Press Releases

Press Releases

Agenda Set for Western Indian Gaming Conference

2017/01/24

Agenda Set for Western Indian Gaming Conference

The Westcoast’s Largest Indian Gaming Tradeshow Expands to Two Days

2017/01/24

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announces the 22nd annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) February 7th -9th at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa located in Cabazon, California.
The WIGC has been extended to two full days to provide for in depth discussion about the current state of the tribal government gaming industry. The WIGC will open on Wednesday, February 8th with the State of the Tribal Nations Address, followed by general session seminars focusing on the new political climate in Washington DC as well as California’s tribal state gaming compacts.
Breakout sessions that afternoon and the subsequent day will include four unique tracks focusing on comprehensive conversations on a myriad of topics including, an in-depth look at house banked games being played in California Cardrooms, legislative and political updates, water conservation, branding, regulation, IT security, smoke-free tribal casinos, competitive markets, cross generational appeal, and other great topics of interest. For a complete list of seminars, visit www.wigc2017.com
The conference will be preceded by the WIGC signature golf tournament at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, owned and operated by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.
“This year we have extended our conference by an extra day which will allow for meaningful interactions between attendees and panelist. CNIGA is honored to host tribal leaders from throughout the country, our associate members, as well as academics and industry professionals during this impressive conference,” said Steve Stallings, Chairman of CNIGA.
“I am privileged to announce that Marshall McKay, Chairman Emeritus, Tribal Elder, & Ambassador to the Nation, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Chairman Emeritus, California Nations Indian Gaming Association will be receiving the Anna Sandoval Leadership Award and that long time tribal attorney and advocate Jerry Levine will be the recipient of our Pauline Murillo Industry Leader Award. I am humbled to be presenting these awards, to two men who helped shape the California tribal gaming industry. CNIGA is pleased to honor the past while celebrating the future.” Stallings added.
“We are delighted to return to the beautiful Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. I would like to thank the Morongo Band of Mission Indians for their continued support and dedication to the Association,” said Susan Jensen, CNIGA Executive Director. “The California tribal government gaming industry generated a record $7.8 billion in economic output which supported 63,000 jobs in California. CNIGA is grateful to our member tribes who support our ability to provide the leading voice for the industry. CNIGA is the largest gaming association of tribal governments in California, actively creating a forum for tribal leaders and industry partners to discuss issues of concern in Indian Country.”
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to preserving and protecting the sovereign right of tribes to have gaming on tribal lands.
The Morongo Casino & Resort is located at 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, CA 92230. Members of the press are asked to check in at the registration counters to obtain press credentials. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register online at www.wigc2017.com or on-site on Tuesday, February 7 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and Wednesday, February 8 from 8:00 am – 4:00pm. Registration for the conference is $400 if you register before January 27 and $450 after or onsite.

CNIGA Appoints New Deputy Director Of Operations

2016/11/15

CNIGA Appoints New Deputy Director Of Operations

Tribal Government Administrator to oversee member services

2016/11/15

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is pleased to announce new personnel changes, with the recent promotion of Susan Jensen as the Executive Director, the vacancy in Ms. Jensen’s previous position has been filled with the addition of Ambar Mohammed as the new Deputy Director of Operations. For over five years, Ms. Mohammed has worked directly for the Colusa Indian Community Council as their Director of Executive Affairs, representing the Tribe in the community and supporting the members of the Executive Committee, responsible for day to day management and organization of the council operations and keeping the Executive Board and Committee abreast on all political, financial, and internal aspects of the tribe’s eleven business entities. Mohammed also serves as the lead administrator for the Tribal State Compact Steering Committee, where she manages an organization of 27 members. “Ms. Mohammed’s background in Indian Country will be an asset to CNIGA and its member tribes as CNIGA continues its transition to the next phase for California’s Tribal Government gaming industry” said Susan Jensen, CNIGA Executive Director. “Ms. Mohammed has a strong understanding of the dynamics in tribal governments that will provide for a smooth transition into her role and responsibilities at CNIGA”, Jensen added. Ms. Mohamed earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science from University of California Davis and a paralegal certificate from Evergreen Valley College. About CNIGA: The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of 33 federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. Tribal government gaming operations in California generate an estimated $8 billion in economic output, of which $2.9 billion represents earnings by California workers, and support over 56,000 jobs statewide.
For more information about the economic impact of California’s tribal casinos visit www.cniga.com.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Names New Executive Director

2016/10/17

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Names New Executive Director

Association Veteran Tapped to Lead State Tribal Gaming Association

2016/10/17

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the State’s largest tribal government gaming trade group announced the pending retirement of Executive Director and the selection of Susan Jensen as the organization’s incoming executive director. Ms. Jensen will replace Lee Acebedo, the associations longest serving ED, who will be retiring at the end of October. For over 18 years, Ms. Jensen has been a vital part of the association in many capacities, including serving twice as the associations interim Executive Director during her tenure. Ms. Jensen has overseen the association’s media program, member services and the Western Indian Gaming Conference, the association’s annual trade show. “Her knowledge and eighteen years of experience within the association gives her incredible insight on the history of our members and the association as we prepare to enter the next phase of tribal government gaming in the State,” said Steve Stallings, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “I would like to extend a deep thank you to Mr. Acebedo for his dedication to CNIGA and California’s tribal governments. Lee’s wisdom and guidance over the past decade has been invaluable.” As executive director, Ms. Jensen will oversee day-to-day operation and be responsible for the overall management and implementation of the policies and programs established by the CNIGA membership and executive committee. Ms. Jensen began her career with the association in 1998 as a Public Relations Coordinator, since that time she has served as the Director of Communications and most recently the Deputy Director of Operations. Jensen is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento. “I am honored to have been selected for the position of executive director. I look forward to the challenge and welcome the opportunity to enhance the critical role that CNIGA plays in the tribal gaming industry,” said Jensen. About CNIGA Representing 33 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. Tribal government gaming operations in California generate an estimated $8 billion in economic output, of which $3.3 billion represents earnings by California workers, and support over 63,000 jobs statewide.
For more information about the economic impact of California’s tribal casinos visit www.cniga.com.

