Support White Earth casino plan

White Earth Nation’s proposal would solve the Vikings stadium problem.

Editorial board

The White Earth Nation, an American Indian nation with lands in north central Minnesota, has proposed fronting the state’s portion of the cost of a new Vikings stadium in exchange for the rights to build an off-reservation casino in the Twin Cities. Gov. Mark Dayton and state legislators should embrace the ideals of this proposal and find a way to make it work.

This plan ensures that the Vikings would stay in Minnesota with their stadium built in a timely manner. State taxes wouldn’t be raised. Furthermore, the state would split the revenues of a casino 50-50 with White Earth. Dayton supported a state-run casino in his campaign for governor but said he would rather use those funds for purposes other than a stadium.

The White Earth Nation is the largest American Indian nation in the state — accounting for more than 40 percent of the state’s American Indian population — and is also the poorest per capita. When Minnesota allows American Indians the sole rights to operate gaming casinos, the philosophy is that the native populations benefit financially for Minnesota’s shameful past. The truth of the matter is that only the smallest tribe in the state receives the financial benefits that a close proximity to the cities provides.

The White Earth Nation’s proposal is a step forward in providing equality in benefits to all native populations in the state of Minnesota for the acts committed against Native Americans in the past. The proposal also provides another, arguably more feasible, option for the hundreds of millions of public dollars that the current Vikings stadium construction plans require. Our state leaders should embrace alternatives like the White Earth Nation’s proposal to pay for our professional football team.