We’re not surprised that the Coquille Tribe is not pleased with the state lottery’s current ad campaign.

You’ve probably seen the ads depicting the intrepid explorers, Lewis and Clark, originally dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the new American frontier. In the state lottery’s current interpretation, the hardy pioneers brave 8,000 miles of wilderness to arrive in Oregon and discover — a video lottery machine standing amid the new territory’s majesty. Eureka!

We’re more surprised that others haven’t also raised a voice of displeasure — like history buffs, Lewis and Clark aficionados (of which Oregon is richly endowed) and all who prefer good taste over cliché.

Yes, it’s cheesy, and we’re guessing the ad campaign’s crafters don’t think the caricature should be taken too seriously.

Then again, we aren’t the indigenous people who were the original inhabitants of this piece of the country. You’d think Lewis and Clark just found video gaming machines as they trekked to the Pacific, not other people and culture, too.

And we weren’t the ones who, earlier this month, heard from our governor that she didn’t think we should be building any more gambling establishments, enterprises that constitute the basis for our ability to generate income.

If you’re a business owner, you’d also be upset if the state began operating a business similar to yours, and then began telling you that your business is too big.

You could argue that the state lottery system and the governor are two different governmental entities. But that’s a distinction without a difference. One state entity exists to raise money, the other exists to spend it.

And if you don’t understand the cultural affront here, you should at least appreciate the fiscal aspect. This is about money. Gambling is a billion-dollar industry and it’s understandable that anyone with the wherewithal would want to take advantage of it — even the state.

But the state, with all its power and influence, shouldn’t come along and, on the one hand ignore you; while on the other hand arguing to keep you from prospering.

When you see it that way, we’re not surprised that the Tribe is not pleased.


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