IGU 2022 Oct - Dec 22Edition FINAL


Indian Gaming 2022 October - December Edition



IGA Hosts Tribal Leaders Reception at G2E Recognizing Tribal Leaders with Chairman’s Leadership Award

Indigenous Peoples Day at G2E “Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Special Look at Tribal Gaming,”


IGA Hosts Mid-Year at Fort McDowell Celebrating perserverance & resiliency of Tribal Government Gaming


President Biden Hosts First Tribal Nations Summit IGA Hosts Tribal Leaders Reception



Message to Tribal Leaders by Ernie Stevens, Jr. Chairman

American voters delivered a split decision in the 2022 midterm elections, with Democrats retaining control of the United States Senate and Republicans taking the U.S. House of Representatives. Each will have a narrow majority in the next Session of Congress. The results of federal elections play an outsized role in the everyday lives of residents of Indian Country. Tribal governments rely on Congress to uphold solemn treaty and trust obligations and to protect tribal sovereignty and self-governance. Unless we hold Congress accountable through the power of our vote, history has shown that Congress will not only fail to uphold its obligations to Indian Country—the government will work to the great detriment of our people. The first Americans were the last to be granted voting rights. For the first 150 years of our Nation’s history, American Indians had no vote, and no say in federal policies that stole our lands authorized the forced removal of Indian children from their families and outlawed the expression of Native culture, language, and religion. It wasn’t until 1924 that Indians were granted the right to vote in federal elections. Many states continued

to deny American Indians the right for decades after 1924. Even today, Tribes must fight to fully exercise the voting rights of their community. The Native American vote is our voice and our power to ensure that policymakers are held accountable. To help energize the Native vote this past fall, the Indian Gaming Association’s “My Vote WILL Count” campaign held stops throughout Indian Country, recruiting young warriors to organize their communities. Exercising our voting rights empowers our people and honors the sacrifices of our ancestors who fought to protect tribal sovereignty and our way of life. The Native vote once again played a pivotal role in many tight races. What is even more encouraging is the growing number of Native candidates. In the 2022 elections that number grew to a record 140 indigenous candidates for federal and states offices in the general election. While not every candidate won election or reelection, Indian Country applauds their efforts to serve their communities. They elevate the visibility of all Native Americans and our issues. Indian Country will again be strongly represented in the 118th Congress. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R- OK)(Cherokee) will be the first enrolled member of a

federally recognized Tribe since the great Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)(Northern Cheyenne) to serve in the upper chamber. House Native American Caucus Co-Chairs, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK)(Chickasaw) and Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS)(Ho Chunk), easily won reelection. Rep. Davids won reelection to her third term in Congress in the face of a toughly redrawn district, winning the race by double digits. And finally, Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK)(Yup’ik) won her race to serve a full two-year term as the At-Large Representative for the State of Alaska. Rep. Peltola, the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress, won the special election in August to serve the remainder of the term for the late Congressman Don Young, the Dean of the House of Representatives. However, after every election, while we celebrate these victories, we know that the months ahead require a united education effort. The 118th Congress, which opens on January 3, 2023, will seat dozens of new Members of Congress, many who do not represent Tribes or even have Tribal Governments in their state. In total, 83 new Members of Congress will be sworn into office. From January through March of 2023, the Indian Gaming Association and our sister organizations hold legislative summits and impact weeks to discuss Indian Country’s policy priorities and challenges. We also

take these opportunities to meet with New Members of Congress and educate them about Indian Country, our culture, and federal government’s relationship and obligations to our communities. When new Members of Congress are sworn-in, they take a solemn vow to uphold the United States Constitution. We take these early opportunities to remind them that the U.S. Constitution they swore to uphold reaffirms the status of Indian tribes as separate sovereign governments. We remind them that Treaties are the Supreme Law of this nation. For the Indian Gaming Association, we also share the history of Indian gaming and its vital importance to Tribal Government economies, the 300,000 direct American jobs that Indian gaming generates annually, and the fact that revenues generated from our industry are reinvested in Native communities to improve education, health care, public safety, and other essential community services. Indian gaming is Tribal Government self-determination.

