Ten years after the casino cash started flowing, the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians' good fortune is on display across the peaceful Capay Valley.
Thanks to their Cache Creek Casino Resort – which makes about $300 million a year and is scheduled to expand – each of the 26 adults in the 60-member nation gets about $1 million a year after taxes, more if they're on the tribal council or committees. They get a travel allowance to expand their horizons to Tahiti, Europe or anyplace they desire.
They own luxury cars, custom homes on the rancheria and second homes elsewhere. They send their children to a first-class private school that offers their Patwin language and native flute taught occasionally by Grammy winner Mary Youngblood.
But CEO and Chief Marshall McKay sees trouble behind the opulence. The demons of the past that have plagued his tribe since they lived in trailers and scrounged for work haunt them still: diabetes, substance abuse, fierce family feuds and chronic apathy.
"I call it wealth shock … the poverty of the soul," said McKay, who's fighting to save his nation by pushing cultural rebirth and education. "I stress to members we can do a lot of damage by providing too much."
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