Historian to talk about wealth, tradition in Indian gaming

Closeup of Laurie Arnold
Laurie Arnold

How Native American cultural traditions of spirituality and gambling intersect with contemporary Indian gaming, and even reinforce tribal political sovereignty today, is the topic of a free, public address on Thursday, March 30, at WSU Pullman.

Laurie Arnold, PhD, associate professor of history at Gonzaga University and an enrolled citizen of the Sinixt Band of the Colville Confederate Tribes, will present “More than Casinos: Concepts of Wealth and Tradition in Indian Gaming.” Her address is the 2023 Sherman and Mabel Smith Pettyjohn Memorial Lecture in History at WSU and will begin at noon in CUE 518 on the Pullman campus.

Arnold, who is also director of Native American studies and the Robert K. and Ann J. Powers chair of humanities at Gonzaga, contends that today’s casinos serve as gathering places for Native American communities just as sites of games and competitions did for ancestral people.

“Indian Casinos are an important feature of Native communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” said Lawrence Hatter, WSU associate professor of history. “While they can appear to be a modern phenomenon, Dr. Arnold’s scholarship helps us to understand how casinos fit within a longer trajectory of Indigenous lifeways that connect the past and present.”

The Sherman and Mabel Smith Pettyjohn Memorial Lecture in History aims to advance the study of the Pacific Northwest and to amplify scholarship about the communities WSU serves in its land-grant mission.

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