Indian Gaming 2019 Tradeshow Edition
Celebrating the Success of a $34 Billion Dollar Industry
IN THIS ISSUE
Member Tribes Convene to Discuss Legislative Updates and Reports
Member Tribes Convene Host Elections Chairman Stevens and Secretary Jordan Overwhelming Re-affirmed
Leadership Honored Former NCAI President Presented the Tim Wapato Soverign Award
Indian Gaming Warrior Women Honored Recognizing the Strength of the Native American Women in Leadership
Some 7,400 Tribal leaders, gaming professionals, industry experts and business leaders from around the country, gathering at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California to participate in the 2019 Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention. This year’s Indian Gaming 2019 event broke previous attendance records.
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NIGA EXECUTIVE BOARD MEET TO KICK OFF INDIAN GAMING 2019
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Board of Directors came together on the eve of the kick off of the 34th Annual Indian Gaming 2019 Tradeshow and Convention to be held at the San Diego Convention Center, in San Diego, California. The bi-annual NIGA Board of Directors convened at the Marriott Marquise to host discussions on topics and resolutions, preparing for the NIGA Member tribe’s meetings to be held along with the most significant gathering of tribal gaming leadership, executives, and industry representatives. In his welcoming message to the board, Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., said, “Once again we bring tribal leadership and our Indian gaming industry experts and professionals together to celebrate the tremendous success of our Indian gaming industry.” To kick off the meeting, National Indian Gaming Association Associate member, Ultraviolet Devices were acknowledged as one of the newest sponsors of the Indian Gaming tradeshow event. A presentation followed by Haskell Indian Nations Foundation representatives, Cleta LaBrie, Director of Development and Haskell Student Senate President Lindsey Beth Robinson on their building fundraising campaign. They stressed the importance of Indian Country assisting them with garnering more federal funding and also extended a plea for assistance from those Tribes who have additional resources to share. The agenda included a vast number of issues and topics including year-end reports by NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., the Executive Director of NIGA, Jason Giles and the Treasurer of NIGA, Andy Ebona. The Chairman’s report covered organizational updates including a 2018 year-end report, an overview of the 2019 Tradeshow
Schedule of Events and information on the continued work NIGA is doing with the American Gaming Association (AGA) new President Bill Miller. The board was also provided updates by the Tribal Alliance, Tribal Gaming Protection Network (TPGN) & the National Indian Casino Safety Association (NICSA.) Debbie Thundercloud, former NIGA Chief of Staff, provided a report on sports betting and the overall impacts, and legislative issues, as well as State and Tribal interest in sports betting. NIGA Executive Director, Jason Giles reported on regulatory efforts, operations, and legislative updates. NIGA Treasurer Andy Ebona provided an update on the overall financial condition of the organization and its operational budget. As part of the Treasurer’s report board members heard from Wipfli LLP/Joseph Eve & Associates, who presented the 2018 Audit report. The Board addressed new business presented by various Member Tribes. The Board approved and adopted the following resolutions which will help guide NIGA’s policy objectives for this legislative session: • Support for Federal Legislation to address Supreme Court’s Misguided Carcieri decision and Protect Existing Tribal Trust Lands; • Calling on Congress to Establish the Deputy Secretary for Indian Nations and the National Council on Native Nations to Honor Indian Self-Government, Self-Determination and Treaty Rights on a Nation-to-Nation Basis. • To Affirm and Protect Tribal Sovereign Immunity, Encourage the Establishment of Tribal Government Risk Management Pools and Dispute and Claims Resolution Process
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INDIAN GAMING 2019 AT THE SAN DIEGO CONVENTION CENTER
NIGA Member Tribes Come together to discuss critical Legislative Issues
Cody Martinez, Chairman of the Syucan Band of Kumeyaay Indians welcomes tribes to San Diego for Indian Gaming 2019
The member tribes of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) came together last Tuesday to conduct their annual membership meeting at the San Diego Convention Center to discuss many issues related to not only the Indian gaming industry but critical legislative issues surrounding Indian country. President Jefferson Keel of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) joined Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., and Rory Wheeler, NCAI Youth Commission Co-President to assist in welcoming the tribal leadership. Cody Martinez, Chairman of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians, welcomed the tribes to San Diego. “We welcome you all here to not only celebrate the National Indian Gaming Association but ultimately we are here to celebrate tribal sovereignty at work. It is outstanding to see so many of our industry gather here.” He added, “Over the last thirty-five years, Indian gaming has enabled Sycuan and many other tribal governments to thrive, but we recognize that Indian gaming is not an end to itself, but a means to a better future for our tribal government and communities.” David Bean, Vice Chairman of NIGA, greeted the tribal leadership “I raise my hands to each one of you for being here today. It is an honor to serve alongside each of you, standing for the people and the tribal communities we serve, protecting tribal sovereignty. I know many of you and those before you have paved a better way for our future generations.” Bean added, “We work hard as tribal leaders always engaging with members of Congress, and the administration in defense of tribal sovereignty and promoting economic development through Indian gaming.”
NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., delivered the annual State of Indian Gaming address, recognizing the tribal leadership and tribal government gaming success by saying, “You know why we have a $34 billion industry? You know why we provide jobs and how the offshoot of this industry generates more than 700,000 jobs? You come from the heart of those communities.” Stevens continued, “Where we come from is where our wealth is, it is the reason we create these opportunities – more housing, more development, more programs, and services. It is so our kids can invest in their future. That is what we are here for, and that is why we do what we do. That is what Tribal government gaming is and how we define wealth.” “Indian gaming has always been about job creation; about seamless, comprehensive regulation; and about giving back to our brother and sister tribal governments and our neighbors.” Stevens added, “Indian gaming is about our future: Indian Gaming is educating our Native youth and providing a path forward for the next seven generations. It is because we have great leadership with our boots on the ground, working hard and educating the world about our gaming industry.” Stevens spoke about the recent 30-year celebration of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA.) He said “We celebrate what Indian country did for an act that diminished our rights as sovereign governments. We celebrate the things that we did to make the best of something that was intended to dilute our supreme court victory. We have made the best of the congressional action we call IGRA; we will continue to build a strong future. Today, here we stand, advocating for our industry - continuing to take charge of moving Indian Country forward.”
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Paulette Jordan, NIGA Secretary, conducted the official membership roll call which declared a quorum. NIGA Treasurer Andy Ebona presented his treasurer’s report, which included the annual audit update submitted by Joseph Eve, of WIPFLI LLC. NIGA Vice Chairman David Bean then officially opened up nominations for the positions of Chairman and Secretary, where both current Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. and Secretary Paulette Jordon received sole nominations. The first-panel discussion for the day was the “Safeguarding the Seventh Generation: Risk Management in Indian Country,” brought by Mark Van Norman of Van Norman Consulting, and Dereck Valdo, Chief Executive Officer of AMERIND Risk, a native-owned insurance company based in Indian Country at the Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico. Indian nations, as sovereigns, possess sovereign immunity from the 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-dating the United States. While the Supreme Court has recognized 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. Tribal leaders heard about the importance of having a tier level system of risk management in place through insurance to protect Tribal Sovereignty and Tribal Sovereign Immunity. By putting coverage in place, Tribes are exercising their sovereignty and safeguard their assets from civil and tort claims and avoid a dangerous precedent that is being set in the courts to erode Tribal Sovereignty. In the afternoon membership meeting, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Tribal Council and members of
their business council presented a check, contributing to NIGA to support the organization’s mission of representation in Washington, DC. Keith Anderson, Shakopee Vice Chairman, presented the check to the NIGA Board of Directors and said, “It is our humble honor to present NIGA with this contribution today. We value the work they do for all of Indian Country in Washington, D.C.” Anderson added, “We have done this for many years.” Chairman Steven said, “The impact of the Shakopee contribution and support going back to the late Stanley Crooks, all the way to the current leadership continues to play a vital role in D.C.” The Legislative Update panel followed. The session was moderated by Jason Giles, Executive Director of the National Indian Gaming Association, and included panelists Aurene Martin, President of Spirit Rock Consulting, Steve Bodmer, General Counsel of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and John Harte, Principal at the Mapetsi Policy Group. Liz Homer of Homer Law moderated the session entitled “Indian Country Regulatory Update,” where tribal leaders were provided updates from Jonadev Chaudhuri, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and Jamie Hummingbird, Director of the Cherokee Gaming Commission and Chairman of the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners/Regulators (NTGCR.) The Tribal Economic Development discussion rounded out the day of discussion, which included some of the most successful Tribal business people in Indian Country. Chris James, President and CEO, of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) moderated the discussion with experts Joanne Whiterabbit of the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce, Joe Nayquonabe, Commissioner of Corporate Affairs for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians and Jamie Fullmer, Chairman and CEO of Blue Stone Strategy.
