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Tribes Could Be Affected By State Budget

California tribal casinos have been enormously lucrative — with more slot machines and gaming halls likely on the way as Governor Schwarzenegger negotiates with suddenly wealthy tribes to help trim a massive budget deficit.

Yet of the state´s 325,000 American Indians, about 30,000 are associated with gambling tribes, while the remainder could be affected by other proposed budget cuts.

Several hundred Indians journeyed to the Capitol from the far reaches of Northern California to protest the cuts against a background of drum beats, traditional songs and prayers.

An alliance of five Indian health care consortiums recently began a $400,000 campaign to pressure state and federal lawmakers for money.

A governor´s spokesman defended the budget.