As the Queen Anne & Magnolia News website reported on Oct. 24, the United Indians of All Tribes (UIATF) center is $318,000 in debt.

Since the published mission of the UIATF is to “provide educational, cultural and social services that reconnect indigenous people in the Puget Sound region to their heritage by strengthening their sense of belonging and significance as Native people,” it occurs to me that a united tribes approach to supporting Daybreak Star’s services and activities should be possible.

We in the Puget Sound region are aware of the beneficial effect that tribally owned casinos have had on the health, social services and educational capabilities of the tribes by providing a previously unavailable income stream. Since Daybreak Star serves the tribes, perhaps now is the time for the tribes to support Daybreak Star with a small portion of their casino income. 

In Washington state, there are approximately 47 casino operations. Of these, about half (24) are owned and operated by Native American tribes; and of these, half again (12) are owned by Puget Sound tribes. These include the Lummi, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Nooksack, Puyallup, Skagit, S’Klallam, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish and Tulalip.

A contribution of $26,500 from each of the 12 tribes would instantly retire Daybreak Star’s debts. Something in that range on an annual basis from each tribe (about $2,000 a month) would keep Daybreak Star healthy. In exchange, Daybreak Star could agree to organize its programs and services to support the needs of these tribes. Some or all of the tribes could provide representatives to sit on Daybreak Star’s board to provide guidance and wisdom for both services and financial viability.

It seems totally unnecessary to lose an institution with a long history of serving both the Native American and Puget Sound communities when there is clearly money in these communities to provide the needed support.

Mark Spitzer

Queen Anne