"Let them build a casino!" the mob shouted at Hal Walker, the Unified Government's chief counsel. Home owners in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, have learned to love gambling in the months since the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma sued 1,300 of them to take ownership of land it bought about 150 years ago from the Delaware tribe. Wyandotte Chief Leaford Bearskin says he doesn't actually want the land; he just wants property owners to join his fight for a tribal casino in Wyandotte County.
He has won these allies by threatening their homes, making it nearly impossible for them to sell their houses as long as the lawsuit continues because buyers can't get loans on the properties. Walker predicted that there'd be no major hearings in the case for at least six months, though it's doubtful many people heard him because his belly kept bumping into the podium. "Can you talk into the microphone, please?" the crowd begged repeatedly. An AV nerd rushed forward to crank the volume, producing ear-splitting feedback that instantly cheered everyone up.
Thank God Walker's sidekick Henry Couchman was on the job. The diminutive lawyer had no trouble reaching the mic and making an insult heard. "From the very beginning, my concern has been with the little people in this case," Couchman told the predominantly African-American audience.
"We'd rather be called citizens than little people," replied the Reverend C.L. Bachus of Mount Zion Baptist Church.
That day's election hadn't given the little people much chance to fight back, because none of the Unified Government reps were on the ballot and every state lawmaker from the county ran unopposed. That left the crowd with no option but complaint, though Bachus suggested that, like the Wyandottes, he might attempt to collect on a debt owed his forebears.
"If they're gonna give the Indians this, then I need to go back to Mississippi and get my 40 acres and a mule," he said.