Bull's hit

27th December 1996 at 00:00
From Sean Williams

May I pick up on two points from Scott Bradfield's article "Gone West" (TES2, December 6)?

Sitting Bull was not at Wounded Knee. He was killed in what was probably an arranged assassination by Red Tomahawk, a member of his own Lakota nation at the Standing Rock reservation some two weeks before the Knee massacre.

The emergence of casinos on reservations means that a tiny minority of Native Americans makes some money, and that some very small issues of social deprivation and cultural regeneration are addressed. The sums of money that find their way back to the tribes, however, are nothing like the vast profits made by the non-Native American backers, whose interest in the operations is exclusively financial and, as Bradfield suggests, as exploitative as ever.

The casinos offer little more than neon beacons to poverty and depression. They stand as ridiculous monuments to further exploitation, attracting the sad, the pathetic and the violent in ways which ensure that the theft of that which "belongs to no one but is on loan to everyone" continues.

There are many educated, articulate and politicised Native Americans struggling hard to resurrect tribal dignity and culture. They show signs of winning skirmishes and battles against huge odds.

For a clear picture of how it is, see Michael Apted's Thunderheart then weep - and protest.

SEAN WILLIAMS Park Road, Radlett, Hertfordshire.

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