SPRING 2019 | Volume 9, Issue 7
2019 MID-YEAR EDITION
IN THIS ISSUE
NIGA CHAIRMAN SPEAKS AT MGM PUBLIC POLICY SYMPOSIUM At the invite of former U.S. Senate Leader Harry Reid and former Speaker of the House John Boehner
THE POWER OF INDIAN COUNTRY FELT Tribal Presence Strong as the Nation Welcomes the 116th Congress
NIGA IN LONDON PROMOTING TRIBAL GAMING London School of Economics hosts a discussion on Self Determination and Economic Development
NIGA JOINS THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTE Discussion on the next 30 Years of Indian Gaming
36TH ANNUAL SILVER & TURQUOISE BALL PG 09 Hosted by Gila River Gov. Stephen Lewis & NIGA Chairman & First Lady Record Breaking Fund Raising Event for Phoenix Indian Center
Cont. on Pg 2
Tribal Nations strong Presence Felt During 116th Congress Swearing-In
Washington, D.C. – January 04, 2019 – Over the course of the first week of the New Year, Tribal Leaders throughout Indian Country journeyed to our nation’s capital to witness the swearing-in of the historic 116th Congress. For Indian Country, it could not be more monumental than the election of the first two Native American women in the Nation’s history to serve in Congress. Representatives Debra Haaland (NM-1, Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (KS-3, Ho-Chunk Nation) will join Representatives Tom Cole (OK-4, Chickasaw Nation) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-2, Cherokee Nation) as the only enrolled Tribal Members serving in Congress. On Wednesday, many Tribal leaders and representatives witnessed the swearing-in of our friends from the Senate and House. Newly-elected Senator Kevin Cramer (ND) met visited with Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. shortly after his swearing-in, as did incumbent Senator Jon Tester (MT). Tribal Leaders traveled to Washington to meet, for the first time, the freshman class of the 116th Congress, including over 100 new members of the House of Representatives. Chairman Stevens was able to provide a pertinent reminder of Native Americans’ role in shaping this democracy and our growing presence on Capitol Hill. The swearing-in events concluded with a special reception at National Indian Gaming Association’s D.C. office honoring Representatives Haaland and Davids. Most Tribal Leaders stated that Indian Country stands ready to do the work necessary to protect our treaty rights and sovereignty. They also expressed the need for a continued partnership with the Administration and Congress, ending the day on an optimistic note with several Congressional visitors stating their intention to advance Indian Country’s key issues this legislative term. Representatives Betty McCollum (MN-4), Gwen Moore (WI- 4), Norma Torres (CA-35), and newly-elected Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2), attended the reception to congratulate their new colleagues. A special thank you is owed to the Mescalero Apache and Poarch Band Creek of Indians who helped co-sponsor
several events for Representatives Haaland and Davids, as well as Emily’s List reception at the National Indian Gaming Association, honoring these two Congresswomen. The evening concluded with a celebratory reception for our Native Congresswomen and native veterans at the Hyatt Regency, hosted by over 20 tribes and tribal organizations, including the National Indian Gaming Association. Of the celebrities sighted, Mark Ruffalo, an advocate for Indian Country, expressed his excitement and gratitude to be invited to take part of the night’s festivities with all of the tribal citizens and advocates present. Other presenters included Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) joined their colleagues voicing their support for the continuing collaboration between political parties to reach common ground on pressing Tribal concerns.
Two Native American Women become Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Debra Haaland (NM-1, Laguna Pueblo) and Sharice Davids (KS-3, Ho-Chunk Nation.) They joined Representatives Tom Cole (OK-4, Chickasaw Nation) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-2, Cherokee Nation) in the 116th Congress.
2 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - MID YEAR EDITION 2019
London School of Economics hosts a discussion on Self Determination and Economic Development: Tribal Gaming in the U.S.
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., joins representatives of the London School of Economics after the tribal gaming session.
