The Chukchansi Indian tribe runs a 2,000 slot casino in California. The casino has proven so profitable that the tribe has gone beyond providing healthcare and stipends for its members to make a sizable, and somewhat surprising, donation: They’re giving $1 million to linguists at nearby California State University, Fresno, to study their language and, with the help of a few remaining native speakers, teach it to younger generations. The Chuckchansi are one of many tribes, Norimitsu Onishi reports at the New York Times, spending casino earnings on efforts to pull their languages back from the brink of extinction:
Brazil’s controversial plan to build the third-largest dam in the world right in Amazon rainforest got the go-ahead from the environmental ministry this week. The ministers approved the permits for the dam project, and now companies can begin to bid on the building rights. But whoever wins will have to pay out at least some money to protect the local environment.
The 11,000-megawatt Belo Monte dam is part of Brazil’s largest concerted development plan for the Amazon since the country’s military government cut highways through the rainforest to settle the vast region during its two-decade reign starting in 1964 [Reuters]. Nearly all huge dam projects raise environmental concerns because they flood vast areas and can change ecosystems so drastically. But the Belo Monte, to be built on the Xingu River, has the additional trouble of being in one of the most important habitats in world and near to populations of indigenous peoples. The Xingu is a tributary of the Amazon River.