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.
11 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - OCT - DECEMBER 2022 EDITION
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