CNIGA Chairman Applauds Movement Of Internet Poker Legislation From Assembly Committee

2016/04/27

CNIGA Chairman Applauds Movement Of Internet Poker Legislation From Assembly Committee

2016/04/27

California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Chairman Steve Stallings issued the following statement after Assembly Bill 2863 (Gray) passed the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. “On behalf of the 34 member tribes of CNIGA, I commend the Governmental Organization Committee for moving Assembly Bill 2863. We thank Committee Chairman Adam Gray and Assembly leadership for their commitment to move this issue forward.” “For nearly a decade, Internet poker has been a hotly debated issue, Today’s vote marks a turning point on the issue. For the first time, we have moved closer to a consensus with Tribal governments, cardrooms, horse racing industry and labor groups supporting a safe and secure environment for Californians to use today’s technology to play poker.” “Following established association guidelines, we know and understand the complexity of this issue and understand that more work is needed. However, with the momentum established today, an Internet poker bill can and will pass this year.” “We look forward to continued discussions with stakeholders and the Legislature.” About CNIGA: The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.
For more information, visit our website at www.cniga.com.

CNIGA Appoints New Deputy Director of Public Affairs

2016/04/06

CNIGA Appoints New Deputy Director of Public Affairs

Indian country policy and political veteran to head legislative and media programs

2016/04/06

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is pleased to announce new personnel changes, the addition of Carlos Valdez as the new Deputy Director of Public Affairs. Mr. Valdez brings over a decade of political and advocacy experience in Indian country. For nearly 13 years, Mr. Valdez represented the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians at state, federal and local levels working to advance sound public policy that protected tribal sovereignty, tribal gaming and cultural resources. Mr. Valdez managed their political program and several independent expenditure campaigns supporting candidates who fought for tribal sovereignty. Prior to his tenure in Indian Country Mr. Valdez worked for Manning Selvage and Lee one of the nation’s top public relations firms and began his career with one of Los Angeles’ premier public affairs firms, The Englander Group working on political campaigns, community affairs and media relations. “Mr. Valdez’s political and policy experience will bring a fresh perspective to CNIGA and its member tribes to make CNIGA a force in the Capitol as we enter the next phase of Tribal Government Gaming in the State of California”, said Steve Stallings, CNIGA Chairman. “Mr. Valdez has a strong understanding of local politics, trying to balance tribal sovereignty and local control which will be key to helping educate local government officials as tribal government gaming continues to grow in the State”, Stallings added. Mr. Valdez earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge, attended Political Science Graduate School at California State University, Northridge and received a certificate in Public Policy from University of California, Davis. CNIGA is also pleased to announce the promotion of longtime employee Susan Jensen as the new Deputy Director of Operations. Ms. Jensen served as the Association’s Director of Communications for the past 18 years. Ms. Jensen will oversee member development and retention, special programs and events. “Ms. Jensen has been a vital part of this organization for nearly two decades and will now focus on servicing members and taking the Western Indian Gaming Conference to the next level”, said Lee Acebedo, CNIGA Executive Director. About CNIGA: The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.
For more information, visit our website at www.cniga.com
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact carlos@cniga.com at 916 448-8706 or email at carlos@cniga.com.

CNIGA Chairman Steve Stallings Supports Principles behind Assemblyman Gray’s Internet Poker Bill

2016/02/22

CNIGA Chairman Steve Stallings Supports Principles behind Assemblyman Gray’s Internet Poker Bill

2016/02/22

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) Chairman Steve Stallings issued the following statement regarding the introduction of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s Internet Poker bill, AB 2863. CNIGA was established to promote, protect and preserve the interests of Indian tribes with respect to the conduct of gaming activities. For more than 28 years, CNIGA has focused on Indian casino issues. “However, as technology changed, so did the demographics of today’s gaming patron. Many don’t want to just sit in front of a slot machine or at a card table. They want a different experience that meets their lifestyles.” “That is why CNIGA issued a set of Internet gaming principles to meet the changing times. The principles include establishing consumer safeguards, protecting children and preserving Tribal sovereignty.” “It appears that Assemblyman Gray’s AB 2863 meets those stated principles and we are supportive of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s efforts to allow gaming Tribes the option to adapt to the changing technology.” “CNIGA looks forward to working with the Legislature to ensure meaningful legislation is passed.” The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. Tribal government gaming operations in California generate an estimated $8 billion in economic output, of which $2.9 billion represents earnings by California workers, and support over 56,000 jobs statewide.
For more information about the economic impact of California’s tribal casinos visit www.cniga.com.

