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South Dakota Tribe Could Sway Votes

28 June 2004

HARTFORD, Connecticut – As reported by the Hartford Courant: "The Mashantucket Pequots have emerged as key players in a South Dakota political campaign that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

"Indian votes could be crucial for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, who is fighting a challenge from Republican John Thune.

"The Hartford Courant reported on Sunday that organizers of an Indian voter registration campaign have accused the Mashantucket Pequots of blocking their fund-raising efforts, a contention the Connecticut tribe denies.

"The dispute surfaced last week when Henry Buffalo, a Chippewa Indian and a lawyer for a Minnesota tribe, criticized the Pequots at an open session of the National Congress of American Indians for trying to thwart the Four Directions Committee.

"He said the Pequots approached Sodak Gaming Inc., a South Dakota supplier of slot machines, and told the company not to make a $100,000 donation to the committee. The Pequots run Foxwoods Resort and Casino, one of the biggest and most profitable casinos in the world.

"…He said the tribe incorrectly assumes that Four Directions is a front for the Democrats…"

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