Native Americans give back: 2 school systems reap benefits from Poarch Creek Band
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Mar 05, 2012 | 2065 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the cuts to education come down on Alabama public schools, pleas for state businesses to make up what is being lost have gone out.

Some businesses have helped out. Some have contributed computers, technical support and other aid. Unfortunately, what Alabama’s schools need most is money that can be spent where the need is greatest.

However, when it comes to cash, most companies are not forthcoming. Times are tough all around.

So school systems suffer — except in Elmore and Montgomery counties.

This year, the Poarch Creek Band of Creek Indians has donated $2 million to the public school systems in those counties; the money will be divided equally between them. The funds come from a tribal discretionary budget that collects money from the Poarch Creek casinos in Wetumpka, Montgomery and Atmore.

This is not the first time the Poarch Creek Band has helped local schools. Last year, the tribe gave more than $1 million to schools around Atmore, where the Poarch Creek reservation is located.

A number of conclusions can be drawn.

First, Indians casinos are doing well. Their hotel and entertainment facilities are expanding. Even in these recessionary times — and maybe because of these recessionary times — people want to gamble. So they do.

The members of the Poarch Creek Band are good citizens. They give back to the community that sustains them.

And, as we have pointed out before, if Alabama officials would come to an agreement with the Indians and set up an effective gaming commission to oversee gambling in the state, even more money might be available for the state’s public schools — including schools that are not in the counties where the tribe is located.

But since few politicians are willing to take this issue on, Alabama children in Elmore and Montgomery counties will have to hope that the Poarch Creeks continue to prosper and are generous with their prosperity.

As for children in other counties, they can just continue to hope someone will help them.
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