Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Abby Hickcox

Second Advisor

Patricia Limerick

Third Advisor

Clint Carroll

Fourth Advisor

Dale Miller


This multi-sited research design investigates and analyzes the impact that the New Mexico tribal casinos have had on the nineteen Pueblo Nations of New Mexico. This research examined Pueblo gaming using Pueblo culture as an indicator of success. This study utilizes cultural methods to evaluate the establishment of casinos in terms of the onset of capitalism, economic independence, sovereignty, misrepresentation, and changing landscape. The research concludes that tribal gaming is a culturally inappropriate development strategy. The methodology utilized in this research included scholarly research into the recent phenomena of tribal gaming through historical and contemporary scholarship, including the emerging development of literature analyzing the growth of tribal gaming. Perhaps more important, the research involved detailed in-person and written interviews with Pueblo tribal members in New Mexico. Using a cultural lens and environmental justice framework, this study favors alternative forms of development that would adhere to cultural values including the importance of community, commitment to family, knowledge of language, attendance of ceremonial ritual, and sacredness of land.