NIGA is saddened by the loss of Gary M. Mitchell

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is saddened by the loss of Gary M. Mitchell of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Mitchell was 63 as he made his journey to the spirit world January 23, 2015 in Topeka, KS.

Serving the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation for 18 years as Treasurer, Vice-Chairman and Chairman, Mitchell was instrumental during his time with the Potawatomi Nation. He orchestrated the gaming compact with the state in the 1990s, resulting in what is now the Prairie Band Casino & Resort (formerly Harrah's Prairie Band Casino). As a historian for the tribe, Mitchell was committed to sustaining the culture of the Potawatomi Nation and incorporated woodland designs, reminiscent of the landscape of the Potawatomi Nation, into the casino.

Since 1997, Mitchell had been the Chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation's Gaming Commission. "On behalf of everyone who worked under his chairmanship the Gaming Commission is deeply saddened by his loss," said Mitchell's commission colleague and former Potawatomi Nation Councilman Rey Kitchkumme. "He honored our nation through service with tremendous passion and integrity. He was a good friend, mentor, co-worker and boss. His intelligence, wit, guidance and graciousness will be forever remembered. His love for the tribe, traditional ways and his family were evident in everything that he did. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with the Mitchell family at this difficult time."

Mitchell's role with the Gaming Commission was instrumental in regulating the gaming operations of the Potawatomi Nation. As Chairman he ensured gaming was a means to promoting economic development, self-sufficiency and strong national governments, while shielding the nation from outside influences.

NIGA Chairman Stevens recollected times with Mitchell and said, "Chairman Mitchell was my friend and a strong supporter of the work we do in Washington, DC. He was a powerful role model and pioneer for the Indian gaming industry. We give condolences on behalf of the National Indian Gaming Association and the Stevens family. Starting with my late grandmother to my youngest daughter, we are all a part of the Haskell family that Gary cherished and supported." Chairman Stevens went on further and reminded us that, "Gary was the kind of tribal leader that you would respect and appreciate. Grounded first in family and community, driven by a standard that put the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and their future at the highest priority."  

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