Highlighting all areas, Chief Benjamin spoke about the displaced Band members and the transitional housing the tribe offers. Keeping with tribal safety, the Band's police department has been moving forward with a department overhaul and crime on reservation has decreased. Chief Benjamin applauded the efforts to make the community safe and transitioned her address to the enterprises of the Band.
Although Indian gaming supports many of the services and programs offered by tribes, the Band wants to continue to plan smart so they are not dependent. The Band's casinos are performing strong and their two hotels are doing well. Chief Benjamin projected their newest property in Oklahoma City to follow suit.
During her address, she demonstrated while the Band has two successful gaming properties, they do not solely rely on them and follows the mission of the Band's former leader Arthur Gahbow. Twenty-four years ago Gahbow shared his vision and wanted the Band to use gaming as a tool and not a solution. His dream to rebuild and invest into tribal business is still lived out by the Band today. Because of strategic planning the Band did not have to reduce their services or programs in 2014. Chief Benjamin concluded her address by inspiring attendees to help preserve the Native way of life, to learn the language and to pass along the teachings.
Following Chief Benjamin a variety of representatives spoke on tribal general welfare including Mille Lacs Band elder Lee Staples, Commissioner of Corporate Affairs Joe Nayquonabe, Speaker of the Assembly Carolyn Beaulieu and ChIef Justice Rayna Churchill. National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Stevens also addressed the crowd and echoed Chief Benjamin's sentiment as he shared the current state of Indian gaming and the opportunities it provides for diversified economic development.