Gambling on Authenticity

Gaming, the Noble Savage, and the Not-So-New Indian

Becca Gercken (Editor), Julie Pelletier (Editor)

In the decades since the passing of the Pamajewon ruling in Canada and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in the United States, gaming has come to play a crucial role in how Indigenous peoples are represented and read by both Indians and non-Indians alike. This collection presents a transnational examination of North American gaming and considers the role Indigenous artists and scholars play in producing depictions of Indigenous gambling.

In an effort to offer a more complete and nuanced picture of Indigenous gaming in terms of sign and strategy than currently exists in academia or the general public, Gambling on Authenticity crosses both disciplinary and geographic boundaries. The case studies presented offer a historically and politically nuanced analysis of gaming that collectively creates an interdisciplinary reading of gaming informed by both the social sciences and the humanities.

A great tool for the classroom, Gambling on Authenticity works to illuminate the not-so-new Indian being formed in the public’s consciousness by and through gaming.


Gambling on Authenticity is a timely, informative, and readable collection of essays showing that Indian gaming involves so much more than economic development or politics. The collection as a whole offers a fascinating look at how casinos and gaming are linked to important concerns of Indian land claims, sovereignty, identity, and authenticity. Notable for its even-handed, balanced approach, Gambling on Authenticity includes a substantial discussion of the beneficial effects of Indian gaming (often grounded in field research) along with problems associated with gaming. The interdisciplinary range—from representations of Indian gaming in literature and art to ethnographic and rhetorical studies of gaming controversies—and the attention to differences among tribal nations as well as U.S. vs. Canadian regulations and practices make this an outstanding collection.”

– Nancy J. Peterson, Professor of English and American Studies, Purdue University, and author of Against Amnesia: Contemporary Women Writers and the Crises of Historical Memory

About the Authors

Becca Gercken is an associate professor of English and American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Morris. She has published in the areas of identity and representation, masculinities, and pedagogy. Her most recent work appears in Leslie Marmon Silko: Ceremony, Almanac of the Dead, Gardens in the Dunes.

Julie Pelletier is an associate professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Winnipeg. She has published in the areas of identity and representation, and the indigenization of the academy. Her most recent work is “Insider/Outsider Ambiguities and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.”

Other contributors: Indigenous gaming and identity in North America.

Book Details

  • Gambling on Authenticity: Gaming, the Noble Savage, and the Not-So-New Indian
  • Becca Gercken (Editor), Julie Pelletier (Editor)
  • Published September 2017, 180 pages
  • Paper, ISBN: 978-0-88755-815-3, 6 × 9, $29.95
  • Topic(s): Identity Studies, Indigenous Studies

Purchase Online

  • Only available for sale in: Canada.

    Not available for sale in: United States.

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