By Stacy Thacker, University of Montana
In the past few years the Navajo Nation has decided to try its hand at gaming. While this has been both controversial and welcomed, there is a new study that shows that it might be among the best ideas that many tribes have had.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Casinos have proven to be something of a health miracle.
Sounds insane right? That's exactly what I thought when I was reading the article. It says that the risk of diabetes, obesity, smoking and drinking have decreased due to casinos!
Yes I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor also. Who knew? Casinos don't just take money but build up income for many Native families as well. If you have the gift of gambling like my grandmother then I guess anything is possible.
Now that is not to say that exercise programs and other wellness programs on many reservations should be ignored. Just think how healthy we could become by going out for a walk, jog, run, eating something other than frybread and if age appropriate, go out for a few hours and gamble!
Life is sweet.
The stigma of casinos is also there, just because there have been some health improvements it doesn't mean that there will always be financial benefits. Losing money and becoming addicted to gambling still remains a serious problem, so is the anxiety it can cause.
However for the sake of this recent study I have no arguments. I’m only shocked, surprised and impressed.
Stacy Thacker (Navajo) is from Navajo, N.M.