Indian Gaming Association Delivers State of the Industry Report

2016/02/18

Indian Gaming Association Delivers State of the Industry Report

2016/02/18

Steve Stallings, newly elected chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), discussed the good news, as well as the challenges facing tribal government gaming in a “State of the Industry” report at the organization’s 21st Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference, Feb 9-11, 2015 at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. Tribal Gaming in California continues to expand in employment and revenues, with California tribes representing over 25 percent of the US total. Of the 28.5 billion generated in 2014, revenues for California’s tribal enterprises grew by 4.9 percent to 7.3 billion, over the 6.9 million earned in 2013. Stallings discussed the historic origins and accomplishments of the organization, which passed two state ballot measures, Proposition 5, a tribal/state compact, and Proposition 1A in 2000, changing the state constitution to grant Las Vegas, casino-style gaming exclusively to tribal governments on federally recognized tribal lands. Proposition 1A’s passage secured the original tribal state compact negotiated by then Governor Gray Davis, and 63 California tribes, after a 10-year battle with the state to win a compact. “We can measure CNIGA’s achievements by the success of Indian gaming and the dollars generated. Alternatively, we can measure its contribution, over the past 20 plus years, by the people whose lives have been touched for the better because of Indian gaming. We all have success stories, and for this, we owe CNIGA members, past and present,” stated Stallings, a member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians’ tribal council. “We are sitting in Rincon’s success story,” Stallings pointed out, referring to the Harrah’s meeting room. “It’s a nice conference room, beautiful resort, great restaurants, and so much more. When you look around you see a meeting room, I see health care for our members. You see a stage, I see a fire department, you see a buffet, and I see a tribal court. The state of our industry is best reflected in the growing strength of our governments, the health of our communities, and our ability to better protect our sovereignty.” Stallings congratulated the tribes for keeping their promise to voters that revenues from gaming would be used to create jobs and provide government services to reservations so that tribal people would be self-sufficient. He also noted how tribal gaming has generated real economic benefits to all Californians, from jobs for non-Indians to sharing fire and police services with neighbors. In many rural communities and small cities, the tribes are the major philanthropic donors. According to research by Beacon Economics, hired by CNIGA to report on the benefits of tribal gaming, many lives and communities beyond tribal reservations benefitted from tribal gaming. The 2014 analysis showed that California tribal government gaming had an $8 billion annual impact and supported more than 56,000 jobs for state residents. There were 68 tribal gaming enterprises in 2014, up by four from 2012. “The 2014 study serves as both an update and expansion to the previous 2013 study by adding research in the areas of non-gaming operations located at tribal casinos, such as hotels, spas, golf courses and concert halls, revenue sharing with non-gaming tribes and charitable contributions. By expanding the report, Beacon Economics was able to measure the totality of benefits generated by tribal government gaming operations,” noted Stallings. The study’s key findings included: Tribal gaming generated $8 billion for California’s economy and supports 56,000 jobs statewide: Tribal gaming operations in California generated an estimated $8 billion in economic output in 2012 – $2.9 billion of which represented earnings by California workers – and supported over 56,000 jobs statewide. The 2012 operations had a roughly 7%-7.5percentage larger impact on California economic activity than in 2010. Expenditures totaled $62.8 million per tribe: Tribal gaming expenditures totaled roughly $62.8 million per tribe in 2012 and consisted predominantly of advertising, administration, food and drink, and gaming expenditures. $4.2 billion in secondary effects: Over half of the economic output generated by tribal gaming operations came through secondary effects’ $4.2 billion, indicating that tribal casinos have a substantial impact on the state economy above and beyond their own direct spending. Non-gaming operations generated $2.3 billion output and supported 14,800 jobs: Tribal non-gaming operations in California generated an estimated $2.3 billion in economic output in 2012, supporting over 14,800 jobs statewide, and adding $1.2 billion in value to the state economy, of which $804.6 million represented income for California workers. Tribal non-gaming operations directly employed 8,200 workers: Tribal non-gaming operations directly employed approximately 8,200 workers statewide and supported an additional 6,600 jobs through the secondary effects, such as income spent by tribal casino employees or earnings by suppliers of tribal casinos throughout the state. Indirect effects substantial: The indirect effects of tribal non-gaming operations are substantial. Non-gaming operations stimulated nearly $100 million in economic activity for real estate firms, nearly $50 million for wholesale trade firms, and over $35 million for restaurants and bars throughout California. Revenue sharing for tribes without casinos: Statewide revenue sharing for tribes without casinos generated more than $100 million in economic output for California and supported 433 jobs statewide in 2012. California gaming tribes active in philanthropic giving: Gaming tribes and their casinos gave $36.6 million in charitable contributions in 2012, generating an estimated $109.2 million in economic output, and supporting an estimated 1,038 jobs statewide. The study also shows that gaming tribes often serve as the most important sources of philanthropic giving in their surrounding communities. CNIGA will once again be releasing the Beacon Economic report on the impact of tribal gaming in 2015. “We owe the voters of California, the people who gave us this opportunity for economic development– a report card in return for their support. Also we are very proud of our record in strengthening our own governments, but also that we are able to contribute to the state’s economy, and participate in the well-being of our neighbors in many rural areas where jobs and many government services did not exist until tribal gaming,” Stallings said. Looking to the future, Stallings reminded tribes of their accomplishments when presenting a united front and warned that tribes need to stay united and not blinded by their individual successes, all of which were born from a united front. “I read somewhere the internet is today’s campfire, with a global audience. Traditional campfires served many purposes among Indian people, from a place for gathering to make important decisions, and providing for dialogue to build consensus, to teaching youth, and for entertainment. Today’s digital campfire does much of the same, but has no censors or built in protections to protect the user from fraud and misinformation.” “As tribes, counting on gaming revenues to fund our government budgets, we cannot let yesterday’s and today’s success make us complacent, but must take risks and prepare for new markets, and changes in the games. The only way we can protect our businesses is to anticipate the future and what gaming will look like 10-20 years from now,” he explained. “Given how fast technology changes, the digital campfire with its massive audiences, pit falls, and opportunities, is the most immediate challenge facing California tribes. Finding skill based games that appeal to the younger markets, and diversifying our entertainment venues is one solution. It has been estimated that California with its population of 30 million offers one of the most lucrative internet gaming markets in the US. Online Poker, still illegal in the US, has been reported to currently have over ten million players.” In closing, Stallings pointed to the immediate political challenges that will test the tribes. These include bills to legalize and regulate I-Poker, Daily Fantasy Sports, and sports wagering. All three, as witnessed by the 9-year stalemate over I-Poker, will require diligence, unity and political comprises among the state’s tribal gaming enterprises and governments. “I hope, amidst all the potential for profits and politics around internet gaming, that the consumer doesn’t get lost and that we will continue to look to gaming that rewards both the players and the host.” “My personal goal is to revitalize CNIGA. It’s our historic home base, our tribal campfire, the place we come to stay in tune with our industry, to debate and discuss legal and legislative issues, and to build consensus and resilience as we look to the future of tribal government gaming,” he concluded.

