Las Vegas, Nevada – October 12, 2022 – The Indian Gaming Association hosted its annual Tribal Leaders reception at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) on Today's tradeshow floor.
Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., welcomed attendees, "It is great to see you all here Today. I want to thank everybody for being there and supporting us. Once again, G2E can see the tremendous tribal government gaming representation here Today. Thirty years ago, we used to go to these events and recruit gaming consultants & professionals to assist us in building our industry.
Stevens added, "Back then, we were working to figure out to make slot machines work right away in Indian country because we were building schools and hospitals and taking care of our community from day one. It is great to see how far we've come. We've all grown and walked into this world.
Stevens continued, Today, we are the experts of our industry. We've surpassed the mainstream gaming world. Our Indian gaming industry now leads the United States of America, and that's because of you all."
Chairman Steven recognized several leaders throughout Indian country, instrumental in leading their tribal communities and gaming operations with the Chairman Leadership Award. Honored Today was Greg Abrahamson, Vice Chairman of the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
Stevens said, "Greg Abrahamson is one of my colleagues who has probably been around for this industry from day one. He has served on a board of directors and side by side with me my entire term at our gaming association. Today, we recognize Greg for his years of service and engagement on behalf of Tribal Government Gaming.
The following Chairman's Leadership Award was presented to Michael Fairbanks, Chairman of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. Stevens shared that Chairman Fairbanks is a long-time close friend. The friendship comes from their years on the Indian basketball tournament circuits and the traditional Pow-Wow world. He shared, "Chairman Fairbanks has my utmost respect. He has tremendous responsibilities on behalf of the White Earth Nation but is also a strong resounding force for all of Indian Country."
Stevens also recognized George Rivera, a former governor of Pojoaque Pueblo. Stevens shared, "George has spent thirty years in government and leadership, and throughout that tenure, he never left his art because his art has driven him, and it was always a part is his leadership."
Stevens then recognized Rebecca George, Executive Director of the Washington Gaming Association (WIGA), with the Chairman's Leadership Award. Stevens told the audience that George was a protege turned experienced veteran.
He said, "Rebecca George is an example of one of our gaming professionals in leadership who have grown with the industry." Stevens also shared, "WIGA is a titan in this fight and an organization made up of leaders who have worked hard in fighting to protect tribal sovereignty."
The final Chairman's Leadership Award was presented to Mark Woommavovah, Chairman of the Comanche Nation in Oklahoma. Stevens said, "I want to say that the responsibility that Chairman Woommavovah has in the world of leadership is immense. We wanted to recognize this tribal chairman for the work that he's doing not only for the Comanche Nation but all Indian country."
Chairman Woommavovah shared his recognition by bringing the entire Comanche Nation Gaming leadership to join him on stage to accept his leadership award.