Plays #1-4 have been exposed (here, here and here). Here are #5 and #6, with new plays already in design by the bad guys. Play #5—Make Political Rounds. The bad guys rush to visit officials at all levels of government, starting at nearby towns and counties, and extending to state and national capitols. Aided by the first four scripted plays, the bad guys spin their talking points into the minds of anybody who innocently gives them a meeting, and further cause folks to either pick their side or “stay neutral.” They especially lobby BIA superintendents and career staff to delay the agency’s recognition of the last undisputed Tribal officials, knowing that all other government officials will await that determination before they might be inclined to do anything.
Play #6—Exploit National Tribal Silence. The bad guys know that Tribal leadership and disenrollment disputes are taboo in forums like the National Congress of American Indians and National Indian Gaming Association. They leverage this silence to further advance their cause.
Even worse, the bad guy-lawyers write large checks on behalf of their firms or other affiliates, even other inter-tribal trade associations, to sponsor large inter-tribal meetings. National Indian groups unknowingly accept that dirty money and promote those sponsorships, which allows the bad guys to infiltrate the groups’ most inner circles, where they spread their message to ensure continued inaction.
With their most powerful potential critics—other Tribes’ leaders—hushed, it becomes even easier for the bad guys to persuade federal officials to either do nothing or tread slowly.
This is really happening, and these are only the first six scripted plays. Today’s Abramoffs are already tweaking and perfecting new plays, without any shame or repercussion. Nobody formidable is standing in their way.
Unless there is a dramatic change of mind and heart within Indian Country and its extended federal family, it is only a question of time before the bad guys hit another Indian community. And absent a change in the status quo, the good guys may soon be left with no other choice but to preemptively call plays from the Abramoff Playbook in self-defense of what is right—and what is truly Tribal.
Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda is the Managing Partner at Galanda Broadman. He is a citizen of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.