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MEMBER TRIBES CLOSE ANNUAL MEETING WITH ANNUAL ELECTIONS FOR CHAIRMAN AND SECRETARY
The National Indian Gaming Association’s (NIGA), two-day Tribal Leaders meeting, continued on Wednesday afternoon, April 3rd, with the annual elections of the Chairman and Secretary positions
Gaming Association board. In introducing Jordan, Chairman Stevens acknowledged her accomplishments, and he said, “In her role in the campaign trail for Governor and as a State Legislator, Paulette has been a strong advocate, working hard to educate all about our tribal government rights and tribal sovereignty.” After being sworn in, Jordan said, “It is a privilege to serve Indian country in this regard, to be a voice for many of our people because we always fight on the frontlines, and it is important to continue to do so.” After the assembled audience concluded the election, they heard from an esteemed panel on the “Native Vote and Candidate Development.” Theresa Sheldon, the Native American Outreach for EMILY’S List, and Kevin Killer, former South Dakota State Senator and Co-founder for Native American Youth Leadership Alliance, moderated the discussion. Their presentations centered around updates on the 2018 elections and the importance of continuing the push to get out the vote in all of Indian country. Through her work at EMILY’S List, Theresa is striving to keep the momentum from last year’s elections to find Native American candidates for the 2020 election cycle. The final panel of the Membership Meeting was the “Supreme Court and The Federal Court Rulings and Their Impacts on Indian Country,” moderated by Jason Giles, Executive Director of the National Indian Gaming Association. Executive Director Giles was joined on the panel by Steve Gunn, Law Professor Washington University St. Louis, and Mark Van Norman, from Van Norman Consulting. There have been numerous court cases in the past two years, percolating up from State and District Court levels, that threaten the sustained viability of the Tribal Sovereignty Doctrine. Professor Gunn, a frequent litigator and appeals advocate for Tribes in the Midwest, urged that Tribal Governments must start looking at alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to avoid these lengthy and costly court battles. Mr. Van Norman recommended that Tribes start to explore insurance and reinsurance programs to forestall visitors to the reservations from dragging Tribes or their employees into court. This discussion is of utmost importance to Tribal Leaders and their ability to conduct economic pursuits. Chairman Stevens committed to make this an on-going focus for the remainder of the year into NIGA’s Mid-Year Event on September 23-25, at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. The 2019 NIGA Membership Meeting concluded with the official retiring of the colors by the Southern California American Indian Veterans Association.
at the National Indian Gaming Association.
Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. and Secretary Paulette Jordan sought re-election to their positions unopposed and were successful in garnering the unanimous support from tribal leadership to continue serving in their current positions. This is the ninth term for Chairman Stevens and the third term for Secretary Jordan. With his family by his side, including his wife of 40 years Cheryl, Chairman Stevens was sworn in as Chairman. He thanked the membership saying, “I am humbled by your continued belief in me, and I pledge to you once again. I will continue to maintain my belief that my work is my campaign and it is something I take very seriously. My bosses are all around this table, and I take my direction from you all. We have a big agenda, and we must continue to work together to continue to accomplish that work on behalf of the people we serve and to protect Indian country for the next seven generations. I am re-affirming my commitment to you all. “ Stevens also acknowledged his mother Marjorie Stevens who made her first-ever visit to the annual tradeshow. “My leadership style is influenced by the women who have molded me in my life. My mother, who always impressed upon me the importance of statesmanship, had a vital role in impressing upon me the importance of women in community and leadership. I fully understand that I am a Warrior, strongly influenced by Women in leadership.” A significant highlight of this year’s Indian Gaming tradeshow was the Women Warrior’s panel session leading up to the ribbon- cutting event, held earlier in the day. The panel recognized the strong success of Indian countrywomen, who have helped strengthen their communities through their leadership. Coming fresh off a run for Idaho State Governor and after two terms in the Idaho State House of Representatives, tribes once again elected Paulette Jordon to serve as Secretary of the National Indian
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INDIAN GAMING 2019 MEMBERSHIP MEETING PANEL Exploring Economic Development in the 21st Century
NCAIED Chris James to lead NIGA ED Sub-Committe
The Tribal Economic Development into the 21st Century panel present to tribal leadership. Panelist include Joe Nayquonabe, Commissioner of Corporate Affairs at Mille Lacs Band, Jamie Fullmer, Chairman & CEO, Blue Stone Strategy, Joanne Whiterabbit, ED of the Minnesota Indian Chamber of Commerce and David Greendeer, ED of Business for the Ho Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.