@ G2E

OCTOBER 10 - 13, 2022 - THE VENETIAN EXPO LAS VEGAS, NEVADA Tribal Gaming Leaders Reception Tuesday, October 11, 2022 11:00 - 11:30 am G2E Networking Lounge Join Us! Celebrating Tribal Government Gaming INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION HOSTS ANNUAL TRIBAL LEADERS RECEPTION AT G2E 2022

Chairman Steven recognized several leaders throughout Indian country, instrumental in leading their tribal communities and gaming operations with the Chairman Leadership Award. Honored Today was Greg Abrahamson, Vice Chairman of the Spokane Tribe of Indians.


Featuring a Keynote Panel Acknowledging “Indigenous People’s Day” Monday, October 10th 4:00 -5:00 pm Venetian Ballroom F Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., welcomed attendees, “It is great to see you all here Today. I want to thank everybody for being there and supporting us. Once again, G2E can see the tremendous tribal government gaming representation here Today. Thirty years ago, we used to go to these events and recruit gaming consultants & professionals to assist us in building our industry. Stevens added, “Back then, we were working to figure out to make slot machines work right away in Indian country because we were building schools and hospitals and taking care of our community from day one. It is great to see how far we’ve come. We’ve all grown and walked into this world. Stevens continued, Today, we are the experts of our The Indian Gaming Association hosted its annual Tr ibal Leaders reception at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) on the tradeshow floor on October 11th, 2022 industry. We’ve surpassed the mainstream gaming world. Our Indian gaming industry now leads the United States of America, and that’s because of you all.”


Tribal Gaming Sessions

Titian #2301

Monday, Oct. 10 • Tribal Leadership Session: A Review of 2022 • The Business of Gaming and Sports Betting in Indian Country • Expanding the Market: Moving Beyond Tribal Government Gaming • Does Class II Still Have A Place In Tribal Gaming? • Building Trends: Are Today’s Casinos Evolving Enough?

Tuesday, October 11 • Tribal Sovereignty & The Law: Is Your Sovereignty Safe In The Cloud? • California Sports Betting: Tribal Campaign Update • NIGC: Words Matter in Sports Wagering Contracts • How To Leverage Technology For

Wednesday, Oct. 12 • Casino Operations in an Era of Economic Uncertainty • A Federal Perspective on Digital Wallets • Tribal Gaming 2.0: Acquisitions In The Commercial Gaming Market • iGaming & Retail Gaming: Friends or Foes?

Stevens said, “Greg Abrahamson is one of my colleagues who has probably been around for this industry from day one. He has served on a board of directors and side by side with me my entire term at our gaming association. Today, we recognize Greg for his years of service and engagement on behalf of Tribal Government Gaming.

Recruiting Quality Professionals and Retaining Your Talent


The following Chairman’s Leadership Award was presented to Michael Fairbanks, Chairman of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. Stevens shared that Chairman Fairbanks is a long-time close friend. The friendship comes from their years on the Indian basketball tournament circuits and the traditional Pow-Wow world. He shared, “Chairman Fairbanks has my utmost respect. He has tremendous responsibilities on behalf of the White Earth Nation but is also a strong resounding force for all of Indian Country.” Stevens also recognized George Rivera, a former governor of Pojoaque Pueblo. Stevens shared, “George has spent thirty years in government and leadership, and throughout that tenure, he never left his art because his art has driven him, and it was always a part is his leadership.” Stevens then recognized Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Gaming Association (WIGA), with the Chairman’s Leadership Award. Stevens told the audience that George was a protege turned experienced veteran. He said, “Rebecca George is an example of one of our gaming professionals in leadership who have grown with the industry.” Stevens also shared, “WIGA is a titan in this fight and an organization made up of leaders who have worked hard in fighting to protect tribal sovereignty.” The final Chairman’s Leadership Award was presented to Mark Woommavovah, Chairman of the Comanche Nation in Oklahoma. Stevens said, “I want to say that the responsibility that Chairman Woommavovah has in the world of leadership is immense. We wanted to recognize this tribal chairman for the work that he’s doing not only for the Comanche Nation but all Indian country.” Chairman Woommavovah shared his recognition by bringing the entire Comanche Nation Gaming leadership to join him on stage to accept his leadership award.