Closing NIGA’s first day of business in London, was participation in a discussion organized by Professor Leigh Gardner which compared gaming’s evolution in the United Kingdom and contrasted it with Tribal Government Gaming in the United States. Carolyn Downs from the University of Lancaster started the discussion with an overview of the history of the British Gaming Industry. She discussed the impacts of religion and public morality and how it led to legislation. Leighton Vaughan Williams of Nottingham Trent University then spoke on Betting Taxation in the United Kingdom. He explained how the betting tax introduced from 1926-1960 on bookmakers by Churchill was unpopular, difficult to enforce and ineffective. In 1966 a new tax was reintroduced and was able to enforced and was more effective than the earlier tax. Off shore betting began in 2000 and gambling increased opportunities to avoid taxation. In 2003 there was a change to Gross Profit Tax (GPT) which was successful; bingo, pools betting & betting exchanges were included. Gaming machines remained outside the new tax regime, then in 2009/2010 gaming machines moved to GPT and eventually led to an increase in the number of machines allowable as the tax criteria was believed to be efficient, fair and able to maintain international competitiveness. Dr. Gardner then gave a historical overview of gaming in the United States and then Indian Gaming. At the end of her
presentation she stressed the need for statistical information from Tribes in order to show the impacts that Tribal Gaming has had, not only on Indian Communities, but Tribal Citizens lives and those communities that surround tribal casinos. Lastly, a Panel discussed Tribal Gaming and Development Today. Derrick Watchman, Ernie Stevens, Jr. and Victor Rocha were panelists. They discussed how Tribes strived to get the most for their communities at the onset of Indian gaming and how important it was to think about the next seven generations as compacts were being negotiated with States. The benefits of Indian Gaming were also discussed and how having the Gaming Industry throughout Indian Country spread the wealth and strengthened Tribal economies with and beyond gaming and to Tribal Nations without a significant gaming impact. The transformational and life-changing impacts that spreading the wealth through Indian Gaming meant to Native Nations and communities in education, social services, community development were also discussed. To wrap up the conversation, the panelists talked about the continuing needs in Indian Country from infrastructure, to economic development and coming back full circle; to the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual livelihood of Native people that has been neglected for so many generations.
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NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION MAKES ANNUAL EUROPEAN VISIT PROMOTING TRIBAL GOVERNMENT GAMING
Visits Novomatic Headquarters in Austria
As part of the travels leading up to the annual International Casino Exhibition (ICE) Gaming gathering in London, England, National Indian Gaming Association Chairman (NIGA) Ernest L. Stevens, Jr. and delegates visited the NOVOMATIC Group headquarters in Gumpoldskirchen, Austria. The NOVOMATIC Group is one of the biggest international producers and operators of gaming technologies and employs about 30,000 staff worldwide. Founded by entrepreneur
“It is an honor to welcome Ernest L. Stevens to Gumpoldskirchen and give him an insight into our production. The National Indian Gaming Association is one of the most important organizations in the USA and is an important partner for NOVOMATIC,” said Harald Neumann, Chairman of Board. Chairman Stevens explained Tribal Government Gaming and said, “Indian Gaming is bigger than mainstream gaming in the United States. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was a compromise between Congress and our Indian Tribes. Tribes believed it took was an intrusion on Tribal Sovereignty. We don’t celebrate it, but we respect it because it is the law. Native American communities have “gamed” since time immemorial and we have adapted that tradition into a modern day context.” Novomatic stressed the importance of developing long-term relationships and the need for a deeper and better understanding of Tribal Gaming and the humanitarian causes that are addressed in Indian Communities as a result. They also provided a tour of the North American Exhibit at the World Museum, which is funded by Novomatic and includes Native American Collections. Novomatic Founder, Professor Graf also joined the group for a brief lunch and exchange of gifts. He expressed his appreciation for NIGA’s visit and affirmed the company’s intentions to partner with Tribal Casinos in the North American market with its vast array of products, services and solutions for the gaming industry.
Chairman Stevens with Novomatic person at Headquarters in Austria
Professor Johann F. Graf in 1980, the Group has locations in more than 50 countries and exports high-tech electronic gaming equipment and solutions to more than 75 countries. The Group operates around 270,000 gaming terminals and video lottery terminals (VLTs) in its some 2,100 plus gaming operations as well as via rental concepts.
Commerce Department of the United States Embassy in London meets with the NCAIED and NIGA
The National Indian Gaming Association started off its ICE Conference with a visit to the United States Embassy in London. NCAIED Executive Board Member Derrick Watchman joined NIGA’s delegation in providing US Embassy personnel with a joint presentation on economic activity in Indian Country. Between the $32 billion in revenue generated by Indian Gaming, combined with revenues generated in other Reservation commerce such as oil and gas, healthcare, and manufacturing, Indian Country generates well over $1 billion in economic activity in the United States. Chairman Stevens and Mr. Watchman impressed upon U.S. embassy personnel that Indian Country is open for international businesses to join them in the next wave of Tribal economic success. Chairman Stevens and Mr. Watchman talked about the methods Embassy personnel could use to help spread the word of economic opportunities on Indian Reservations. The Department of Commerce representative directed NIGA and NCAIED to their “Buyer Delegation” program to drive overseas companies towards business opportunities on the Reservations. Participation in the program will provide a worldwide platform, wherever there is a
US Embassy, to let industries in those countries know about the economic opportunities in Indian Country. NIGA and NCAIED both resolved to partner with the Department of Commerce to provide more international exposure for doing business on Indian lands.
National Indian Gaming Association and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development representatives at the United States Embassy in London.
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The National Indian Gaming Association a vital force at the International Casino Exhibition (ICE)
Jason Giles, Executive Director and Mark Macarro, Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians join Sarah Slane, VP of Governmental Affairs at the American Gaming Association and Renato Ascoli, CEO of IGT North America as part of a Sports Betting in New Markets & Indian Country Panel at the International Casino Exhibition (ICE) conference in London.