During the annual NIGA Tradeshow and Convention Membership Meeting a panel of leading experts discussed Tribal Economic Development into the 21st Century. Chris James, President & CEO of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development Moderated the panel and Joe Nayquonabe, Commissioner of Corporate Affairs for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; Jamie Fullmer, Chairman & CEO for Blue Stone Strategy Group; Joanne Whiterabbit, Executive Director for the Minnesota Indian Chamber of Commerce and David Greendeer, Executive Director of Business for the Ho Chunk Nation in Wisconsin offered their expertise on the panel. Chris kicked off the panel by asking each member to share one of their biggest challenges with regard to Economic Development in Indian Country. The panelists shared that convincing their communities that they had to go “beyond gaming” as that market is maturing was a challenge, the lack of hard infrastructure and funding for it, a limited workforce, having businesses operate independent of government, the lack of priorities and data to drive business decision making, change over in Tribal Government and administrations and the fear of taking risks in business. Next Chris asked the panelists what kinds of Solutions they were looking at in order to advance and encourage other economic opportunities in Indian Country. Joanne shared a joint purchasing project that she is working on. It requires Tribes to identify their spending patterns in order to streamline for a Vendor Management System. The concept is to share a master data base across Tribal Nation and their entities to put out competitive RFP’s and reduce pricing through bulk purchasing. Jamie shared that Blue Stone emphasizes the importance of community involvement and stakeholder input. This allows the next generation to step up and leverages their talent base while allowing for creativity around Sovereignty, Financing, and Traditional business methodology. David shared the importance of data mining, protecting of information and quantifying customer behavior to drive business development. He also talked about the evolution to block chain ledgers and reconfiguration and how we must overcome our fears
and stay with the Cloud evolution. Joe discussed the need to stay up with technology and how they have created a consumer sciences division to collect data to drive and power their decisions. He stressed that staff must drive data mining across platforms (mobile/ in-home/laptop) and study what the kids doing and what will drive consumerism in the future. The next question posed was about connectivity and how cyber currency could be used from our rural community platforms as a cutting edge for business development. The panelists discussed opportunities for thoughtful proposals that would advance new layers of growth and investments in Indian Country, would advance economic profiling regionally, would extend Block Chain and Crypto-currency exchanges, lead to non-conventional financing models and lead to ecommerce or drop shipment opportunity zone money. In bringing the panel to a close, Chris asked each panelist for a final thought or bold statement that they wanted to share with regard to future Economic Development in Indian Country. Joe stated, “As you diversify your business portfolio remove yourself from the Casino model, invest in your people, send them to the best schools, don’t let them just be good, strive to get better and better.” Jamie said, “Buy technical skills and build it up, look at it as an investment/not an expense and then capitalize on it!” Joanne expressed, “Recognize and utilize the power and influence you have, work together as Tribes and Sovereigns.” To sum it all up, David said, “Work smarter and not harder, have faith in what you can’t see, let your people know it is ok to make mistakes, if they fail and learn from it, that is what counts. Indian Country grew fast in past 50-60 years, lets relish the success that we have, have respect between the young and old, keep working on conforming to technology faster & faster and as long as they get the job done let your employees have flexibility.” NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. appointed each of the panelists to an Economic Development Sub Committee that will be Chaired by Chris James, President & CEO of the NCAIED.
