2017 National Indian Gaming Association Legislative Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) held its 2017 Summer Legislative Summit on July 18-19, in Washington, D.C.  This was the 16th year of the Summit and the first held at NIGA's Stanley R. Crooks Tribal Leaders Center on Capitol Hill. 

"This was one of the largest attended and most successful summits ever. There was an incredible turnout of Tribal Leaders, industry professionals, and important Government leaders assembled on Capitol Hill to discuss the variety of issues facing our Native communities.", said Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. These included unfair treatment of tribal governments under the National Labor Relations Act, threats to the restoration of tribal homelands raised at recent House hearings, and the push from Indian Country to reauthorize a host of economic measures to help reinvigorate our reservation economies.  A primary focus of this Summit was the House Natural Resources Committee's hearings on the Indian Reorganization Act and its impact on the federal land into trust debate.  

On these issues, tribal leaders heard from numerous Senators and Congresspeople over the two-day conference.  Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND) addressed the audience to great applause as tribal leaders thanked her for her efforts. 

Tribal leaders also heard from and spoke to Indian Country allies from steadfast supporters Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI), Senator Steve Daines (MT) and Congresswomen Norma Torres (CA). Many speakers have been long-time supporters of Indian Country in Congress, but there were also some new faces at the Summit building new connections such as Congressman Ro Khanna (CA) and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV). A full list of speakers is listed on our website and we thank all of our speakers for taking the time to join us at the Stanly R. Crooks Tribal Leaders Center.

In one of the largest attended Summits ever, Tribal Leaders and industry professionals assembled on Capitol Hill to discuss the variety of issues facing our Native communities-unfair treatment of tribal governments under the National Labor Relations Act, threats to the restoration of tribal homelands raised at recent House hearings, and the push from Indian Country to reauthorize a host of economic measures to help reinvigorate our reservation economies.  A primary focus of this Summit was the House Natural Resources Committee's hearings on the Indian Reorganization Act and its impact on the federal land into trust debate. 

On these issues, tribal leaders heard from numerous Senators and Congresspeople over the two-day conference.  Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND) addressed the audience to great applause as tribal leaders thanked her for her efforts. 

Tribal leaders also heard from and spoke to Indian Country allies from steadfast supporters Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI), Senator Steve Daines (MT) and Congresswomen Norma Torres (CA). Many speakers have been long-time supporters of Indian Country in Congress, but there were also some new faces at the Summit building new connections such as Congressman Ro Khanna (CA) and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV). A full list of speakers is listed on our website and we thank all of our speakers for taking the time to join us at the Stanly R. Crooks Tribal Leaders Center.

In addition to hearing from Members of Congress, tribal leaders also spoke with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development, Gavin Clarkson concerning the Indian Federal Trader License statute. Indian Country heard about the initiatives that the Administration is pushing to maximize Tribal Sovereignty when it comes to economic development in Indian Country and the information that they need on projects that have not come to fruition and the reasons why.  Indian Country will continue to work with the Deputy Assistant Secretary to gain more knowledge on the Administration and its priorities.

NIGA is appreciative of the continuing hard work by all of our friends in Congress and allies in the Administration with regards to Carcieri, the IRA, labor relations, infrastructure development and promoting policies to spur economic growth and promote tribal self-sufficiency and self-determination. While we consider the Summit a success, we must be aware that Indian Country still has a great deal of work to do and must engage in consultation with the federal government to preserve our hard won treaty and constitutional rights. 

The Summit concluded with several meetings with Senators from both sides of the aisle as they worked to develop a response to our current health care log jam and preserving Tribal Government health care under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, and Medicaid. 

NIGA was also honored with two gift announcements during the Summit.  Aristocrat presented a check for $250,000 to help retire the debt on the building construction.  VGT (an Aristocrat Co.) President Jay Sevigny said, "We are happy to present this check to NIGA to continue our partnership with NIGA." 

The Mashantucket Pequot Chairman, Rodney Butler and two Council members presented NIGA with a beautiful pipe that was hand carved and decorated by a Pequot Artist for display in the NIGA offices and they also presented a $25,000 check.  NIGA extends its gratitude to our partners for these contributions. 

NIGA will hold its Mid-Year Conference this September 18-20, at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix.

We hope you can join us at one of these important events.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact Veronica Watters at vwatters@indiangaming.org or at 202-548-3803.