The Mashantucket Pequots have had a long and proud history, enduring for centuries even after colonists and historians believed them to have been exterminated by the British in 1637. By the carly 1970s, however, the legacy of their generations rested on the shoulders of a single clderly woman, upon whose death the Pequots' reservation would fall into government hands. Her grandson, Richard "Skip" Hayward, and other relativdes responded to her pleas and kept alive the tribe and its land by coming to live on the reservation. Journalist Kim Isaac Eisler tells in riveting detail how Hayward and others skillfully manipulated laws, court decisions, and political connections to permit the Mashantucket Pequots to found the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in 1992. Located in Ledyard, Connecticut, Foxwoods today is arguably the world's most profitable casino complex, grossing over one billion dollars annually. The Mashantucket Pequots have become staggeringly rich, their tribal membership has swelled, and they are now an influential force in national politics. Their triumph has not been without controversy: Eisler also examines the volatile issue of racial identity among the Pequots and looks at the negative impact of Foxwoods on those who also make their home in the Connecticut woods.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||6.62(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Kim Isaac Eisler, a former staff writer for American Lawyer, is the national editor of Washingtonian magazine.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em' could be the subtitle for this book. Native Americans suffered in military, social, and bureaucratic maneuvering versus the European settlers and later the United States. In the 1970s, the strategy altered to seeking advantages as another special interest group. That approach benefited from poorly drafted laws, politicans' need for campaign funds, and a bad conscience among politicians to create unexpected and unequaled success for the formerly impoverished handful of Connecticut-based Mashantucket Pequots. The resulting gaming empire of Foxwoods (from the one-time name of 'Fox people' for the Pequots) now wields far more power than the tribe ever had in its entire history. This story reveals a great deal about the nature of modern American politics and law that shows the need for broad reform at every level of government. The weakness of this book is that it takes on the Pequots almost as a special case, rather than as a more typical example of the system we have now. The book is also overly detailed for the interests of most readers, and does not make very entertaining reading except for those who are fascinated by legal and political intrigue from an academic perspective. The author revels in the irony of President Clinton courting the Pequots for funds and political support in 1994. Historically, it had been the other way around with U.S. presidents and tribal chiefs. In 1994, tribal chairman Richard 'Skip' Haywood personally donated $500,000 to the Democrats for the congressional campaigns. After he and the president spoke by telephone, other members of the tribe donated an additional $800,000 to the Democrats that year. After the Republicans won the election, a further almost $200,000 went to the Republicans. But this is just what any other special interest or business does all of the time. The wealth of Foxwoods made it possible for the Pequots to have a large seat at the negotiating table. Casinos were bound to come someday to New England. Legalizing gaming has been sweeping the country, often led to state lotteries. Cash-strapped state and local governments are always looking for new sources of funds. So the fact that these casinos ended up being owned by Native-American tribes is probably the only surprise to most people. If you are like me, you have read some of the details of how this happened, but have never seen it all woven together. I was very impressed by the legal innovation of attorney Tom Tureen and the entrepreneurship of ex-chairman Haywood. The work of either one could be the subject of an interesting leadership case history. The full vision of ex-chairman Haywood is mind-boggling. He worked on bringing a professional football team into the tribe, building a theme park, and tried to establish a bullet train to the casino among other ventures. I hope someone will also write a business-oriented history of the same events to add more of that dimension to this story. The lesson of this book is that you can achieve great things by setting very ambitious goals. Are you goals too puny? Why don't you increase them? How much more could you accomplish as a result? May the odds always be in your favor! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution
I stumbled upon this book, and what a lucky fall. I work with state government in southern California and our area is being quickly beseiged with many new casinos. Originally only the rural areas were affected, now almost every tribe is joining in, and our urban areas are feeling the pressure of increased traffic,loss of sales tax, redefinition of the morality of gambling,etc. This book was a fabulous find, historically presenting the blueprint for Indian gaming introduction, with an entertaining ability to weave the old and the new. In a time when local and state governments want mitigation for public safety, roads, etc. this is an invaluable tool for elected officials and others trying to come to terms with this explosion of sorts- one which they have little influence. A true story of advocacy...history...and the new direction of Native American identity, economics, and influence in politics. If we are counting coup...the Native Americans are ahead! A truly wonderful read...I'm planning on sharing this with elected officials!
I happened to see the bound galleys of this book and it is truly a well told story, much more fluidly told and with a broader brush than the book on the Pequots by Jeff Benedict; and much more about gambling, and much funnier. I love Kim Eisler's writing, if you havent seen Shark Tank, he is a hoot!