Indian Gaming Association and G2E Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day 2022 Global Gaming Expo

Las Vegas, Nevada– October 10, 2022 – Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2022 officially kicked off its annual show on Monday at the Venetian Expo by recognizing Indigenous People’s Day and with a full day of panels and educational workshops, which included a track focusing on Indian gaming-related topics and issues. To celebrate Indigenous People Day, the keynote track at G2E hosted their first keynote address entitled “Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Special Look at Tribal Gaming,” which included Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., who moderated the session and panelists Holly Cook Macarro, Political Consultant & Strategic Advisor, Reid D. Milanovich, Chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Former U.S. Senator, Colorado. Chairman Stevens opened the session by presenting his official Indigenous People’s address to attendees. Stevens said, “At its core, Indigenous People’s Day is an opportunity to tell the story not only of our perseverance but our essential contributions to this nation.” Steven noted, “It should be a well-known fact that our ancestors inspired the infrastructure of America’s early democracy.”

He added, “Countless advances in American medicine, agriculture, and engineering, without the influence of native healers, farmers, and thinkers, would not have been possible. It should be well known. It should be a well-known fact that our ancestors inspired the infrastructure of America’s early democracy. Of course, even before being recognized as United States citizens, Native men and women warriors have stepped up to protect and serve our nation. And this democracy is five times the national average.” He acknowledged the outstanding work of the Indian Gaming industry’s comeback post-COVID-19. “This pandemic rocked Indian Country to our core. From day one, Tribal Leaders put the health and safety of people and communities first.” Stevens added, “The safety-first approach fostered trust in our operations. While Indian gaming revenues fell for the first time since the great recession, our revenues topped $39 billion in 2021, beating our pre-COVID record revenue by more than 13 percent. This comeback is a resounding affirmation of the vision and approach to the pandemic taken by Tribal leadership. It also comes as no surprise to those who witness every day the tireless work of the Indian Gaming industry leaders.”


When Stevens asked closing thoughts, Macarro said, “I look at our youth now and am so in awe of them. Every single one who stands up and protests and shows up and shouts that we’re getting our land back not as like we’re going to take the land your house is on but as the meta-narrative of what land back means”. She concluded, “It’s our land, our culture. It’s our songs and our prayers. Our youth seem to have so much passion for all those things. Just know nothing holds them back, and it’s super inspiring to see that on this Indigenous People’s Day.” Chairman Milanovich said, “When tribes stick together, we’re much stronger. Right? I try to say that when we have a united Indian Country, we have a strong Indian country. We are in charge of our destinies. I think about all the hard work of generations before us, and their sacrifices are what put us where we are today. And although I think they would be proud to see where we’re at now, they wouldn’t want us to let up. We must keep moving forward.” Last week, President Biden issued an official proclamation on Indigenous People’s Day. He said, “On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we honor the sovereignty, resilience, and immense contributions that Native Americans have made to the world; and we recommit to upholding our solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations, strengthening our Nation-to-Nation ties.”

Stevens concluded, “I hope that we all take a moment to celebrate this Indigenous People’s Day by making an effort to understand the true history of Native America, erase the myths and legends, not to dwell on the past, but to educate, heal, and honor the gifts that our ancestors have given us all. Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell provided a wealth of history to the audience that led to the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Campbell was one of the five co-sponsors of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988. He shared, “None of us who could have ever thought it [Gaming] was going someday to be a 39 billion dollar a year business, hiring thousands of employees and helping so many communities.” The Senator concluded, “Overall, the Indian gaming industry has helped millions of people, both Indian and non-Indian, and I was proud to be a small part of it.” Holly Cook-Macarro shared her thoughts on the recognition of Indian Country through Indian Gaming. She said, “The recognition Indian Country has today, with our allies and all of those relationships that we’ve built throughout the years, shows how hard we’ve worked to be visible and educate mainstream America about Indian country and who we are as contemporary people. A lot of that is under the specter of Indian gaming.” Chairman Reid Milanovich added, “It is important to look at what gaming has done. For tribes, for my tribe, gaming generated the ability to operate our government member benefits, health care, housing, and education. It allows us to protect our natural resources and our culture.” Milanovich said, “So what gaming revenue has given my tribe and many other tribes the opportunity to do what we need to do. We have a seat at the table now.”

