Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans' Day

I had a surprise treat today, free buffet for vets at the casino.  We were going there anyway, because it's prime rib night.  I've been getting emails for free breakfast or lunch, or appetizers and/or desserts at various dinner restaurants, but I didn't expect anything at the Fort McDowell buffet, much less a complete freebie.

After visiting Little Big Horn and learning about the history of the Old West and the relations of the US Army with the various tribes of that area (It was a Lakota Chief, Red Cloud, who said "The White Man made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they kept only one:  they promised to take our land, and they did."); and Canyon de Chelly on the Navaho reservation, learning about the Long Walk, and knowing only a tiny bit, so far, about what went on here at Fort McDowell, I thought it would be totally understandable if the Yavapai would hold a grudge against the US military, and not be one of the places offering goodies to veterans today.  But they did, to their credit.

We also visited the Crazy Horse monument this year.  There was a Lakota man there demonstrating some of his people's music and dance for the tourists.  After the show he took questions from the audience.  The news of the day was the flap about the nickname of the Washington, DC NFL team, and that was the first question.  His answer was that he didn't speak for anyone but himself, but his view was that they had bigger fish to fry.  When his people were no longer suffering from 50% unemployment on the reservation, from alcoholism and disease, when the kids could get a decent education, then maybe it would be time to worry about NFL team nicknames.

I've long thought it one of the delicious ironies of American history that the tribes have been reaping profits in their casinos from their customers who are, for the most part, descended from their former oppressors.