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INDIAN GAMING 2019 Closes out with a powerful Panel: “Sovereignty in the 21st Century: Tribal Leaders on the Front Line”
Panelist included L-R: Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Nation, Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge Munsee Band, Larry Wright, Jr., Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and Mark Macarro, Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.
Protecting Tribal Sovereignty has always been and continues to be a primary focus of our Tribal Governments. From Federal District Courts to the Supreme Court and Federal Agencies, defending Tribal sovereignty continues to swing in a fashion that disrupts the Tribal Government rights of Self-Governance and Self Determination. An active dialogue amongst Tribal Leaders took place as they discussed the continued importance of fiercely protecting Tribal Sovereignty into the 21st Century. The discussion was moderated by Brian Cladoosby, Chairman of the Swinomish Nation and included panelists Mark Macarro, Chairman, Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Shannon Holsey, President, Stockbridge Munsee Band, Mohican Nation, and Larry Wright, Jr., Chairman, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. Chairman Cladoosby set the stage for the discussion by sharing his own experiences with advancing the importance of Tribal Sovereignty. He said, “There is a lack of understanding because the only curriculum that covers Tribal Governments is in the 9th Grade civics classes. It is hard to talk to State, and Congressional Leaders and have to explain Sovereignty every time you meet with them. My policy is; tell your story, tell your story, tell your story. And every story is not always in the same square box. Tribes have many different experiences; for example restoration for terminated Tribes, some Tribes lack a “reservation.” All of this variation and nuance makes our efforts even harder.” He asked the panelists to share some examples of what Tribal Sovereignty has meant to them. Chairman Wright stated, “We had to fight for restored land for Gaming. It took seven years, and we waited while it was going through appeals. But we finally opened it (casino) up while we were still fighting the next level. Our government decided to do it and ask for forgiveness later because we knew what it meant for our community. We were born Ponca and had that taken away from us with Termination. Then we fought to be restored, and now we continue to fight for our Sovereignty. Then we have our story of removal to Oklahoma. It was because in 1879 Indians were not viewed as “persons,” we were viewed as nonexistent and unimportant. It was our will and determination that is why
we’re still here today, why we continue to fight for our Sovereignty and our Treaties.” “In 1998 we had the California Tribal Campaign to make a change in the State Constitution. Eighty-eight to one hundred Tribes in California banded together and put Indian Gaming out in front of voters,” said Chairman Macarro. “We had a 65% win by bringing our Sovereign Nations together. We set the stage for Indian Gaming.” He went on to say, “Another experience we had was with a Mining Company who asked us for a meeting in May 2005. They were proposing to mine a mountain on the Reservation that had a sacred site on it. They were proposing a seventy-five-year mining project. It was a seven-year-long battle to 2012, and we had to engage in the State Environmental Permitting process. Our government provided testimony, with expert information as to the impacts. We were looked down on in the media for not sharing the “sacred site” designation right away. We went from the local planning commission to a State Process and won again. Our government was able to oppose on “equal footing” with the mining company, and we were very proud of that. Unfortunately, there was a technical issue raised in the certification process, and local supervisors overturned the decision. Our Tribe then decided to buy the land to protect and save the sacred site. The strength of our Tribal Sovereignty was brought to bear in that decision.” Chairwoman Holsey contributed, “Navigating Tribal Sovereignty is challenging, but when done in a strategic and meaningful way it impacts our people. In Wisconsin, we had to make changes for voter identification requirements. All eleven Tribes worked together to enact legislation that allowed for Tribal ID’s to be a recognized form of ID for voting. We also worked on updating Act 31which mandates the teaching of Native American history and curriculum in the mainstream school systems. To help others understand Sovereignty, you have to start on a basic level. Tribes were in existence before States, and we have to help others understand our governance. We have to do more than talk, we have to act, we have to build partnerships, we must broaden our advocacy, and we must build relationships and coalitions. We have to enjoin Tribal Sovereignty in everything that we do.”
