National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) and member Tribes embark on business and trade discussions with European Parliament and AMAR Foundation, February 6, 2017, London, United Kingdom

The National Indian Gaming Association and tribal leadership visited the House of Parliament in London, United Kingdom this week.  In the photo: L-R:  Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne and NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.

The National Indian Gaming Association and tribal leadership visited the House of Parliament in London, United Kingdom this week.  In the photo: L-R:  Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne and NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.

After a year of extensive planning and coordination a day-long event of meetings in the House of Parliament; including the observation of a live debate in the House of Lords, a reception with British Business Leaders, a cultural performance by the Yaaw Tei Yi Dancers and a culminating dinner where the Tribal Delegation and British Business Leaders were able to discuss furthering opportunities for economic diversification with Indian Country took place.

Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. addressed the gathering and said, "NIGA is proud to build upon the historical relationships that Indian Country once had with the Crown.  We thank Victor Strategies, Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne and her staff and those NIGA member Tribes (Mohegan Tribe, Confederated Salish & Kootanie Tribes, Pechanga Band of Luiseno' Indians and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians) that have made this event possible.  We are proud to assist in building upon the dialogue that began at last year's International Casino Exhibition and look forward to strong economic development opportunities and the government to government exchange that will take place throughout this week."

During a luncheon meeting between the Baroness and the Tribal Leader delegations, the Baroness explained the importance of fostering relations between Native American Tribes and business entities in the United Kingdom and abroad.  She asked that the National Indian Gaming Association continue to extend and build upon the dialogue and relationships to advance economic diversification and intergovernmental exchange between our Nations. 

The Tribal Leaders present were able to commence introductory discussions and hope to continue to engage with the Business entities from the United Kingdom and abroad with the long-term goal of entering into business partnerships that will further diversify their Tribal economies in the Global Market Place.  It is important to note that these business entities understand the importance of building relationships and respect for one another over time and the Baroness has given her word that all of the companies represented were fully vetted by the British Government before introductions were made.  This week's interactions will continue and both parties will educate one another and develop an appreciation and understanding for each other's culture and heritage, which is the foundation to a strong business partnership with Indian Country.

The National Indian Gaming Association has been called upon to foster further economic development beyond gaming for Tribal Governments and we will continue to encourage and promote these opportunities for Indian Country.  Not only should Tribal economic portfolios embrace their local economy and job opportunities on the Reservation, but it should also include other sources of revenue from beyond the Reservation.  Building business relationships in the Global Market is the future for Indian Country!