Chairman Stevens joins fellow panelists for the “Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Special Look at Tribal Gaming,” at G2E. In the photo L-R: Reid D. Milanovich, Chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Holly Cook Macarro, Political Consultant & Strategic Advisor, and the Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Former U.S. Senator, Colorado .


National Congress of American Indians Youth Commission Hosts Annual Youth Luncheon in Sacramento

Chairman Stevens recognizes NCAI Youth Commission Honorees

Sacramento, California – November 1, 2022 – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Youth Commission hosted its annual NCAI Youth Luncheon today as part of the 79th Annual NCAI Convention and Marketplace in Sacramento, California. Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., joined the Youth Commission in presenting the NCAI Youth Commission honorees. Youth recipients included Jonathan Arakawa, a Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe citizen. Mr. Arakawa is the Co- Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians Youth Commission and Secretary and Northwest Regional Representative to the National UNITY Council Executive Committee. Sydney Lynn Matheson is the NCAI Youth Commission Co-Vice President at the National Congress of American Indians, Confederated Tribes of Colville. She will graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice from Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Washington. Sydney is currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and is also an Emergency Medical Technician. Sharon Bassette is an enrolled member of the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska. Member of the bear clan & descendant of the water spirit clan. She is a recent graduate of Morningside University. Sharon also received her B.A. in political science with a pre-law emphasis and minors in legal studies and psychology.

The final recipient was Christian Penn, from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. Christian is going to college to become a film editor. The NCAI Youth Commission established the Youth leadership recognition in honor of Chairman Sevens, a long-time youth advocate who was instrumental in creating the NCAI Youth Commission when he served as NCAI’s first Vice President in the 1990s. Stevens said, “When we envisioned creating Youth Commission at NCAI, we focused on energizing our young Native leaders to be visible, not pushed aside. We wanted to empower these young people to lead, not as future leaders but as today’s leaders.” He added, “It has been an honor to come together and present this award for more than 20 years. The greatest reward is seeing so many honored become prominent community leaders. I am proud that they have become successful doctors, lawyers, business professionals, and in many cases, experts in the Indian Gaming industry that the IGA serves.” The NCAI Youth Commission was established to unite and develop the youth by sharing their concerns and interests and enhancing the spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well-being of tribal youth for a better Native America. It is designed specifically for college and high school students ages 16-23 interested in political science, tribal government, and Native American legislative and governmental affairs.



government over a dam that would have flooded the reservation and forced its tribal members to relocate from their lands. The tribe gathers for the Orme Dam Victory days to celebrate this historic occasion. On October 29, 2020, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation unveiled their upgraded resort casino, the We-Ko- Pa Resort Casino. It presents not only an upgrade to the casino floor, games, sportsbooks, and restaurants but the cultural beauty of the tribe woven into every aspect of the gaming facility. Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman of the Indian Gaming Association, said, “It is always such a majestic experience to visit the Fort McDowell community. Their passion for protecting the sovereign interests of their people is impressive. It is incredibly empowering to bring our tribal gaming industry to our mid-year conference and their beautiful new property to celebrate the sovereign strength of the people at Fort McDowell. While the three-day confab hosted an array of active topics and top-notch presenters on all aspects of the Indian gaming industry, it was the meeting with the member tribes of IGA that brought to the forefront the current issue to the discussion. In his opening address, Chairman Stevens shared, “It is great to be together again because we have much to celebrate and new challenges and opportunities to address as we continue our work to protect Tribal Sovereignty and

The Indian Gaming Association (IGA) presented the annual Mid-Year Conference hosted at the newly upgraded WeKoPa Resort Casino in Fort McDowell, Arizona. The conference included a significant focus on the current gaming industry landscape, critical legislative updates, the backdrop of the recent election for Indian country, honoring legendary Indian country leaders and a celebration of Native American Heritage month, and the celebration of the Fort McDowell Orme Dam Victory Days celebration. On November 12, 1981, the proposed construction of Orme Dam was declared illegal by the Federal government and the Department of the Interior. This landmark decision came after a 13-year legal battle between the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the state and the federal


strengthen Native communities.” He added, “Over the past two years, our industry has shown remarkable perseverance and resiliency. The recent

the Mid-year event, including presentations topics such as “Arizona Sports Betting: One Year Later,”; “Remembering the Fort McDowell Raid,”; “A Deep Dive Into Class II

