Rodney Wilson

Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy, PhD


Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jay Prag

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Katharina Pick

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Bernie Jaworski

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© Copyright Rodney Wilson Claremont, 2020. All rights reserved




Across the nation there are 556 federally recognized tribes. California is home to the largest number of tribes in a single state with 109 federally recognized tribes and the largest number of language groups. This is a case study of Indian gaming in California built around the experiences of three tribes and the events, processes and decisions leading to opening legal casinos in California. The three tribes are the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Jamul Indian Village and the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. Case histories of each tribe provide close-up perspectives of events, rich in fine-grained detail and using reports on interviews with key participants. The case histories are explorations in depth of the means by which these three tribes rose from abject poverty to the prosperity brought by casino gaming. To present its conclusions, the study draws upon the three case histories to compare and contrast the tribes across a number of subjects, including: the extent to which the US Constitution, Supreme Court precedents and statutory intent determined outcomes; the role played by tribal sovereignty, especially when in conflict with community concerns; public opinion and attitudes, including racism; the role of informal powers and outside players; the part played by financing and investors in tribes’ decisions; interactions with local, state and national agencies; the importance of tribal governing structures and policies; the roles of tribal leaders; women in tribal roles; tribal values and policy commitments; tribal democracy; decisions by tribal leadership and management with regard to events that led to the legalization of Indian gaming in California and politics within each tribe and between and among tribes. The dissertation will highlight the roles and key individuals who led to fruition the effort tolegalize gaming on the reservations. The dissertation demonstrates the survival skills that tribes developed historically and how they brought them to bear in securing casino gaming on reservations. The dissertation is the first to provide detailed evidence on the processes by which California tribes legalized their gaming businesses and the first to offer analytic conclusions based on such evidence.