On the second day of the ICE Conference, NIGA participated in the “Sports Betting in New Markets & Indian Country,” on the ICE Tradeshow floor. Chairman Stevens joined newly appointed President and CEO of the AGA, Bill Miller, to provide their respective viewpoints on the gaming Industry. Chairman Stevens noted that “Indian Gaming has become so much more than just an entertainment activity. Revenues from gaming are vital to our reservation economies and provide much needed funds for police, fire, healthcare, education, and other vital Tribal government services.” He used the example of his own father’s care in a nursing home fully funded by the Oneida Nation and only possible after the success of gaming on their reservation. He emphasized this example of success is common to Tribal Governments throughout the Country who use their gaming revenues to provide a better quality of life for their Tribal citizens. NIGA Executive Director Jason Giles joined an esteemed panel of his industry colleagues to discuss the future of Sports Betting in America. Moderated by Loretta Tuell of Tuell Indian Law, the panelists discussed where Indian Gaming and commercial gaming overlap, and how these two industries can work together in addressing the remaining obstacles to sports betting after the Supreme Court’s PASPA decision. Mr. Giles noted that Tribal Nations face legal and regulatory hurdles at the federal level that most States do not have to worry about. He noted that States with Tribes located in their borders are not as free to legalize sports betting without engaging with the Tribal Nations within the State. Therefore, it is notable that of the 10 State jurisdictions that legalized sports betting; only one, Mississippi, has a Tribe in their state.
Chairman Mark Macarro of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in California detailed the challenges unique to the Tribes in California who are looking to pursue the option of including sports betting in their casinos. The unique challenges faced by Chairman Macarro’s Tribe are endemic to Tribes throughout the Country as they look to negotiate with States on how to implement the next wave of gaming technology, and how that will correspond with a State’s public policy towards gambling. Often times in the past, these negotiations were fraught with bitterness, but Tribes and States today have a much better understanding of their respective policy positions. Chairman Macarro expressed caution about the California gaming market as the State Constitution needs to be amended in order to allow sports betting and the earliest that amendment could happen is in 2020. Sarah Slane, Vice President of Intergovernmental Affairs for the American Gaming Association, stated that the sports betting and mobile components of the gaming industry are far ahead of any federal laws or proposed federal laws. She noted that States are continuing to pursue sports betting, and the gaming industry at large continues to innovate and look to the future. Renato Ascoli, CEO of IGT North America, noted his company’s success with helping to implement one of the two Tribal sports book operations in America. IGT partnered with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw to open the first Tribal sports book in Indian Country. Mr. Ascoli was very optimistic about the future of Tribal gaming and the addition of sports betting as another form of entertainment for their customers. He also pointed out that the expansion of sports betting will not only be beneficial to Tribal Enterprises, but to society as a whole to make sports more fun and exciting for future generations.
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NATIVE WOMEN LEADERSHIP HONORED AT DURING NCAI MID-YEAR 2019 Sharice Davids and Cheryl Andrews-Maltais recognized as Women of the Year
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., joins the honoring of Cheryl Anderews- Maltais, who along with Congresswoman Sharice Davids was honored at the 24th annual National Indian Women’s Supporting Each other luncheon in Washington, D.C.
February 12, 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – Senator Elizabeth Warren, made a surprise appearance and was honored by the National Indian Women’s Supporting Each Other luncheon in Washington, D.C., which is held in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians Winter Executive Session. According to news sources, Tribal leaders and other Native American attendees gave Warren a standing ovation as she was introduced at the event. She spent time praising Native American women though she did also call on Congress to address more issues like housing, health care and addiction among Native Americans as well as “the alarming number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.” Also honored at the luncheon Congresswoman Sharice Davids, (D-KS) and Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, Chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) were named Woman of the Year by National Indian Women. The National Indian Gaming Association has been long been a sponsor of this prestigous Luncheon, which recognizes the importance and strength of Women leaders throughout Indian country.
In the photos; (Photos Courtesy of Indian Country Today Media Network)
Congresswoman Sharice Davids, (D-KS) is joined by Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan at the 24th Annual National Indian Women’s Supporting Each other Luncheon in Washington, D.C. Davids was on of the receipts of the Women of the Year by the National Indian women and honored at the annual luncheon.
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman joins Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cheryl Andrews-Maltais , Chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) who was also named Woman of the Year by National Indian Women and National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel.
