The Great Plains, Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions are present this week at the Great Plains Indian Gaming Association's (GPIGA) Indian Gaming Conference & Tradeshow. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is hosting the annual event at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, MN home of 10,000 lakes. GPIGA brings together tribal nations in the area utilizing a spirit of cooperation. Conference attendees enjoyed the Welcome & Awards Banquet Monday night where a number of tribal leaders from Indian Country were recognized.
Long-standing National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Board Member, William "Shorty" Brewer was one of those honored by GPIGA during the banquet. Shorty is one of Indian Country's legendary advocates for tribal sovereignty and our inherent rights. The Sisseton-Wahpeton were also recognized Monday night. The sovereign tribal community received acknowledgement from GPIGA as one of the 24 nations that association is composed of and the great customer service and entertainment venues they provide in their casinos.
John Macarthy also received an award from the association during the Welcome & Awards Banquet as his work helps to fulfill GPIGA's purpose to promote tribal sovereignty and economic development, which provides a positive impact throughout the communities in the Great Plains region. John is known for having started his career in Indian Country as a Vista worker and now serves as the Minnesota Indian Gaming Associations Executive Director.
GPIGA also recognized retired Master Chief and former Oneida Chairman, Jerry Danforth who is a renowned tribal leader and mentor to many. Before the evening was over GPIGA also honored the deserving Chairman John Yellow Bird Steele. Chairman Steele has served the Oglala Sioux Tribe over the last two decades as a tribal leader ensuring the exercise and protection of the tribe's sovereign treaty rights. He has worked tirelessly to raise the quality of life of the Oglala Sioux people that he serves.
Tuesday morning the GPIGA Indian Gaming Conference & Tradeshow kicked off with a tribal networking breakfast and the opening ceremonies and welcome remarks. The Regulatory Update Panel followed with the Hot Topic Session on Economic Development & Diversification. Conference attendees later partook in seminar sessions before the tradeshow floor ribbon cutting welcomed all to the Exhibitor Meet & Greet Mixer. This was another networking opportunity for those at the GPIGA Indian Gaming Conference & Tradeshow.
NIGA also hosted a Board of Directors Meeting. The agenda was filled with new business as well as follow up from action items established at the last meeting during NIGA's Indian Gaming 2015. Holding board meetings in regional settings throughout Indian Country provides NIGA's board members a greater chance of participating.
Today the GPIGA Indian Gaming Conference & Tradeshow continued with a tribal networking coffee hour followed by the another Hot Topic Session, Future Forecast: Envisioning the Next Generation of Entertainment and Gaming. The tradeshow floor opened for business opportunities and various door prizes where held throughout the day.