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Chairman Cladoosby pointed out that a Tribe may experience many setbacks in their fight for Tribal Sovereignty. Chairman Cladoosby asked how Tribes and Tribal Leaders manage to stay optimistic. Chairman Macarro responded by saying, “I look inward at our Tribe and recognize the influence we have had and how we have engaged the will of the Tribe over the last twenty-five to thirty years. We have many measures to show how we’ve manifested our sovereignty. I see the progress, and I realize we have plenty of work to do, but we have to keep trying because the next progress defines the work, we have ahead of us. We have to stay positive and look at the glass half full; there is always opportunity ahead.” Chairwoman Holsey said, “I look at the young people in my community. When I go home, I visit places with youth and Elders. Looking at them reminds me that we have to develop our people to guide us into the future. Tribal Sovereignty is the foundation for protecting our people.” Chairman Wright shared, “I do lunch and learn. I get out to sites once a month and take
Chairman Wright pointed out that Indian Nations have paid in advance for all that they have. Gaming is a small compensation for the loss of lands, culture, and language. Chairwoman Holsey stressed the importance of involving the next generations in defending sovereignty: “It is not enough to ‘talk about it,’ we have to re-invest with education and mentor our people. We must make it tangible and relatable and give them a seat at the table. They must be enjoined in conversations about culture, language, and governance. We must have them in the trenches beside us, and we have to have discussions about the tough issues like suicide, and we can no longer accept the status quo.” Chairman Macarro added, “We need to look to the next generations and be sure they have cultural identity. We have to know who we are, as a culture and indigenous people. When we are grounded in who we are we can defend Tribal Sovereignty!” The Tribal Leaders concluded the panel by urging all Leaders in the room to practice self- care, trusting yourself and focusing on doing a few things well to advance tribal sovereignty.
“We need to look to the next generations and be sure they have cultural identity. We have to know who we are, as a culture and indigenous people. When
we are grounded in who we are we can defend Tribal Sovereignty!”
feedback in a positive way. I look back at how much we’ve grown and the pride that community members share. I get grounded through interaction in the community.” National Indian Gaming Association Chairman, Ernie Stevens, Jr. asked the panel about the stereotype that Tribes were “given” casinos by the Federal Government. Stevens said, “How do we help better educate all that tribes have been socially and culturally gaming and been through our history. We have also been a people with a strong economic development history, which goes as far back as transactions with the European settlers. It is our right as governments to continue to build our economies and tribal government gaming is doing that.”
That could be keeping your ceremonies sacred or simply listening to your elders. They urged the youth to “Be Indian in all that you do. Be your best self for you, your family, your Tribe, your State, and your Nation.” Keeping the sacred fire burning on these issues will help the next generation learn your culture, language, and traditions, this is what will ultimately protect sovereignty. The National Indian Gaming Association Indian Gaming Tradeshow for 2019 concluded with this important panel and Indian Country now turns its attention to next year’s show during what will be a historic election year for the Country. We hope you can join us on March 23-28, 2020, in San Diego.
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Foundation works to battle obesity and diabetes in Native American youth. In addition, Mr. Begay owns a golf course development firm and works exclusively with Native communities to develop world- class golf properties. Begay was named one of Golf Magazine’s Innovators of the Year in 2009 for his philanthropic work through the NB3 Foundation and has also been named one of the Top 100 Sports Educators in the world by the Institute for International Sport. In 2012, he received the Charlie Bartlett Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for his contributions to philanthropy and his community through the NB3 Foundation. In August 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation honored Mr. Begay and the NB3 Foundation with the Steve Patterson Award for excellence in Sports Philanthropy. He is a golf commentator for NBC Sports and the Golf Channel and Begay is also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KivaSun Foods. Notah Begay, III joins other past distinguished recipients such as actor and director, Wes Studi, Tricia Wood, a Native American Casting Director, Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, LaDonna Harris, Founder and President of Americans for Indian Opportunity, Steve Ortiz, Chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and Stanley Jones, Sr. former Councilman of the Tulalip Tribes, to name a few. NATIVE AMERICAN GOLFER, TELEVISION SPORTSCASTER, ENTREPRENEUR NOTAH BEGAY HONORED AT CHAIRMAN’S LUNCHEON
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) held its annual Chairman’s Leadership luncheon last week honoring Professional Golfers Association Golfer and Sports Commentator Notah Begay III with the coveted Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego, California. National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., said, “It is an amazing opportunity to have someone like Notah Begay to be here with us. He is not only one of the greatest golfers I’ve ever known, but he is one of the greatest persons I’ve ever known in my life. He works day in and day out, and is always ready to serve. He’s changing lives, supporting our young athletes and helping people and families.” Upon receiving his recognition, Begay said, “Through the lens of sport, leadership and service has been the cornerstone of my approach, which was handed down to me from my father, and his father. They handed down the community ownership, and the ability to continue to serve. That’s really what it’s all about for me.” He added, “It has never been about achievement or winning or the money, it is about doing my very best, continuing to ask more of myself daily and the serve in whatever capacity I can. Giving of your time is the most valuable asset you can give.” Notah Begay III, from the Navajo Nation and San Felipe/ Isleta Pueblos, is the only full-blooded Native American to have played on the PGA TOUR, was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Notah secured a scholarship to Stanford University where he earned a degree in Economics in addition to earning All- American Honors three times and leading the golf team to a National Championship in 1994. In addition to winning 4 PGA TOUR tournaments, Mr. Begay became only the third player in the history of professional golf to shoot 59 in a professional event and partnered with good friend Tiger Woods in the 2000 President’s Cup. When Begay is not on the golf course, he dedicates his time to positively impacting the Native American community. In 2005, Notah launched The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation. The
Notah Begay, provides Keynote address at the Chairman’s Luncheon at Indian Gaming 2019.