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NIGA joins the Brookings Institute with a discussion targeting the next 30 years of Indian Gaming
February 14, 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – On February 14, Brookings hosted a symposium bringing together the U.S. and tribal government officials, academics, and experts to discuss what’s next for the American Indian gaming industry. The discussions took a look at identifying emerging issues, challenges, opportunities, and implications for the industry and tribal citizens alike. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) established the National Indian Gaming Commission as a means to support tribal economic development and self- sufficiency, promote robust tribal governments, and ensure tribes as the primary beneficiaries of gaming activities. Thirty years later, what impact has American Indian gaming had on local tribal communities? What are the challenges for the industry going forward in the next 30 years? The event emphasized the self-determination aspects of Indian gaming and brought together a diverse group of people representing the industry. These included regulators, tribal officials, researchers and federal agency officials who discussed the effects of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act on tribal nations and the prospects of Indian gaming for the future. The keynote speech was delivered by now former Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, who outlined the creation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which was passed in 1988, what IGRA has done for tribes, the economic success of Indian gaming since the implementation of IGRA and the regulators that continue to protect the Indian gaming industry. National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., joined the first-panel discussion entitled “The American Indian Gaming Industry Challenges in the Next 30 Years.” Moderated by Katherine Spilde, Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming and a Professor at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA. The panel included Patrice Kunesh, Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Center for Indian Country Development, Cody Martinez, Chairman of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation and John Tahsuda, Acting Secretary/ Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs for the Department of Interior. The panel discussed several topics, including taking land-into-trust and the need to educate the public about the benefits of Indian gaming.
“We need the world not to
be afraid of Indian people
expanding our horizons
because we got a long way to
go. In the next six months, I’m
going to hold two more brand
new grandbabies. So, I’ll be
up around 17 grandchildren.
I want these kids to have
something to live for and I
want America’s children to
have something to live for.
That’s what Indian gaming is
--Ernie Stevens, Jr.
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TRIBAL LEADERS FOCUS ON 2019 LEGISLATIVE TOPICS AT NIGA WINTER LEGISLATIVE SUMMIT
National Indian Gaming Association Executive Board Members join National Indian Gaming Commission Commissioners after presenting regulatory updates at the 2019 Winter Legislative Summit .
Washington, D.C, – February 26, 2019 – The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) kicked off the 2019 Winter Legislative Summit today at the Stanley CrooksTribal Leaders Conference Center in Washington, D.C. The two-day legislative summit is designed for Tribal Leaders from around the country to come together to discuss issues central to tribal communities and governments. National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Stevens welcomed the leadership: “This Summit is one of our most instrumental gatherings each year. The Government Shutdown delayed this important Conference, but Congress and Indian Country are back at work in D.C. The work that we have to do here is immense and comes with an enormous responsibility to make sure Indian Country’s concerns are heard. While it may look like an uphill battle for us in the era that we are facing, we continue to assemble in D.C. because we still have a lot to accomplish. We have to be ready to take on the issues with the full strength of Indian country, standing firm with our Allies, and always protecting tribal sovereignty.” Coming off the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Winter Executive Session a few weeks ago, this is the first event hosted by NIGA with the 116th Congress. Throughout the day Congressional Leaders joined the tribal leadership to provide legislative updates regarding many pressing Indian country issues. Freshman Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Laguna-Pueblo, (D- NM) started the morning with a welcome to the tribal leadership. Haaland is one of the first Native American Women to be elected into Congress in 2018. Despite being new to Congress Haaland has been pegged take on a critical leadership role in Congressional Committees including being selected as vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Haaland is the first Native American to hold that leadership role in Congress. She provided overviews of issues she is has been working on including Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Violence Against Women, climate change, renewable energy, and universal healthcare and conducted a question and answer session with the tribal leadership. Congresswoman Haaland also took on the vital role of Co-Chair of the House Native American Caucus. National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel followed Haaland in addressing the tribes. He applauded NIGA efforts and the tribes that are engaged in gaming, He said, a lot of those tribes subsidize many programs in tribal communities. They make sure tribal communities gaming has become the lifeblood of many of our communities. Without that revenue, we could not do the things that we are. We are raising the quality of life, especially in communities that wouldn’t have things otherwise.” Congresswoman Kendra Horn (OK-5), who is another freshman representative also met with the leadership. A strong advocate for Indian country, last month Horn joined Oklahoma Congressmen Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole in cosponsoring the Pay Our
Doctors Act, to fund the Indian Health Service (IHS) for the next fiscal year during the government shutdown. The bill will ensure that tribally-run hospitals and Urban Indian Clinics receive the funding they need to keep their doors open during the government shutdown. Sponsors of theTribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2019 Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI) also took time to meet with the tribal leaders to discuss the TLSA and other Indian country issues. Last month, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act was introduced in both the House and the Senate. The bill was unanimously passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) on January 29, 2018. The leadership then heard from Congressman Paul Cook (R-CA). Cook serves on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources and the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples in the House. Cook has served as a member of this subcommittee since his first term of office in 2013. He has been a strong advocate on Native American and tribal issues for well over a decade. Congressman Ruben Gallegos (D-AZ), followed Cook, providing his congressional update. Gallegos who was elected by his peers to serve as the Chairman of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the House Natural Resources Committee for the 116th Congress. The Subcommittee, formerly known as the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, is responsible for all matters regarding Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and the 573 federally recognized Native American tribes and their relations with the United States. Gallegos shared with the tribal leaders that he and Congresswoman Haaland recently re-introduced a bill to restore and expand protections for the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Tribal Sovereign Immunity and Tribal Risk Assessments closed out the discussion for the day. Lead by Mark Van Norman, of Atcitty Van Norman, LLC and John Harte, of the Mapetsi Policy Group. Indian nations, as sovereigns, possess sovereign immunity from suit just as do Federal and State Governments. Tribal sovereign immunity is a recognized doctrine of Federal law based on the status of Indian tribes as sovereigns pre-date the United States. While the Supreme Court has recognized that tribal sovereignty immunity, the lower federal courts, and State Supreme Court have been inconsistent. This challenge may also represent an opportunity that can be addressed through the use of risk management, risk pools, tribal tort reform and Federal legislation affirming the authority of Indian tribes to maintain our sovereign immunity and establish our laws on tort reform. The first day concluded with an evening reception at NIGA with tribal leaders and members of Congress and congressional staff.
