Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Whaley, Gray


This thesis explores how the advent of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 caused Native American identities to become hyper-politicized and manipulated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Federal Acknowledgment Process (FAP). I use the Ramapough Lenape Nation of New York and New Jersey's 1990's attempt at federal recognition as an example of gaming's pervasiveness in identity debates. I demonstrate that despite the consistent understanding of the Ramapough's Lenni-Lenape ancestry through direct and indirect references since the eighteenth century, the risk of Ramapough gaming in New Jersey caused proponents of Atlantic City, New Jersey's gaming economy to secure an unjust denial of Ramapough sovereignty through interference in FAP proceedings.




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