CNIGA urges Assembly GO Committee to schedule hearing relating to online poker

2016/01/06

CNIGA urges Assembly GO Committee to schedule hearing relating to online poker

2016/01/06

Steve Stallings, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), disappointed that Representative Adam Gray, chairman of the California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, did not use the January 6 hearing to take the next step in legalizing and regulating online poker in the state. “We realize there are two other bills dealing with sports betting (AB 1441) and daily fantasy sports (DFS) (AB 1437) sharing the agenda with the I-Poker bill, AB 167. Introduced by Representative Reginald Jones-Sawyer, AB 167 represents one of the last in a series of I-Poker bills, which, unlike AB 1441 and AB 1437, were thoroughly vetted, debated, altered, massaged, and continually passed over with the hope of a political miracle of consensus in the next year,” stated Stallings. “The regulation of fantasy sports is well intended. However, the state needs to prove it can deal with one online game I-Poker–before it takes on others.” Stallings believes the fantasy sports media blitz, followed by an impressive barrage of media coverage of the data leak and charges of insider abuses that led to federal investigations, lawsuits and costly legal challenges, prompted more political interest in protecting California’s sports fantasy players than the state’s online poker fans that are regularly victimized without such high-profile notoriety. “There have been long standing divisions among the stakeholders, including tribal governments, some of which are members of CNIGA. However, I believe, the Jones-Sawyer bill opens the door to compromises that can finally bring the majority together. We were excruciatingly close last year, and I would like to see CNIGA play a major role in helping to unify the Indian tribes on the key issues that previously divided us and take the lead in supporting a partner bill in the state Senate.” Stallings praises Chairman Gray for his consumer advocacy. At the December GO hearing on sports wagering and fantasy sports, Gray suggested, he wanted the state to lead the way in balancing consumer protection with consumer demand. “This is a wise and practical approach. Plus, he can meet this goal by passing I-Poker legislation this year. The goal is reasonable. The Legislature knows the demand is there. They know the play is happening. They also know California online poker players are currently sitting ducks, vulnerable to all manner of schemes to steal their money,” Stallings noted. “The computer age is here and so is internet gambling, along with its opportunities and dangers. To continue to do nothing exposes the state’s citizens to the type of criminal and backroom activities reminiscent of the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920-’30s. We all know how well that worked.” “Our state needs to join the digital age and meet its responsibilities to make I-Poker safe for those who wish to play it (and are forced to play it illegally, subject to fraudulent off-shore betting sites), and begin to turn some of the ill-gotten gains from the illegal operations into benefits for the state’s tax payers,” Stallings added. To quote Poker News Daily, “by far the largest state in the nation with approximately 39 million citizens, the California online poker industry would be the most lucrative in the United States.” Stallings said that I-Poker, as the first to frame the debate and address the complex issues of online gaming, should not only be first on the committee’s agenda, but one of the first pieces of legislation passed in 2016. “Practice makes perfect applies here,” he explains. “The exercise of debating and approving I-Poker will prove useful in addressing additional details that arise in the new proposals of introducing sports wagering and licensing and regulating DFS.” Among the challenges facing AB 1437 and AB 1441, both introduced by Representative Gray, Stallings sees major issues of legality, increased funding and structural re-thinking of California’s applicable regulatory agencies. “Legalizing fantasy sports also faces potential obstacles with an expected weigh in by the state’s Attorney General on whether to join other attorneys general, like the New York attorney general, whose ruling of the games as illegal closed down fantasy sports operations in that state,” he adds. CNIGA is the largest association of Indian gaming interests in California. According to Stallings CNIGA will be discussing and closely monitoring AB 1437 and AB 1441, as well as working to find a mutually beneficial consensus among stakeholders on I-Poker legislation. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.
For more information, visit our website at www.cniga.com.

CNIGA Announces Elections Results

2015/12/14

CNIGA Announces Elections Results

2015/12/14

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announced today the election of Steve Stallings, Councilmember of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, to the position of chairman and Damon Sandoval, Councilmember of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, to the position of the organization’s Vice Chairman. Dennis Hendricks, Councilmember from the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians was re-elected to his third consecutive term as Treasurer. Leon Benner, from the Redding Rancheria was reelected Eastern Representative, Dale Miller, Chairman of the Elk Valley Rancheria was elected Northern Representative, Henry Murphy, Vice Chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, was elected Southern Representative and James Siva, Councilmember of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians was elected Central District Representative. They join CNIGA Secretary John Williams, who serves as Vice Chairman of the United Auburn Indian Community, as the 2015-16 officers of the state’s oldest and largest advocate for economic sovereignty, representing California tribes engaged in gaming enterprises or supportive of gaming initiatives. “I am honored to serve as CNIGA’s Chairman. I follow a long line of respected tribal leaders and vow to continue their work in protecting the inherent sovereign rights of California’s tribal governments,” said Chairman Stallings. “I would like to thank former Chairman Daniel J. Tucker for his wisdom and guidance as well as his longstanding dedication to CNIGA. Tucker will be deeply missed but we wish him a world of happiness as he enjoys his much deserved retirement.” “CNIGA has a history of negotiation with state government leaders for solutions to mutual concerns in a manner that is beneficial to the tribes, the state and the California tax-payers. Currently the tribes and the state have a number of significant gaming-related issues on the table. I look forward to bringing the expertise and good will of the tribes to resolve these issues in a manner that is likewise fair for all concerned, and respectful of the public interest.” Stallings has served on the CNIGA executive committee for six years as both the Vice Chairman and Treasurer. Sandoval has served on the CNIGA executive committee for 8 years as the Central District Representative. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. Tribal government gaming operations in California generate an estimated $8 billion in economic output, of which $2.9 billion represents earnings by California workers, and support over 56,000 jobs statewide.
For more information about the economic impact of California’s tribal casinos visit www.cniga.com.