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Economic & Business Development Success in Indian Country Highlighted at 2019 Reservation Economic Summit
Las Vegas, NV – March 25, 2019 – The 2019 Reservation Economic Summit was the best attended RES in many years, with over 2,400 people gathering in Las Vegas for four days. While it would be impossible to capture all of the great things that occurred at RES, the NCAIED wanted to do a quick highlight a few of the events, speakers, and programming that defined the week in celebration of the 50 years of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. RES 2019 officially kicked on Monday with the annual scholarship golf tournament. On Tuesday the ever-popular opening general session kicked off the economic development celebrations, with remarks from an impressive lineup of speakers, including National Director for the Minority Business Development Agency Henry Childs, Key Bank’s Head of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Don Graves, and former Ambassador Keith Harper. The Procurement Expo also kicked off on Tuesday, where hundreds of contractors and suppliers met with top procurement officers in both federal agencies and the private sector. It’s our way of directly connecting RES attendees with business opportunities. Throughout the week, “energy in Indian Country” was a major theme at RES. Attendees heard from Department of Energy officials such as James Campos, Director of the Office of Economic Impact; Anne Marie White, Assistance Secretary for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management; and John Sneed, Executive Director of DOE’s Loan Program Office. There were great sessions focused on various aspects of energy on tribal lands, including renewable energy, fossil fuels, energy and water infrastructure, environmental management, and Loan Programs. At the celebration, NCAIED announced the winners of our annual business awards. These awards highlight individuals, organizations, and businesses that are making significant contributions to Indian Country. It was our honor to recognize their achievements. On Wednesday morning RES 2019 opened our Business Trade Show, where hundreds of Native and non-Native-owned businesses opened their doors to prospective customers and clients. It was a clear sign that Indian Country is indeed open for business.
One of our most attended sessions was one that focused on Native Women in Power and Leadership, where attendees gained insight into the empowerment of Native women in today’s professional world. It was moderated by National Center Board Member Margo Gray who is President of Margo Gray and Associates and featured Deana Jackson, managing partner at Zion Enterprises, LLC (NCAIED 2019 Native Woman Business Owner of the Year), Autumn Dawn Monteau, Ginger Sloan from Nations Global Services, and Danelle Smith, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System. United States Congresswomen Debra Haaland (D-NM) provided a video address from Washington, D.C. at the RES 2019 Wednesday Luncheon where she announced the introduction of the Native American Business Incubators Act, designed to boost support for Native-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. In the evening, theNCAIEDcelebrated the 10thAnniversary of the 40 under 40 awards with a reception to honor the many past awardees who were at RES. This impressive and growing group will define our community’s future. Before RES concluded, attendees heard from several panels on various topics, including one entitled “Encouraging and Strengthening the Next Generation of American Indian and Alaska Native Youth.” Moderated by National Center Board Member Lillian Sparks Robinson, leaders from Native Americans in Philanthropy, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Cheyenne River Youth Project, and UNITY. The youth are our future, and these organizations are working to ensure they are given every opportunity to succeed.
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36th Annual Silver & Turquoise Ball Raises $300k plus for Phoenix Indian Center’s Programs and Services
Pictured: L to R: Patricia Hibbeler, Chairman Ernest L. Stevens, Jr., Cheryl Stevens, Roylynne Bilagody, Governor Stephen R. Lewis, Traci Morris at Phoenix Indian Center’s Silver & Turquoise Ball April 6. (Photo: Phoenix Indian Center)
Phoenix, AZ – April 6, 2019 – The Phoenix Indian Center’s key fundraising event, Silver & Turquoise Ball, took place earlier this month (April 6) at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. With more than 500 in attendance, the event raised well-over $300,000 dollars to benefit programs and services provided by the Center; supporting American Indian families and children in Maricopa and Coconino counties, and rural communities across Arizona. “What a tremendous night we had,” said Patricia Hibbeler, CEO of the Phoenix Indian Center. “This year’s event was record- breaking for us with the largest attendance and dollars raised in 36 years. We are truly thankful for the generous support and contributions from our attendees, sponsors, committee members, and our American Indian artist community who donated beautiful artwork to both our silent and live auctions,” Hibbeler added. The 2019 event chairs were Governor Stephen R. Lewis from the Gila River Indian Community, NIGA Chairman Ernest L. Stevens, Jr., with his wife Cheryl Stevens. Auction chairs were renowned American Indian artists, Rykelle Kemp and Jacob Meders. With more than 100 silent and live auction items to bid on, attendees enjoyed a musical-themed evening highlighted by painted vinyl records, as art centerpieces, created by American Indian artists from communities throughout the United States. Each year, the Phoenix Indian Center highlights an American Indian chef who creates an Indigenous-inspired menu. Chef Freddie Bitsoie, from the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., offered a 3-course plated for attendees, and in addition, offered his culinary talents to a live auction package, with one lucky winner bidding on a private dinner for 6 prepared by the Chef at a private home.
