In this highly accessible book, anthropologist Theodor Gordon tackles settler society’s deep deficit of knowledge about the tribal casino industry’s legal and historical underpinnings. At the core of his analysis are the Cahuilla nations and homelands situated in present day Southern California, the “epicenter of the tribal gaming movement” (p. 19). The fourth title in University of Nevada’s “The Gambling Series,” this study contributes new texture to the embryonic field of tribal gaming studies and is an especially welcome addition to the meager corpus of California-based tribal gaming ethnographies. Yet this hardly describes the breadth of its scholarly relevance. As the author demonstrates, exercises in tribal nation sovereignty are historically situated and legally anchored within multiple contiguous, overlapping, and competing spheres of power. Thus, of necessity, the book transcends its Cahuilla moorings to shed clarity on the sociopolitical interactions and economic interdependence of multiple polities and “places”—including distinct, federally-acknowledged Native nations numbering in the hundreds, Native California, Indian Country, the U.S. settler colonial state, the State of California, and Southern California under Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. colonial rule. Gordon deftly unveils and explicates these matryoshka-like provinces of power in relation to the possibilities and limits they have posed over the long arc of Cahuilla nation activism.
"Review of Cahuilla Nation Activism and the Tribal Casino Movement,"
The Journal of Social Encounters:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/social_encounters/vol3/iss1/14