CNIGA Announces Election Results

2014/12/18

CNIGA Announces Election Results

2014/12/18

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) unanimously re-elected Steve Stallings of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians to his second term as vice chairman. John William of the United Auburn Indian Community was elected to the position of Secretary. Earl Green of the Elk Valley Rancheria was elected as the Northern California at-large member and Damon Sandoval of Morongo was re-elected for his fourth term as the Central California at-large member. They join Chairman Daniel Tucker and Treasurer Dennis Hendricks as the 2014-15 officers of the state’s oldest and largest advocate for economic sovereignty, representing California tribes engaged in gaming enterprises or supportive of gaming initiatives. “We are ending the year on a high note with the completion of our continued research on the economic benefits of tribal gaming, and our ability to report to the people of California that the impact was extremely positive in terms of job creation and funding a network of service and infrastructure improvements both to the tribal governments and neighboring regions,” said Tucker adding that the strong leadership on the executive committee will ensure that CNIGA continues playing a key role as a forum for discussion of state and tribal gaming related issues and as a vehicle for unified initiatives. The economic survey and independent research completed by Beacon Economics, Inc., revealed tribal casinos: Generated $8 billion in economic output Support 56,000 jobs in California Donated $36.6 million in charitable contributions. The study found that gaming tribes often serve as the most important sources of philanthropic giving in their surrounding communities. According to Tucker, there are significant issues of mutual interest and concern to the state and the tribes on this year’s agenda. They include internet gaming; tribal-state gaming compacts, as well as regulatory and tax issues. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) Joins California Nations Indian Gaming Association ILCC President to Speak at WIGC

2014/02/04

Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) Joins California Nations Indian Gaming Association ILCC President to Speak at WIGC

2014/02/04

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is pleased to announce that the Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) joined the association during its recent annual meeting held in San Diego. ILCC is a Native American owned and managed Native Community Development Financial Institution (NCDFI) based in Montana. ILCC provides flexible financing to strengthen Native communities and cultures through tribal land acquisition. As a certified CDFI, ILCC serves market niches underserved by traditional financial institutions, promotes community development, and provides technical support in conjunction with its financial activities. ILCC lends on the “full faith and credit” of each individual sovereign Indian nation without requiring land to be used as collateral. Lending decisions are based on the full picture of a tribe’s financial condition, borrowing track record, and ability to make loan payments, eliminating the need for much of the costly and time-consuming measures required by traditional lenders to secure land and other assets as collateral for tribal loans. ILCC also welcomes tribes with resources as ‘social investors’ in ILCC’s loan funds, thus helping other tribes in the state. “We see CNIGA as a vital partner in reaching both borrower and lender tribes and creating a model for the rest of the nation for how tribes can work together to strengthen tribal sovereignty,” said Gerald Sherman, (Oglala Lakota) ILCC’s President and CEO. “The movement to reclaim tribal lands is critical to the long-term success and sustainability of California tribes,” said Steve Stallings, a tribal council member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians who has served as Director of the Native American Banking Services group for Wells Fargo as well as CNIGA’s Vice Chair. “That is why I was delighted to nominate ILCC to join CNIGA as a member and partner.” Sherman will be moderating a panel discussion entitled “Land: Sovereignty and Economic Development” at CNIGA’s annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) at the Morongo Casino on February 13th, 2014. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

BIS2, Maker of Award-Winning Casino Business Intelligence Software, Joins California Nations Indian Gaming Association as Associate Member

2014/02/03

BIS2, Maker of Award-Winning Casino Business Intelligence Software, Joins California Nations Indian Gaming Association as Associate Member

2014/02/03

BIS2, the multi-award-winning maker of graphically enabled data analytics products for casino operators, has joined the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) as an associate member. “We are excited to welcome BIS2 as an associate member of CNIGA. Industry partners are an important part of the Tribal Government Gaming Community,” said CNIGA Chairman Daniel J. Tucker. “We look forward to working closely with BIS2 in the coming years.” “In a short period of time BIS2 has demonstrated a strong commitment to Tribal Governments and the future economic development for Indian people nationwide,” said Lee Acebedo, Executive Director of CNIGA. “BIS2 is firmly committed to Native American economic advancement through tribal gaming,” said Chris Korpi, BIS2 Assistant VP Native American Relations. “We fully support CNIGA and its advocacy on behalf of California tribes that operate casinos as well as those that may wish to do so in the future. We look forward to a respectful and mutually beneficial partnership with all tribes, gaming and non-gaming, in California and throughout North America.” “The ability to optimize gaming operations and marketing programs through sophisticated data analytics allows casinos to return additional revenue to tribal government,” said Korpi. BIS2 works with Indian gaming operators to provide them with the tools they need to more effectively use business data they are often already collecting in order to increase profitability and improve their customer’s’ experience.” About CNIGA The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. About BIS2 BIS2’s gaming industry solution, gameViz, enables casino operators to gain a competitive advantage by viewing and analyzing gaming-floor data. BIS2 uses innovative visual data representations known as Super Graphics to provide sophisticated business insights, allowing casinos to rapidly adapt to changes in customer behavior. BIS2 is an innovative leader in enterprise-ready, standards-based, visually enabled analytics solutions that reveal the trends and patterns in operational data so organizations can identify what actions are required today and in the future. BIS2 software products have been recognized with multiple awards including Casino Journal’s Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Products, Casino Enterprise Management’s Top-10 Slot Floor products, the Data Warehousing Institute’s Advanced Analytics Best Practices Award and Gaming & Leisure Magazine’s Technology Impact Award and Product Interoperability Award, among others. BIS2 also offers industry-specific solutions for the airline industry (airViz), clubs and hospitality (clubViz), resorts (resortViz), telecommunications (telViz), insurance (insuranceViz), retail (retailViz), entertainment (entertainmentViz), manufacturing (makeViz) and financial services (moneyViz).
For more information, please call 1-877-592-2472 or visit: www.bis2.net.
Contact:
Veronica Ruffo Account Executive Mobile: 877-592 2472 veronica.ruffo@bis2.net
Susan Jensen Director of Communications, CNIGA Office: 916-448-8706 Mobile: 916-769-5522 susan@cniga.com

United Auburn Indian Community Joins the CA Nations Indian Gaming Association Officers are Re-Elected

2014/01/13

United Auburn Indian Community Joins the CA Nations Indian Gaming Association Officers are Re-Elected