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FORMER NCAI PRESIDENT MEL TONASKET HONORED WITH THE 2019 TIM WAPATO SOVEREIGN WARRIOR AWARD
Gay Kingman Wapato speaks about her husband the late Tim Wapato after presenting the Tim Wapato Soverign Warrior Award to Mel Tonasket, former NCAI President. In the photo L-R: Tonasket, Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., and Gay Kingman
The Cultural event highlighted the Tuesday evening of Indian Gaming 2019 last week with the traditional dances that took to the stage at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. The traditional dances led up the presentation of the 9th Annual Tim Wapato Sovereign Warrior Award to former Chairman of the Coleville Business Council and President of the National Congress of American Indians Mel Tonasket. “One of the greatest leaders of our time. Tim dedicated his time to working hard. He and Gay took me under their wings, as a young leader and showed me the way. He never hesitated to take a strong position with me when needed, but he was always there to stand by me when I needed fatherly support, and most importantly when we needed to fight the fight. He was ready to go to work, prepared to defend Indian Country. Tim Wapato was one of the finest modern day warriors. Tonight, we are honoring Mel Tonasket in his memory.” Chairman Stevens said. Gay Kingman-Wapato, the wife and family members of the late Tim Wapato joined NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., on stage to present the coveted award to Tonasket. Gay Kingman said, “We talk a lot about sovereignty, but we must recognize those people who practice it and who believe that we need to educate others. Tim devoted his life to sovereignty. Not only in his career, but in his life.” She added, “I want to recognize Mel because one of the things he says is the tribes are only as strong as the weakest tribe, so we all connect. His whole life has been devoted to protecting our tribal rights and sovereignty.” She thanked Tonasket for all of the work he has done for Indian country. Accepting the award, Tonasket said, “I am honored by this recognition. I came into the business when termination was a big deal in Indian country. My tribe was on the list to be terminated, and we had six bills in Congress, and that’s what I started walking into as a new councilman and ultimately became President of NCAI. That is where I got to meet so many great leaders. No one leader does excellent all by themselves. It takes a team and people that are willing to go out and fight, to walk the halls of Congress every day on behalf of those we serve.” Tonasket has served as an elected official for the Colville Tribes at various times since 1970 and has served as the Colville Tribes’ Chairman
and other leadership positions during his years as an elected official. From 1973-1976, Tonasket served as President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Mr. Tonasket led the Colville Tribes’ fight against termination and as President of NCAI mobilized national support for major tribal legislation, including the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act. He was a member of the American Indian Policy Review Commission for two years and has represented United States tribal governments at the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Inter-American Indigenous Conference in Brazil. Wapato’s wife A. Gaye Kingman said, “Mel Tonasket exemplifies the meaning of real leadership. As an advocate for Indian country, he always stands strong protecting tribal sovereignty with the best interest of his community first and foremost.” Tim Wapato, who passed on in April 2009, was a citizen of the Wenatchee Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State. He retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 1979 and went on to be the executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and in 1989 he was appointed Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans. Following his federal service, he served as the first Executive Director of the National Indian Gaming Association. The Tim Wapato Sovereign Warrior Award was established by NIGA and Wapato’s family and is presented to a member of our tribal community who shares the passion and drive that Tim Wapato had for Tribal Sovereignty and all people throughout Indian country.