Brooke Simpson, who was a top finisher in NBC’s vocal talent competition, The Voice, was honored by the family of Phoenix Indian Center’s first executive director and contributing founder, the late Leon Grant, with the Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award. Simpson, who is from Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in North Carolina, was recognized for her work as a young American Indian female who continues to use her success to engage American Indian youth by sharing her personal story of struggles, determination, and commitment. “We want our youth to know they don’t have to be in their later years to be recognized and honored for the work they are doing right now. We want to encourage and support our young people,” said Joy (Grant) Manus, daughter of Leon Grant. The evening was capped off with a riveting 30-minute musical set by Brooke Simpson and her four-piece band, leaving attendees in awe of her talented vocal ability. Sponsors of the 2019 event included APS, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Desert Diamond Casinos, SRP, Gila River Indian Community, National Indian Gaming Association, Cox, Discover, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Complete Health, Burch & Cracchiolo, CopperPoint, Freeport-McMoRan, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Wells Fargo, and Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort. The Phoenix Indian Center is in its 72nd year directly serving more than 7,000 people each year and reaching more than 20,000 annually through the Center’s many grassroots educational activities provided to the community at large.
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ASU Indian Legal Program Called Upon To Accept Leadership Roles for Change Initiatives
National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., joins students at the Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law, downtown Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, AZ – April 08, 2019 – Wasting no time to make certain his focal points ensuring Tribal Sovereignty are crystallized loud and clear, National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr., immediately traveled to Phoenix, Arizona answering the call of a fellow Oneida Tribal Educator to speak at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law that houses the prestigious Indian Legal Program. After National Indian Gaming Association member tribes recommitted their assurance in his abilities voting him in for his 10th consecutive 2-year term as their leader at the recent Indian Gaming Trade show & Convention in San Diego, Chairman Stevens hit the road honoring, speaking, and specifically calling to action the next Native legal generation to accept leadership roles as of now. Chairman Stevens said, “The message of my visit here with you is to ask for your commitment to be vocal and active on all fronts as of this very moment, to ensure all of the hard work our ancestors and great leaders laid as our foundation, take no steps backward!” The Chairman remarked that given the current state of Indian affairs and how federal administrative actions to hinder the progress of Indian Country require acceptance of advocacy and leadership roles immediately to prevent any further loss. Detailing his life lessons of service, the Chairman finished by offering support through local Tribal Members by asking and stating, “I extend my hand and call upon you to ask for help, as I cannot do it alone.” Stevens was joined by Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Lewis, who was recognized for his unwavering support of the Chairman and NIGA. ASU Indian Legal Program (ILP) Director, Kathleen “Kate” Rosier, then followed up the presentation and student luncheon with a tour of the brand new state of the art facility which also bears several NIGA Member Tribes named areas, demonstrating tribal support and commitment to the law school and the ILP.
The tour included a visit to the various high tech and interactive classrooms, digital student lounges, study halls, moot court and areas of real practice, and finally the glorious conference room and memorial office dedicated to the college’s namesake, Arizona resident and former United States Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor. Chairman Stevens and Director Rosier concluded the day’s events with a commitment to engage in follow up visits to solidify initiatives that were introduced at the meeting and will be under development.
Chairman Stevens is joined by Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Lewis and Rich Breninger, Faculty Associate, ASU American Indian Studies
11 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - MID YEAR EDITION 2019
The National Indian Gaming Association presents to Navajo Nation Council Spring Session
Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., and Jason Giles, Executive Director provided legislative and industry updates to the Navajo Nation Council during their annual Spring Session of the 2019 Navajo Nation Council in Window Rock, Arizona.
