The Edowaquah Tribal Council held meetings once a month to allow members of the Tribe to voice their concerns, causes or complaints in a public forum. It also provided the Tribal leaders with the opportunity to assess the mood in the community. But on this particular day, a special meeting was called for an urgent matter. One of its citizens had made accusations of malfeasance and embezzlement against some of the Tribal leaders. The Council had agreed that the only way to prevent these accusations from catching hold was to stop it at its source; for the good of the Tribe.
The Council was made up of seven members, all men, and all with the appearance of good moral character except for one who had risen through the ranks by way of coercion, either with money under the table or with threats by physical intimidation. That person was Quane Montez the junior member of the Tribal Council, and its most influential. His connection with the Baxter and Baxter law firm proved to have been beneficial to his ascendancy onto the Council. And if Bill Baxter was elected governor, Quane had positioned himself to be the conduit for whatever needed to flow between the Tribe, and the state capital to ensure that more favorable deals for the Tribe would be made in the gaming compacts submitted before the state legislature. There were compacts on hold now that called for an increase in the number of slot machines that the Tribe could operate. In exchange, the state wanted a bigger percentage of profits from those slot machines, a bigger cut than the Tribe was comfortable in giving.
Baxter promised an expansion of gaming activities on Tribal lands, while keeping the state’s cut of those profits in check.
Baxter’s war chest was being filled with casino money, and Quane was charged with convincing the state’s other tribal nations to unite behind Baxter’s campaign.
Another of the Council members was Rex Whitehorse, the Tribal Chief, and its chairperson. He was known by some as T-Rex, once a term of respectful endearment because he represented the old ways and customs with a ferociousness that made him a respected icon of the past. But lately that moniker had become stoked in ridicule. Some considered him a fossil that was symbolic of a time that had come and gone, and that he should be buried with the past. This technologically advanced age was foreign to him.
The world moved too fast, and he was too slow to acknowledge the advances that would modernize the Tribe. Everything had to be done instantly, and he lamented often that people didn’t take the time to talk and think things through. His world of the past with its traditions, customs, and respect of elders, was all but gone. He had been the lone voice on the Council against the Casino, at one time. It would be a corrupting influence he had said, and would make worse the divisions between the haves and the have nots. Our culture will vanish, and will be replaced with nonstop gambling, and all of the ills that came with it.
His words were ignored by most, but did serve to inspire a young Oda Rains. But with the passage of time, the monthly stipend that members of the Tribe received from the Casino profits, helped to push the old ways further back into time. Benefits to the Council members were significantly more than what trickled down to the people. The money made even the most ardent voice of tradition bend the rules, and grab a bigger piece of the pie.
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