Still A Damn Indian? Call Me At The Bank

Haresh Shah


Even though there is an alternative theory about how and why the native Americans came to be called Indians – which is: Christopher Columbus  having observed how ritualistic and religious the natives were of the new land he had stumbled upon, he defined them as the people of In Dios – In God, smoothly transitioned into Indians. But I still like the popular theory of Columbus believing that they had landed in India and therefore… Whatever! Can’t help but feel a certain amount of affinity, precisely because both of us being called Indians.

The night Jan (Heemskerk) and I spent at Fetzer Valley Oaks Food and Wine Guesthouse, we walk across the street to check out  Pomo Indian owned and operated  – Shodakai Coyote Valley Casino. It looked like an old shack. It wasn’t all that big and it mainly offered slot machines and some black jack tables. The hall was dimly lit and the trolleys serving free  soft drinks passed by the customers every so often.  No alcohol served on the premises.  The on site guard-PR-spokesperson Philip told us that alcoholism was  rampant among the Indians on the reservations. Philip talked to us about their Pomo tribe and the future plans for the  expansion.  The glow and the wonderment on his face was undeniable, probably at the thought of what good fortune their lot had been bestowed upon. Jan immediately assigns me to do a story for the Dutch edition of Playboy of what was then the recent phenomena of popping up of the casinos large and small across the American continent on what used to be the Indian reservations.

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