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Ho-Chunk may change payouts to 18-year-old tribal members

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Ho-Chunk Indians will soon decide whether to change the way their casino profits are handed out to teenagers, so they can avoid spending them recklessly. The Wisconsin State Journal says the tribe is in the final week of a 90-day comment period on doling out the cash in smaller amounts -- or making young people first get jobs, military service, or a college education.

Each adult Ho-Chunk tribal member gets $12,000 a year from profits at its casinos throughout Wisconsin. For children, the payments are put into a trust fund -- and they don't see a dime of it until they're 18, get a high school diploma, and show that they're financially literate. Still, a number of young people are reckless in spending that their sudden windfalls -- which are sometimes greater than $200,000. Some have regretted that, and tribal leaders have responded by proposing new guidelines on how the funds are handed out.

The 13-member Ho-Chunk legislature would have to pass the measure -- and then the U-S Bureau of Indian Affairs must give its blessing.

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