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NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION OPENED 2019 INDIAN GAMING TRADESHOW WITH POPULAR RIBBON CUTTING EVENT
National Indian Gaming Association Women Warriors are joined by Executive Board, Tribal Leadership and special guests after the Trade Show Ribbon cutting event at Indian Gaming 2019 in San Diego, California
One of the highlights of the annual Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention is the ribbon cutting ceremonies officially opening the Exhibitors floor offering opportunities for business exchange, viewing of new products and services and networking. This year, the event was preceded by a presentation and honoring with the 2019 Warrior Women, honored by the National Indian Gaming Association for their outstanding leadership as tribal leaders for their community and representation throughout Indian country. Following the ribbon cutting, tribal leadership, Indian gaming professional, special guests and attendees gathered to explore the hundreds of gaming vendors, tribes, and tribal enterprises who showcased the businesses and services they offer. The purpose of the trade show and convention is to create a vibrant hub for Indian gaming industry professionals to foster a dialog to help, reinvent and reposition their facilities and properties to better serve their customers, stay competitive at a higher level and ultimately to provide additional revenues for Governmental programs and services in Indian Communities. Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. said, “Today, the exhibitor’s floor was bustling with hundreds of world-class exhibitors; many who are our friends of the gaming industry and many Tribally or Native- owned businesses who are eager to build their brands. There is a $34 billion industry behind these doors, leading the overall industry and we welcome you!”
Joining Chairman Stevens, and the 2019 Women Warriors were, actor and comedian George Lopez; Taboo, of the world- renowned Grammy-winning group, the Black Eyed Peas, who is a multi-talented rapper, music producer, Nike N7 Ambassador, and Indian Country tribal sovereignty advocate, Taboo recently joined city representatives at the inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day event in Los Angeles last year. Also participating were Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) – 4 times World Champion Cowboy Tuf Cooper, who was pegged the youngest cowboy to earn one- million dollars in his rodeo career several years ago at the age of 23. He has great respect and admiration for Native America and more specifically the professional Native American rodeo champions he competes with on the PRCA rodeo circuit. Stevens was also joined by professional basketball legends A.C. Green and Bill Walton and National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman Jonadev Chaudhuri and the National Indian Gaming Association Board of Directors. Stevens was also joined by his mother, wife, daughters and close friends who participated in recognition of the Warrior Women, including Margo Gray, President/CEO of Margo Gray and Associates, Susan Masten, former Chairwoman of the Yurok Tribe and Rachel Joseph, former Chairwoman of the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe.
13 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - SPECIAL 2019 TRADESHOW EDITION
NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION OPENED 2019 INDIAN GAMING TRADESHOW HONORING WOMEN WARRIORS
The NIGA Executive Board, Tribal Leaders and celebrities gathered to join the 2019 Warrior Women as they were honored. Those honored included: • Melanie Benjamin , Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota • Stephanie Bryan , Tribal Chair and CEO for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama • Bernadine Burnette , President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Arizona • Shannon Holsey , President, Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in Wisconsin • Fawn Sharp , President of the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington State • Lynn Valbuena , Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California • Virginia Hill, Indian Country Advocate (Posthumously) • Glenna Wallace , Chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
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Celebrating National Indian Gaming Association 2019 Warrior Women
“ “This continues the momentum upon our commitment over the last few years, where we felt it necessary for the world around us to understand the powerful role that Native women play, not just in leadership, but in life. While our movement in Indian Country has always been governed by our traditional values, it is vital in today’s society that we highlight the roles that women play, not just in leadership, but in the heart of our traditional community.” .” Ernest L. Stevens, Jr., Chairman
15 | INDIAN GAMING UPDATE - SPECIAL 2019 TRADESHOW EDITION
MID-YEAR CONFERENCE & EXPO
MOHEGAN SUN / UNCASVILLE, CT
SAVE THE DATE
SEPTEMBER 17-19, 2019
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