lived East of the Mississippi, to see so many Japanese- and Chinese- (and probably other varieties) Americans in California, Washington, and Oregon. We also saw lots of Native Americans. Thanks in part to the Indian Gaming Act, which provides special status for casinos owned by tribes, there are tribes, with visible presences, that most people have never heard of. (See here for a picture of such a casino--there are many.) There is also Native American influence in place names. Seattle, WA, is named for a chief. I suspect that Puyallup and Enumclaw, WA, and lots of other places, have names relating to Native Americans.

The Gaming Act didn't produce the tribes, of course, but it gave many of them a reason to come together, so that they could profit from a vice shared, evidently, by lots of other people. It's too bad that we couldn't have found some other way to put tribes in business. It appears that the Indians haven't always been the main ones to profit from the casinos. There is, no doubt, an awful human cost to some patrons of these casinos, whatever their ethnicity.

The people we saw, whatever their ethnicity, are people, just like us. I had the opportunity to converse with some Native Americans while we were jointly waiting for a ferry. The conversation, with me, and between them, could have been identical if all of us had been of purely European ancestry. We flew back East across the aisle from an Asian-American couple with a small girl, and their parenting issues, and solutions, were just the same as anyone else's would have been. We're all in this together, and Christ died for all of us.

1 comment:

Brandy said...

Our hotel in Ca. was in the Korean District, so most of the business signs and billboards were in Korean, which we obviously couldn't read. :)