Gaming in Arizona,”; “What’s next for sports betting in California?”; “Arbitration Challenges with Gaming Compacts,”; “The Current State of Cannabis in Indian Country,” and “Integrating Your Online and Land- Based Gaming Products: Problems and Solutions.” The Indian Gaming Association also hosted an honoring luncheon recognizing several of Indian country’s leaders, first with the annual John Kieffer Sovereignty Award, presented to Veronica Homer, the former Vice- Chair, of the Colorado River Indian Tribe and the first Woman President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Henry Cagey, a senior council member of the Lummi Indian Business Council and formerly the Chairman of the Lummi Tribe. IGA also posthumously honored

“Over the past two years, our industry has shown remarkable perseverance and resiliency. The recent rebound of the Indian gaming industry from COVID-19 was no surprise to those who live and work in Indian Country.” “This tireless and meticulous work-built trust and confidence in our operations and led to an incredible post-pandemic resurgence for Indian gaming nationwide.” Ernie Stevens, Jr.

rebound of the Indian gaming industry from COVID-19 was no surprise to those who live and work in Indian Country.” “This tireless and meticulous work-built trust and confidence in our operations and led to an incredible post-pandemic resurgence for Indian gaming nationwide,” Stevens said. Indian gaming revenues topped $39 billion in 2021: an increase of 40 percent over 2020 and more than 13 percent over the record revenues generated in 2019. Chairman Stevens shared, “The Tribal Government gaming industry’s comeback is a resounding affirmation of Indian Country’s resilience and the

nationwide safety-first approach taken by Tribal leadership. While many are still on the mend, bringing folks back to our facilities in a safe, fun, and exciting way shows that we are moving our way back. The state of the Indian gaming industry is strong and growing stronger. But we cannot rest until all our tribal gaming properties are secure.” An array of the panel discussion was presented during

leaders from Fort McDowell with the Chairmans Leadership Award to two former leaders of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Community, the late Clinton Pattea, longtime President, and the late Gilbert Jones, Sr., also a former President. Family members from each accepted the awards on behalf of the two prominent Fort McDowell leaders.

The John Kieffer Sovereignty Award was presented to family & friends of Veronica Homer, former NCAI President who was not able to attend and Henry Cagey, former Chairman of the Lummi Tribe. Photos L-R: Henry Cagey accepting the honoring along side Danny Kieffer, son of the late John Kieffer and Greg Abrahamson, Spokane Tribal Council Member


Both leaders led the Fort McDowell Yavapai community in 1992 when FBI agents invaded the Fort McDowell Casino seizing the community’s 349 gaming machines and loading them into moving trucks. Community members witnessing the raid took immediate action. They called other community members, tribal leaders, and the news media. A blockade of the casino access road was organized using every available car, truck, and piece of heavy machinery. This led to a three-week standoff between the tribe and the government. The Arizona Governor was ultimately persuaded to sign a gaming compact with the tribe, thus paving the way for Indian gaming in Arizona. Stevens said, “This became a place that set a strong precedent that we stand firm yet are always ready to interact in a fair and comfortable manner moving Indian country forward. While that was energetic, it brought us all to the table, and that strong stand helped move Indian gaming forward across this country. Because of the stance of Fort McDowell and the diplomatic growth and respect among tribes throughout the country, tribal-state relationships continue to grow.” Stevens added, “The most recent example is the April 2021 compact signing between the State of Arizona and the 18 gaming tribes in Arizona. It was a great day to witness these tribes unite as they signed one of the most significant gaming compacts in our history.” Stevens also posthumously presented the “Legendary Warrior for Sovereignty” award to the late Rodney Lewis, a trail-blazing prominent tribal attorney in Arizona. His son, Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Lewis, accepted on behalf of the family. Rodney Lewis was the first Native American attorney to be admitted to the State Bar of Arizona Bar and the first Native American attorney in the nation to argue and win a case before the United States Supreme Court.

