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The Common Sense of Anti-Indian Racism: Reactions to Mashantucket Pequot Success in Gaming and Acknowledgment

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Anti-Indian racism, as typified by anticasino backlash, is a part of the “common sense” of race relations in the United States, which increasingly impacts federal administrative procedures used to acknowledge the existence of tribal status. Using ethnographic and archival research, this article shows that the backlash over Mashantucket Pequot recognition and casino success has taken the form, primarily, of racialized attacks on the Mashantucket Pequots’ Indian identity. It argues that such backlash carries over to impact groups who seek recognition of their tribal status, and the legitimation that such recognition might bring to their identity. Examining the colonial legacies of anti-Indian racism shows us that such racial antagonism in the United States is nothing new. However, understanding the contexts within which its recent resurgence has occurred may help bring fairness to the acknowledgment process, and may further illuminate intersections of common sense racism and legal spheres in American life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: California State University, Long Beach

Publication date: 01 June 2006

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