NIGA Hosts Annual Mid-Year Conference at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in California

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September 26, 2018

National Indian Gaming Association Treasurer Andy Ebona provides his annual report to the board of directors during the Mid-Year Conference at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, CA on Monday, September 24, 2018

Temecula, CA – September 24, 2018 – The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is hosting its annual Mid-Year Conference this week at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. The Conference includes a wide array of workshops, sessions, and the mid-year tribal leadership meeting along with Tribal leadership awards luncheon. The kick-off event occurred last night at the NIGA Board of Directors meeting followed by a reception hosted by the Pechanga Tribal Council.

National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernest Stevens, Jr. welcomed the Board and acknowledged the tremendous support of the Pechanga tribal leadership. “We are so glad to be here at this beautiful property. It is one of the finest examples of the success of tribal government gaming there is.” Chairman Stevens added, “when you look around, you can see the tremendous positive impact Pechanga has had on the city of Temecula. This economic machine has continued to turn this community around.”

“We have a great schedule planned over the next few days at our Mid-year, and we have set records for attendance. We welcome this opportunity to bring our member tribes together and keep them informed on the trending issues confronting the Gaming Industry.”

As part of the meeting, the Board heard a presentation from a representative of the National Law Enforcement Museum, which included former Chairman of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Danny Tucker and retired Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. The National Law Enforcement museum, anticipated to open in the fall of 2018, will include an honoring of Indian Country policing. Senator Campbell who is a former law enforcement officer and authored the law to establish the National Law Enforcement museum said, “The Museum will tell a story of American law enforcement and will include content on the important role that Native Americans and Indian Country law enforcement officers have played in our nation’s history.”

Ray Hord, Chief Development Officer of the National Law Enforcement Museum, provided an overview of the project and the honoring of Indian country law enforcement. He said, “The museum will strive to impart the Tribal Nations history of success.”

Presentations also included a preview a clip of the upcoming movie “The Pipeline,” based on true stories surrounding the building of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, written and directed by Caitlin Kazepis. Native American actor Wes Studi joined Kazepis and the film’s producer, Alexis Iacono, to garner tribal support for the film.

Studi said of the film, “Storytelling is done in many ways that will pass along who we are to future generations, enabling ourselves to continue in the true stories of our lives.”

Adding, “Filmmaking has become a method of doing so. This feature film tells our true story of the effects the pipeline has had and the effects of the generational trauma.”

Jason Giles, Executive Director of NIGA, provided his bi-annual report to the board with legislative updates and a report on the upcoming Indian Gaming Tradeshow in 2019 which is to be held at the San Diego Convention Center, April 1 – 4, 2019. Giles also provided an overview on the proposed reorganization of the Department of Interior and the importance of the 2018 elections.

Andy Ebona, Treasurer of NIGA also provided a 2018 budget update and presented the proposed 2019 budget for adoption.

The Board unanimously approved the following resolutions:

PEC-BOD-09-24-17, “Supporting the National Law Enforcement Museum to Create a Changing and Traveling Exhibition and Permanent Learning Center to Showcase and Teach the Proud Story of Tribal Government Policing.”The resolution requests tribal nations to support the museum to ensure the highest quality learning center and policing of Indian Country Exhibition, including support for the touring exhibitions.

PEC-BOD-09-2417 – “Opposing the Department of Interior Reorganization Plan as Presented” The resolution calls on the Department of Interior to thoroughly consult with Indian tribes on the proposed reorganization on a government-to-government basis and calls upon the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to exercise their oversight authority and request a detailed reorganization plan from Department of Interior Ryan Zinke and its impact on Tribal nations.

The National Indian Gaming Association Mid-year event officially runs from September 25 – 27, 2018. Activities include the mid-year golf tournament, to be held at the Temecula Creek Golf Course, a day of pre-conference sessions, an opening networking reception, the Tribal Membership meeting, a full day of gaming-related sessions, and the Tribal Gaming Commissioner certification training. All events will be held at the Pechanga Resort. The coveted John Kieffer Sovereignty Awards luncheon will take place on Wednesday afternoon.