Those of us opposing Tribal casinos here in Massachusetts owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many people and organizations across this country who've paved the yellow brick road for us, and are truly responsible for this victory.
While I have a lot more things to say about the notion of a "fix" for a ruling that ain't broke, first I'd like to take the time and thank those folks whose combined efforts have turned the tide against the federally institutionalized fleecing of America. My special thanks to a friend who compiled this list.
The Citizens Equal Rights Alliance has chapters in 37 states and each chapter has a different issue - although all of them face issues with failed federal Indian Policy, including land into trust, jurisdiction on reservation land, boundary lines blurred or tribes trying to reestablish old boundary lines which have long since disappeared.
CERA describes itself as a growing not-for-profit corporation of concerned citizens that stand against discrimination, and supports the continuation of free enterprise and equality in our communities.
The recent Wisconsin v. Stockbridge-Munsee tribe opinion made in favor of the State and was forced by Shawano County Concerned Property Taxpayers Association, and North East Wisconsin Citizens for Equal Rights. Curt Knoke, CERA board member, was heavily involved in this win.
Probably the biggest win is the Sherrill, NY case against the Federal Government. The amicus submitted by CERA changed the course of events in the colonies. Judy and Fred Bachmann were center stage on this one, along with State Representative Dave Townsend, and County legislator, Mike Hennessey.
CAlifornia POLY/POSY has been a big influence nationwide. Jon Bowen, Kathy Bowen.
The most recent victory was made possible by the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition with Harry Stahley as Chairman, Jim Beale as President and the thousands who belong to the group. Most especially Harriet Lloyd, who, every morning — even on Christmas Day — wakes up with the sunrise and puts together RISC-Y Business, a daily e-mail compilation of news articles, commentaries and letters that goes out to more than 4,000 people who have signed up for it. Lloyd, who lives in Westerly, talked with Providence Business News recently about the philosophy behind the e-newsletter and the political power of the Internet.
Additonal thanks to Kate Waterman and Harriet Allen of the Charlestown board of selectmen. Special thanks must go to Governor Carcieri who kept this alive for the courts and to the late Bruce Goodsell who was influential in seeking out the help of CERA in writing the amicus brief in the RI case.
Many thanks also to:
Upstate Citizens for Equality, Richard Tallcot, Chairman and Board of Directors of CERA, plus the 7 -8 thousand members across New York State.
Cayuga-Seneca Chapter Chairman: Richard Tallcot, Vice Chairman: Russ Wheeler, Secretary: Phil Knapp, Treasurer: Mimma Kisor, Elected Trustees: Rich Ricci, Harry Eno, Connie Eno, John Rancier, Andy Anderson, Mary Gratton, Eleanor Casey. This group just forced their Governor to sign the tax on Indian sold cigarettes, and was active in the case which was dismissed by the 2nd circuit court of appeals on the Cayuga Indian land claim.
And most especially to those of us here in Massachusetts, I'd like to extend my personal and heartfelt thanks to Carol Kelley of CERA.
I first encountered Carol at the Nichols School in Middleboro for the now infamous Glenn Marshall forum. She was at the microphone, soundly and assertively setting one of the Tribe's lawyers straight on a point of law. In fact, as I recall, she shut him up.
The next time I encountered Carol, she was seated next to me at an early CasinoFacts general meeting. I was trying to remember where I'd seen her when she turned to me and said in that unmistakable voice, "I love your shoes..."
And that's Carol - sharp as nails, strong as steel - and as warm as a summer day.
Thanks for standing with us Carol, and for always being there when we needed you.