Window Rock, AZ – April 16, 2019 – National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens addressed the 24th Navajo Nation Council on April 16, 2019, as part of their Spring Legislative Session at the historic Navajo Nation council chambers in Window Rock, Arizona. Through an invitation by the Navajo Nation Speaker, Seth Damon, Chairman Stevens provided a National Indian gaming report to the council. Chairman Stevens said, “The National Indian Gaming Association is proud to be at the forefront of educating and advocating on behalf of Indian gaming tribes across the country to ensure Congress has sound policies within the federal, tribal government to government relationship to advance the economic benefits that gaming brings to our communities.” “We appreciate the partnership that we have with the Navajo Nation and the influence that you bring, not only to the National Indian Gaming Association and our member tribes but to many other native organizations that continue to fight for tribal rights, to assert tribal rights regarding our sovereignty and self-determination. He added, “The Navajo Nation continues to be a powerful advocate in the nation’s capital; all tribes benefit from your leadership,” said Stevens. Chairman Stevens provided the 2018 Indian gaming industry report of revenues, overall direct and indirect jobs and the benefits produced through the industry. “In 2018, 252 tribal governments operated 488 gaming facilities in 28 states, helping Indian gaming grow to $33.8 billion in direct revenues and $5.3 billion in gaming-related ancillary revenues for a total of $39.1 billion in total revenues.” Stevens also commended the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprises and the Navajo Nation Gaming Regulatory Agency for their commendable work towards the accomplishments of their tribal government properties and workforce. “Navajo Nation Gaming is a real example of what the success of tribal gaming is all about. You are building a strong workforce with the citizens of your Nation. The gaming enterprise employs nearly 1,200 full-time Team Members, 86% of whom are
Navajo, including over 72% of the management ranks. It is unprecedented.” As part of their visit to the Navajo Nation, Stevens visited the Navajo National Gaming Regulatory Office staff and management who were conducting an internal training on craps table game to identify cheats & scams. Stevens commended the regulators, “You represent a strong influence, protecting the gaming investment of the Navajo Nation. Your constant and regular impact on the National level with your continued presence and preparation at these training is to be commended.” Upon an invitation, Chairman Stevens traveled to the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort near Flagstaff, Arizona, where he was a guest speaker at their quarterly Team Member Communications Meetings, which are mandatory sessions for all employees to stay current on key events and business initiatives that affect the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE.) The event was conducted in two sessions, an early morning session and an afternoon session to accommodate the schedules of all of the employees. The sessions included over 500 Twin Arrows team members. Stevens said he was very impressed with the team energy. “It was exciting to see a room full of energetic employees, ready to participate as a team meeting at 7:00 am. I was so impressed; I canceled my travel schedule to spend the entire day in both sessions.” Navajo Gaming opened its first Navajo Casino on November 19, 2008 – Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, New Mexico. The second Navajo Casino opened October 13, 2010 – Flowing Water Navajo Casino in Tsé Daak’áán Chapter, near Shiprock, New Mexico. The third Navajo Casino opened January 16, 2012 – Northern Edge Navajo Casino – in Upper Fruitland Chapter, near Farmington, New Mexico. The fourth Navajo Casino – Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort – is located in Leupp Chapter, near Flagstaff, Arizona. The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise is a Navajo Nation wholly- owned business entity created by the Navajo Nation in September 2006.
12 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - MID YEAR EDITION 2019
NIGA Chairman presents at the MGM Resort Public Policy Institute Symposium
April 23, 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., joined a powerful group of business and industry leaders for the MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV for a symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 23, 2019. The MGM Resorts Public Policy symposium event was led by Co- Chairs Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner. Chuck Todd, Moderator of Meet the Press on NBC and host of Meet the Press Daily on MSNBC, presided over the event as Master of Ceremonies. There were numerous esteemed speakers from around the world along with notable audience members such as Former Senator Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell. The theme of the symposium was titled, Investing in America: The Future of Work.” The symposium convened a group of expert voices intending to work together to identify and elevate bipartisan solutions that address the evolving future of work and connect the best ideas and perspectives on issues facing American workers, communities, and businesses. The daylong symposium featured a Keynote address by the Honorable RahmEmanuel, Mayor, City of Chicago. Mayor Emanuel focused on several topics including, The Role of the Private Sector in the Future of Work, Higher Education in the Future of Work, Living and Leading the American Dream: Reflections on Work, Class, and Community in America and a Call for Leadership. Chairman Steven joined the “Investing in an Adaptive Workforce” panel moderated by Mr. Balaji Ganapathy, Head, Workforce Effectiveness, Tata Consultancy Services, located in India. The topic brought leaders across the industry who are investing in building an adaptive workforce for the evolving future of work. Chairman Stevens’ panel explored why this is an important pillar of leadership today, what programs and approaches are helping to
support continuous learning, and how employers can help empower workers with the skills they need to be successful today and prepare for the jobs of the future. Chairman Stevens joined Jim Murren, Chairman, and CEO, MGM Resorts International, David L. Cohen, the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and the Honorable Gordon Smith, President, and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB.) Chairman Stevens represented the evolving Indian Gaming industry workforce. He noted how Indian Gaming operations are the leaders in innovation and encouraging a highly skilled and adaptive workforce at Tribal properties. Tribal gaming operations were the first to adopt web-based integration of their entire gaming floors. This was driven out of necessity given the scale of Tribal operations and the need to rely on automation. Tribal Gaming’s workforce was the first to deal with the ticket in/ticket out cashless slot machines, and other technological breakthroughs. This has provided tribal operations with highly skilled workers capable of meeting challenges outside of their normal duties. Chairman Stevens summed up the panel as a “unique opportunity to demonstrate to policymakers, corporate CEOs, and academic researchers, how tribal gaming is meeting today’s challenges of a fully integrated and tech-savvy workforce.” NIGA expects this to be just the start of a long collaboration between our Tribal gaming operations and the commercial sector as this Country searches for methods to adapt the existing workforce with the technological advances that customers have come to expect. Indian gaming believes in the power of collaboration and human touch that respects the dignity of our employees while recognizing how technology has made our industry more efficient.