Chairman Stevens posthumously honored Fort McDowell Leaders -Former President’s Gilbert Jones and Clinton Pattea with the Chairmans Leadership Award and the Legendary Warrior for Sovereignty award to the late Rodney Lewis of Gila River Indian Community at the John Kieffer Sovereignty Awards banquet.

In the photos above: Chairman Stevens with family of Gilbert Jones, and the family of Clinton Pattea.

Photo below: Stevens presents the Legendary Warrior award to Gila River Governor Stephen Lewis, the son of the late Rodney Lewis.


Indian Gaming Association joins Arizona Tribes and Phoenix Suns Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Chairman Stevens shared, “This recognition of the Arizona tribal leadership by the Phoenix Suns organization was such a great recognition of Indian country and Native American Heritage Month. It set the stage for others to follow. Still, most importantly, at its core, this recognition is part of the greater acknowledgment of Native American Heritage month as an opportunity to educate American citizens about the First peoples of this continent and tell the story of our traditions,

On Wednesday, in celebrating Native American Heritage month, Indian Gaming Association leadership joined the Arizona Tribes and the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center in unveiling the basketball organization’s recognition of the Arizona tribes. The tribute included presenting their native-influenced jerseys and an overall game celebration from the culture with the National anthem and tribal traditional dancers, and half-time recognition of the 22 tribes in Arizona by introducing the leadership of each tribe.

culture, and contributions to world history. This is truly what Native American Heritage Month stands for, educating, showing respect, and working together through advocacy, recognition, and celebration.”


Mid-Year closes out event with the Indian Gaming Association joinin in the Orme Dam Victory Days Parade at Fort McDowell

On Saturday, Chairman Stevens closed his visit to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation by joining the community parade, the pow-wow, and other events celebrating the Orme Dam Victory Days. Stevens commended, “What an honor to ride in the parade and meet the community. It has been a few years since my last visit to the Orme Dam celebration, but one thing hasn’t changed, it is still so strong and powerful.” Stevens added, “This has been a phenomenal

week for the IGA in Arizona. From the great gathering of our tribal leaders from all over the country and gaming industry experts at Mid-Year to the welcoming atmosphere of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the WeKoPa employees and all of the celebrations we were part of with Arizona tribal leaders, it reminds me of how honored and humbling it is to serve the Indian Gaming Association and stand with such great leaders in Indian country.”


PRESIDENT BIDEN HOSTS FIRST TRIBAL NATIONS SUMMIT Pledges continuation of Executive Consultation with Indian Nations on the Final Day of Native American Heritage Month American Heritage Month

working in D.C. for the Federal Government. “The work and relationships forged by Tribal Leaders this week in the Nation’s Capital is a continuation of the work by those early Indian warriors who came to D.C. to establish a more comprehensive government to government relationship between Tribes and the Federal Government. They laid the foundation of tribal self-determination and economic development free from the heavy hand of B.I.A. and Department of Interior. Tribal Leaders should be proud that this legacy continues to endure and that the Biden Administration recognizes the importance of meeting and constructively consulting with Tribal Governments.” Chairman Stevens introduced Holly Cook Macarro who recounted her Uncle Lee Cook’s early days working for the B.I.A. in the 1970’s under the Nixon Administration. Lee Cook came to D.C. with a group of young Native professionals with the intent of improving the services and changing the relationship the B.I.A. had with Indian Tribes. He worked for the iconic B.I.A. Commissioner at the time Louis Bruce, a Mohawk tribal citizen, along with Chairman Stevens father, Ernie Stevens Sr and the rest of the team. Lee Cook and Ernie Stevens Sr., helped to produce new regulations and policies that treated Tribes as co-sovereigns and improved the communication and dialogue with Tribal Governments. Current Oglala Sioux President and former South Dakota State Senator, Kevin Killer was introduced to the assembled Tribal Leaders. Chairman Stevens provided President Killer with a gift for his service to his State and Tribal Nation, as well as representing all of Indian Country. Kevin spoke to the Tribal Leaders and recounted how his father Francis Killer, a certified CPA and auditor, helped not only the Indian Gaming Association establish itself in D.C., but other Tribal Organizations as well. The first IGA Chairman, the

