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Letter: States’ rights vs. tribal rights

Published: Sunday, May 25 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Today, with an Internet connection, you can conduct just about any business, social or entertainment transaction online. The public demands it and it is unstoppable. That’s why it is so disheartening to know that The Deseret News editorial board, which consistently supports the supremacy of states’ rights, favors legislation in direct opposition to the rights of sovereign Indian tribes ("Restoring Wire Act to original purpose would help protect states from Internet gambling,” May 14).

With many tribal nations continuing to have some of the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, school dropout and other social distresses of any community in the country, the legislation championed by the editorial board forces tribal governments to accept the status quo. As the Internet continues to fuel innovation for American consumers, tribal governments are rightly pursuing all opportunities (online or otherwise) as an instrument for economic growth.

If our goal is to protect the public from the “evils of gambling”, the government should put in place common sense regulations and market driven incentives that safeguard against money laundering and gambling addictions. If Congress acts at all it should be in the business of fostering economic development, not taking away rights of sovereign tribal governments.

Joe Valandra

Sicangu tribe, Lakota nation

Reston, Virginia

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