2014/01/13

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announced today that the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) has joined the association. The UAIC application was approved by a unanimous vote of the CNIGA Board of Directors at the association’s annual meeting on December 12, 2013. “We are thrilled to welcome the United Auburn Indian Community into the CNIGA family,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “Having a forum for tribal leaders to discuss issues of importance is critical to the protection of tribal government gaming and tribal sovereign rights.” “This year is going to be a significant year in the legislature for Native Americans in California,” said UAIC Chairman Gene Whitehouse. “Joining CNIGA will allow the United Auburn Indian Community to be a part of a unified voice with other gaming tribes in 2014.” The historic Auburn Rancheria is located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills near Auburn, CA. The UAIC operates the successful Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California. The Board of Directors also approved two associate member applications submitted by BIS2 and Indian Land Capital. BIS2 provides visually enabled analytic solutions that offer business insights to casino managers, which allow casinos to adapt to changes in customer behavior to increase profits from gaming and none gaming operations, as well as improving the overall property-wide customer experience. Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC), is an American Indian owned and managed financial institution (CDFI), speculating in providing alternative loan options to Indian nations for tribal land acquisition. “CNIGA welcomes our new members to the association. We look forward to their participation and unique contributions,” said Tucker. “Together, CNIGA and our member tribes will continue our work to preserve and protect tribal sovereign rights now and for generations to come.” Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in San Diego County was unanimously re-elected to serve his third consecutive term as Chairman. Members also unanimously re-elected the association’s treasurer, Dennis Hendricks, who serves as Councilmember for the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians in Tuolumne County. About CNIGA Representing 30 federally recognized tribal governments; CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It serves as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Wirsol Solar Addresses the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Joins as Associate Members

2013/10/30

Wirsol Solar Addresses the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Joins as Associate Members

2013/10/30

Solar energy is a boon to Indian Country as an alternative energy source, reducing costs at Tribal casinos that are burning electricity 24/7, but also developing new technologies to improve life on rural reservations through multiple products that provide energy to areas not served by traditional means. According to Peter Vogel, Vice President of Wirsol Solar, “Solar energy can assist tribes in overcoming many of the challenges to growth both economically and environmentally. With solar, technology has finally found an answer to power rural development from commercial operations to community- residential projects and infrastructure maintenance.” Besides being able to serve communities where energy is limited or supplied by diesel and other fossil fuels, solar can not only be adapted for off grid power, but is healthier, cleaner and definitely cheaper. This was the message Wirsol Solar brought to California tribal governments at a meeting of the California National Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). “Offering cutting edge information to our industry through programs and people that provide a competitive advantage is one of the priorities of our organization,” said Lee Acebedo, Executive Director of CNIGA. “Our solar connection through Wirsol — the 7th leading provider of solar installments in the world– has the bonus of tailoring rural energy solutions to tribal government and residential needs from powering wells to substituting diesel power with clean solar photovoltaic.” “Wirsol, unlike some start-up solar companies or companies learning the business at the clients’ expense, our track record includes over 10 years experience, with 7,000 plus systems installed worldwide and offices in 12 countries,” noted Vogel, adding that the companies’ research and development capacity with 80 plus engineers and technical specialists sets it apart in designing unique solutions. “Reducing costs associated with tribally owned casinos means more revenues can be spent on building strong tribal governments which is what gaming in California is all about,” said Acebedo, adding that tribes are just now rebounding from the economic downturn, showing a 1.45 percent growth in 2012. Tribal gaming has been the only source of income for reservations historically shunted out of the major commercial corridors to lands lacking both resources and access to modern infrastructure, a requirement for running a business. “Having the exclusive right to engage in Las Vegas-style gambling, brought markets to our doorsteps. Locations that would be too remote to compete with other types of businesses,” explained Acebedo. “We are conscious of our obligations as governments to ensure our enterprises are sensitive both to the resources and environment of our tribal communities and our neighbors. Solar is the better, healthier, energy source.” According to Acebedo, one of the drawbacks to solar is the initial financing and investment, a problem the federal government has attempted to address through multiple alternative energy grants to tribal communities. Despite federal support, Acebedo claims that understanding and financing new technologies, like solar, remains a big problem for tribal governments. Contributing to Wirsol’s worldwide presence is the ability to tap financial resources needed to undertake and finance projects of any size. “Funding solar projects is an obstacle and that’s why Wirsol has an entire department dedicated financial specialists to handle project financing,” Vogel points out. Terry Gorton, Wirsol Director of Governmental Affairs and New Business Development, believes the innovation the company brings to alternative energy issues is important. “At Wirsol, unlike other large solar companies, no project is too big or too small. Helping rural communities to finally be able to address their energy needs is very rewarding,” she stated, noting that “Solar is a road to energy independence and that is a big thing today and will be a bigger benefit in the future.” Wirsol Solar, an associate member of CNIGA is an international solar services provider specializing in the planning, financing, installation and maintenance of photovoltaic (PV) systems of all sizes. The CNIGA associate membership program is a valuable and vital part of the organization. In addition to a host of benefits, associate members are essential to CNIGA as partners in the progress of our industry as well as securing growth for the future. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

Membership Continues to Grow for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association

2013/09/04

Membership Continues to Grow for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association

2013/09/04

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announced today that four additional tribes have joined the association. “We are excited to welcome the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and the Middletown Rancheria into the CNIGA family. It is critical for tribes to have an organized forum where issues facing tribal governments can be discussed,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians is very excited to rejoin CNIGA. We look forward to working with Tribal Leaders throughout the State of California to protect our inherent government gaming rights,” said Michael Hunter, Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. “The Middletown Rancheria is pleased to rejoin CNIGA and work with other sovereign nations who share our common goals,” said Middletown Chairman Jose Simon, III. Three of the new member tribes are located in Northern California; The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians operates the Coyote Valley Casino located in the heart of Mendocino County, the Twin Pine Casino & Hotel operated by the Middletown Rancheria is located in Middletown and the Dry Creek Rancheria who operates the River Rock Casino located in Geyserville. The Chemehuevi Tribe, located in Havasu, operates the Havasu Landing Resort & Casino in Southern California. “CNIGA welcomes each of these Tribal Governments back to the association and we look forward to their participation and contributions,” said CNIGA Chairman Daniel J. Tucker. “Together, CNIGA and our member tribes will continue our work to preserve and protect tribal sovereign rights now and for generations to come.” About CNIGA Representing 35 federally recognized tribal governments; CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It serves as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