On the final day of Native American Heritage Month and with more than 500 American Indian and Alaska Native leaders in attendance, President Joseph Biden hosted the first ‘in-person’ Tribal Nations Summit in over four (4) years. Officially the “White House Tribal Nations Summit” it is being held today and December 1st, 2022, at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. This year’s Summit is to build and review the goals and issues from the 2021 Virtual Summit. All Federal Agency Leaders are meeting with Tribal Leaders to review the progress made under the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen our Nation-to-Nation relationships and discuss the use of Tribal and Federal resources to strengthen our Native communities. As echoed in the President’s remarks to assembled Tribal Leaders, “the Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to honoring its trust and treaty responsibilities to federally recognized Tribes, and this Summit provides an opportunity for Tribal leaders to engage directly with officials in the highest levels of the Administration.” In the evening after the first day of the Summit, Tribal Leaders from across the Country congregated at the Indian Gaming Association’s Headquarters building on Capitol Hill. Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr., held a touching and moving Tribal Leaders Reception celebrating the last day of Native American Heritage Month. Chairman Stevens remarked on the parallels of this year’s Summit with the work passed on from our early Tribal Leaders


late Rick Hill, relied extensively on Fracis Killer to help maintain its non-profit status and build their presence as a lobbying force in D.C. Francis Killer did this pro-bono work at a time when most Tribes and organizations had very little money. Francis Killer’s contributions to Native Organizations, combined with Lee Cook and Ernie Stevens Sr.’s work at the B.I.A., laid the foundation today that we see embedded in the President’s Tribal Leaders Summit: Respect for Tribal Sovereignty and Tribal economic self- sufficiency. The Indian Gaming Association wanted to highlight these Indian trailblazers in D.C. to connect the generational work being conducted at this Tribal Summit. Tribal Leaders in attendance this week working with the Biden Administration will be remembered for their efforts at providing for the next generation of Tribal Leaders. Perhaps the words of Sitting Bull are a guide for this week’s work with President Biden: “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” The First In-Person Presidential Tribal Leaders Summit Since 2017 First initiated under the Clinton Administration, and then the Obama Administration, the White House Tribal Leaders Summit has evolved into one of the largest and most widely attended gatherings of tribal leaders in America. The President began the day by promising tribal leaders that the final meeting held today would build upon the foundation of his Administration’s commitment to work with the First Americans in a true nation-to-nation relationship with respect for tribal sovereignty. Secretary Haaland began the Summit with an uplifting message to the assembled Tribal Leaders. She said that government to government meetings such as this highlights why it’s so important that we redouble our efforts to make

sure that every federal agency truly consults and listens and works with Tribes: Sovereign to Sovereign. The days events were later followed up with great news on the Tribal broadband front. The Departments of the Interior and Commerce and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance electromagnetic spectrum access opportunities and the deployment of broadband and other wireless services on Tribal lands. Additionally, the Department of the Interior is establishing a new Office of Indigenous Communications and Technology (OICT) to assist Tribal Nations and Tribal entities in managing and developing new technological and wireless services on Tribal lands to advance true self- determination over digital resources. National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp, representing the Quinault Indian Tribe and the more than 500 tribes of NCAI, praised President Biden’s work on Native American issues and told the assembled Tribal Leaders that this Summit is a welcome change in the Government’s interaction with Tribal Nations. The Summit continues tomorrow with Tribal Leaders’ meetings with the Cabinet Secretaries to discuss important Tribal issues such as protection of natural resources, economic development, health, public safety, housing, and education. This is Indian Country’s first opportunity to meet with the United States since the historic November 8th elections. Tribal Leaders are hoping for the continued consultation and collaboration from President Biden’s Administration, which has been a welcome change of policy.

Chairman Stevens joins tribal leadership at the Indian Gaming Association dinner following the Tribal Leaders Summit hosted the Biden Administration In the photo L-R: Chairman Stevens, Mark Macarro, President of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians, David Hill, Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Reggie Wassana, Governor of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes





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