Letter To the Editor: Barbour’s Crusade against the Choctaws

(I emailed this to the editors of various newspapers in Mississippi in response to Governor Haley Barbour’s fight against the Choctaws’ plans to build a gaming facility on tribal land located in Jones County, Mississippi)

To the Editor:

Governor Haley Barbour’s crusade against the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ proposed Jones County “slot parlor” as he likes to call it has been well documented in the media.  One angle that the media has not taken that I would like to know about is what the Governor’s true intentions are.  I don’t think he has the interests of the environment or local and state infrastructure in mind.

What the Governor seems to forget is that the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is a sovereign, federally recognized Native American tribe.  As such, the way they conduct their affairs is none of the State of Mississippi’s business.  Governor Barbour asked Attorney General Jim Hood to find some legal means to stop the plans of the M.B.C.I., however Mr. Hood and his staff concluded that there is none.  Even with all of these matters factored in, Governor Barbour is continuing his plan to file suit against the tribe in an attempt to stop their gaming development.  Something smells rotten and I don’t mean the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

While I, as a mere citizen who is not part of the political machine, am in no position to make any outright accusation, I believe there are some dirty deeds being dealt by the casinos on the coast, the Mississippi River casinos and the Governor.  A recent blurb in the New York Post (“Bet on Gov. Barbour,” July 12, 2010) indicates that gaming mogul Steve Wynn (whose gaming company has operations on the Mississippi River) is encouraging Governor Barbour to campaign for the Republican nomination for President.  All of this seems mighty coincidental to me.

Mississippi is last in almost every quality of life statistic that is surveyed.  We have high unemployment, an education system that needs major improvement and we are dealing with the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, yet the Governor has the audacity to mount a fight against the Choctaws when he has no right to?  I implore the Mississippi Ethics Commission to launch an investigation of the Governor and his dealings with the gaming industry and also possible abuse of his gubernatorial power.

Jonathan Tullos

Stonewall, Mississippi

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