National Indian Gaming Commission Releases Revenue Figures for Tribal Government Gaming Operations

2013/07/25

National Indian Gaming Commission Releases Revenue Figures for Tribal Government Gaming Operations

2013/07/25

Tribal Government Gaming Revenues for the Western region have increased by 1.45 percent according to a report issued by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Gross gaming revenues (GGR) reached $7 billion in 2012, up from $6.9 billion in 2011. The Western region includes 64 tribal gaming operations in California and Northern Nevada. “California’s tribal governments are proud to contribute to the overall economy of this great state,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “Tribal government gaming operations have seen a slow but steady increase in business and this has translated to increased jobs for all Californians. According to the California Employment Development Department tribal governments currently employ 55,800 Californian’s, an increase of .7% from the previous year.” The NIGC reports that nationwide, “98 Indian gaming operations reported gaming revenue between $10 million and $25 million, 70 Indian gaming operations reported gaming revenue between $3 million and $10 million and 69 Indian gaming operations reported gaming revenue less than $2 million.” “These numbers illustrate that the majority of tribal gaming operations are small to mid-size,” said Tracie Stevens, Chairwoman of the NIGC. “The industry is driven by the demographics of each area. Most tribal gaming operations are in rural parts of the country where jobs are greatly needed for both natives and non-natives alike.” “Much like the rest of the country, California’s tribal governments vary from large to small,” said Tucker. “Through the use of gaming revenues, each of these tribes has been able to build stronger tribal governments, provide infrastructure on their reservations, provide scholarships and healthcare to their members and donate revenue to state and local governments and charities. We are very proud of the positive economic impact tribal gaming has had both on and off the reservation.” About the Report According to the NIGC, “The GGR report is calculated based on independently audited financial statements received by the NIGC through June 20, 2013. Financial statements are submitted by Indian gaming operations in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Gaming revenues represent the net win from gaming activities, which is the difference between gaming receipts and payouts.” A copy of the NIGC’s press release, including charts and graphics can be found at ww.nigc.gov/media. About CNIGA The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

CNIGA Applauds President Obama for Establishing White House Council on Native American Affairs

2013/06/26

CNIGA Applauds President Obama for Establishing White House Council on Native American Affairs

2013/06/26

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) wishes to express our appreciation to President Obama for the Executive Order establishing the White House Council on Native American Affairs. President Obama declared it the policy of the United States to recognize the inherent sovereignty of our Indian nations and tribes, to promote Indian sovereignty and tribal self-government, and to respect treaty rights. President Obama also recognized the historical mistreatment of Indian nations and tribes and how that has hurt our communities. President Obama has made it the official policy of the United States to promote the prosperity of Indian nations and tribes. We look forward to working with the Secretary of the Interior and the new White House Council on Native American Affairs, which will include the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Ag, Commerce, Labor, HHS, HUD, Energy, Education, U.S. Trade Rep, OMB, EPA, SBA, CEQ, and White House Intergovernmental, among others. Chairman Daniel J. Tucker, said, “We worked together with Great Plains, Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, Council of Large Tribes, United South and Eastern Tribes to call for a National Council of Native Nations. President Obama responded to that call with the new White House Council on Native American Affairs. We applaud the excellent leadership that the President has provided for Native Americans!” The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

CNIGA Announces the 18th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference

2013/01/31

CNIGA Announces the 18th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference

2013/01/31

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announces the 18th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) February 5-6th at the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa. The WIGC will feature a daylong conference on Wednesday, February 6th that will include a variety of seminars including Internet poker, an economic forecast for California, tribal-state compact issues, IRS standards, financing, regulation of tribal government gaming, employee wellness, insurance issues, marketing and much more . The conference will be preceded by the WIGC signature golf tournament which will be held at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon on February 5th. “We have developed an agenda filled with seminars for everyone. Whether you are a tribal leader, casino manager, or a regulator, we have a seminar for you,” said CNIGA Chairman Daniel J. Tucker. “We are pleased to have representatives from both the California Gambling Control Commission, the California Bureau of Gambling Control, as well as Chairwoman Tracie Stevens from the National Indian Gaming Commission participating on our regulatory panel. I am also excited to announce that Chairman Robert Martin will be receiving the third annual Anna Sandoval Leadership Award and that IGT will be the recipients of our third annual Pauline Murillo Industry Leader Award.” “We are pleased to again be hosting the WIGC at a tribally owned and operated facility. I would like to thank the Morongo Band of Mission Indians for their continued support and dedication to the Association. For the third year in a row, Morongo has stepped up as the title sponsor of the WIGC. This kind of lasting support is appreciated,” said Tucker. “Without the support of all of our sponsors, this conference would not be possible.” Tucker also added, “CNIGA would like to specifically thank the primary sponsors of the WIGC including the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, IGT, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), Money Centers of American and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.” The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. The Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa is located at 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon CA 92230. Members of the press are asked to check in at the registration counters to obtain press credentials. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Tuesday, February 5 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and Wednesday, February 6 from 8:00 am – 5:00pm. Registration for the conference is $250.