13 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - MID YEAR EDITION 2019
TRIBAL GAMING PROTECTION NETWORK: NIGA First Lady Cher Stevens provides keynote address 3rd Annual Women in Tribal Gaming Symposium
May 9, 2019 – Cabazon, CA – On May 8-9, the Tribal Game Protection Network (TGPN) held the 3rd Annual Women inTribal Gaming Symposium at Morongo Resort and Casino in Cabazon, CA. TPGN Symposium Chairwoman Frances Alvarez, who is the former Licensing Manager for the San Pasqual Gaming Commission and Director of Professional Services for Merydyan Technologies led the successful Women’s confab. The TGPN Board of Directors and Chairman Andrew Hofstetter, along with with with the essential corporate sponsors; workshop presenters; artisans; and many volunteers – organized a productive and memorable symposium for a fantastic group of tribal gaming professionals and tribal government officials from across the country. While most of the symposium attendees were women, a few of their male counterparts also attended. The Morongo Resort and Casino, along with the Morongo Gaming Agency led by Executive Director Oscar Schuyler, hosted the symposium and went all out with their hospitality, as they have every year the seminar has been held. Morongo represents the epitome of skill, hospitality, and professionalism in the gaming industry. The tone of the symposium was set early by the impassioned presentation delivered by First Lady of the National Indian Gaming Association, Cheryl Stevens, who serves as a Tribal Grants Manager for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. The First Lady of NIGA welcomed the attendees and humbly shared that she was honored to be invited to speak to the powerful women of Indian gaming. She said, “All of us play a vital role in the success of Indian gaming.” She added that besides holding a full-time job, helping with five kids and 16 grandbabies and maintaining the domestic responsibilities of the household, my role in organizing and managing the foundation at home is a big part in the success of the Chairman of NIGA. I have come to realize that I am pretty important in keeping our home life organized.” She concluded, “My message is for those that are out there working hard for us, is always to remember life doesn’t stop back home. There is someone taking care of everything at home so you can continue to be out there fighting for us.” She concluded, “My mother taught me early on to know that if it needs to be done, do it! Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty or break a nail!” The presentations and symposium activities that followed for the next two days emphasized support, mentorship, empowerment, perseverance, and professional skill development – themes seldom encountered at other training conferences and forums. The Mentors’ Luncheon, networking opportunities, and professional skill development workshops reminded all of us.
Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., and First Lady Cheryl Stevens join Oscar Schuyler, Executive Director of the Gaming Commission at Morango at the TPGN Women’s Symposium.
Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., presents a Chairman’s Leadership award to Symposium Chairwoman Frances Alvarez, former Licensing Manager for the San Pasqual Gaming Commission and Director of Professional Services for Merydyan Technologies. Joining Alverez are Andrew Hofstetter, TPGN Chairman and Oscar Schyler, Executive Director of theMorongo Gaming Commission
14 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - MID YEAR EDITION 2019
National Indian Gaming Association joins the Shakopee Mdewankton Sioux Community in honoring Kurt Blue Dog
National Indian Gaming Association joined the Shakopee Mdewankton Sioux Community in honoring long time tribal attorney and National Indian Gaming Association Executive Board at his retirement dinner hosted by the Shakopee Tribe at the Mystic Lake Hotel Casino in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Kurt, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton tribe represented the Shakopee Tribe for many years and in his capacity in tribal government gaming is responsible to building the National Indian Gaming Association organization and the success of gaming throughout Indian country.
Assistant Secretary Tara Sweeney serves as Keynote at the Haskell IndianNation University Commencement Ceremonies
Assistant Secretary Tara Sweeney joins Haskell Board President and Vice Chairman of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin at the 2019 Haskell Indian Nations University Commencement Ceremonies. Stevens also serves on the National Indian Gaming Association Executive Board.
Photo Courtesy of Lawrence Journal- World
May 10, 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – Assistant Secretary of Indian affairs at the Department of the Interior Tara Sweeney served as the Commencement Keynote Speaker to the largest class of graduates at the Haskell Indian Nations University Commencement Cemonies in Lawrence Kansas. In an official tweet she said.
“Today the drum beats to bestow over 90 associate degrees and over fifty bachelor’s degrees. As we commemorate your
accomplishments let us recognize the challenges you faced as Native students walking in two worlds.”
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