CNIGA Announces Election Results

2013/01/11

CNIGA Announces Election Results

2013/01/11

Newly elected officers of the California Nations Indian Gaming Assoc. (CNIGA) are Steve Stallings, vice chairman; Eric Ramos, secretary; and Northern Californian Tribal representative Doral Bernal and Central California representative Damon Sandoval. They join Chairman Daniel Tucker and Treasurer Dennis Hendricks as the 2013-14 officers of the state’s oldest and largest advocate for economic sovereignty, representing California tribes engaged in gaming enterprises or supportive of gaming initiatives. “We ended last year on a high note with the completion of our research on the economic benefits of tribal gaming, and our ability to report to the people of California that the impact was extremely positive in terms of job creation and funding a network of service and infrastructure improvements both to the tribal governments and neighboring regions,” said Tucker adding that the strong leadership on the executive committee will ensure that CNIGA continues playing a key role as a forum for discussion of state and tribal gaming related issues and as a vehicle for unified initiatives. The economic survey and independent research completed by Beacon Economics, Inc., revealed tribal casinos generated $7.5 billion dollars and 50,000 jobs in California, as well as nearly one half billion in taxes in 2011. According to Tucker, there are significant issues of mutual interest and concern to the state and the tribes on this year’s agenda. They include internet gaming; the restoring the Indian Gaming Reservation Trust Fund, as well as regulatory and taxing issues. Vice Chairman Stallings served previously as CNIGA treasurer and is a member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians (San Diego County); Secretary Ramos was re-elected to his second term and is a member of the Blue Lake Rancheria of the Wiyot, Yurok and Hupa Indians (Humboldt County); Bernal is a member of Karuk Tribe of California (Humboldt County) and Sandoval a member of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (Riverside County). CNIGA Chairman Tucker is chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation (San Diego County) and Treasurer Hendricks is a councilmember of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians (Tuolumne County). The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

Economic Impact Study: Tribal Gaming a Powerful Economic Engine for California, Generating $7.5 Billion for State’s Economy

2012/08/08

Economic Impact Study: Tribal Gaming a Powerful Economic Engine for California, Generating $7.5 Billion for State’s Economy

Study finds that Tribal Government Gaming creates more than 52,000 jobs, nearly half billion in revenues, supports local communities and non-gaming tribes

2012/08/08

Tribal government gaming generates important benefits across California’s economy, according to a new study conducted by Beacon Economics, a leading independent economic research firm. The study, commissioned by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), surveyed gaming and non-gaming tribes across the state, including a cross section of large and small casinos in urban and rural markets with a range of amenities including hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and entertainment venues. The study finds that Indian gaming operations provide significant benefits throughout California’s economy. “California tribes made a promise to California voters: we promised we would provide for our people and land as governments, we would provide jobs for our people and our neighbors, we would be good neighbors sharing responsibility for services like fire and police and environmental protection, as well as supporting non-profits and public entities that contribute to the quality of life in our regions,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “This is our first report card, and I am proud of it. We have done well for our people, our neighbors, local and state governments and California taxpayers, as well as providing financial assistance for 71 other tribes to assist them in building a foundation for economic independence.” “Our analysis shows that California tribal government gaming has a $7.5 billion annual impact and supports more than fifty-two thousand jobs for state residents,” said Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics. “The benefits are broad-based and state-wide: including tribes and tribal members, non-tribal members, local economies and state and local government budgets. As today’s economy improves and discretionary spending rises, the magnitude of these effects can be expected to grow.” Among the study’s key findings: Tribal gaming generates $7.5 billion for California’s Economy: In 2010 alone, $7.5 billion in economic activity was supported by Indian gaming operations. Of that amount, more than half ($3.9 billion) was generated outside of direct spending from the gaming operations. That means that businesses throughout California’s economy — the vast majority of which are non-tribal — are being buoyed by Tribal gaming. California tribal gaming creates more than fifty-two thousand jobs and $2.7 billion in income for Californians: The Beacon analysis concludes that tribal government gaming is an increasingly important pillar of job creation in California, supporting more than 52,000 good-paying jobs across the state and generating over $2.7 billion in income. The study estimates that upwards of 80% of casino employees are non-tribal members, and finds that many tribal gaming jobs are filled by lower-skilled workers, those hurt most by the economic downturn. Tribal gaming generates $467 million in revenues supporting essential local and state services: According to the study, tribal government gaming operations generate $467 million in state and local revenues, and non-gaming operations provide an additional $47 million in state and local revenues. Tribal government gaming has provided $818 million in critical support to non-gaming tribes: Revenue generated by tribal gaming provides essential support to non-gaming tribes, funding a range of services including education, health care, and housing. Non-gaming tribes receive up to $1.1 million annually from the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund. To date, the analysis shows that $818 million has been distributed to help reduce the reliance of non-gaming tribes on state and local governments. California gaming tribes foster safe and healthy communities, active philanthropic giving: Many California gaming tribes sponsor police and fire departments to relieve strained county officials and protect tribal and non-tribal community members, according to the report. Tribal gaming revenues also support local health and dental clinics for tribal and non-tribal residents in critical areas where these services are not readily available. The study also reports that gaming tribes often serve as the most important sources of philanthropic giving in their surrounding communities. A fact sheet summarizing the study’s findings and the study in its entirety can be viewed here: www.cniga.com. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) founded in 1988, is non-profit organization comprised of 33 federally recognized tribal governments. Dedicated to the purpose of protecting the inherent sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands, it acts as the planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communication efforts on behalf of its members. It also serves as an industry forum for information and resources. Beacon Economics LLC is home to some of California’s leading economic researchers and consultants. The firm’s internationally recognized forecasters were among the first and most accurate predictors of the U.S. mortgage meltdown– and among a relative handful to correctly calculate the depth and breadth of the financial and economic crises that followed. Beacon Economics’ clients range from the California State Controller to the Natural Resources Defense Fund to one of Wall Street’s most successful hedge funds.

State Board of Education Announced Plans to Establish an American Indian Advisory Commission

2011/05/11

State Board of Education Announced Plans to Establish an American Indian Advisory Commission

2011/05/11

The State Board of Education (SBE) announced plans to begin the work to establish the American Indian Advisory Commission (AIAC). The SBE discussed the need to establish this commission to help better understand the issues concerning the academic progress that exists between American Indian students and their counterparts. There are over 44,000 American Indian students in California’s K-12 schools. According to the 2010 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program results, only 45 percent of American Indian students scored proficient and above in the English language arts section and only 34 percent of American Indian students scored proficient or above in the mathematics portion of the examination. “Today is a historical day and the board has sent a strong statement that it is committed to finding ways to reduce the persistent lack of academic achievement that exists between American Indian students and their counterparts,” said James Ramos, SBE Board Member. The AIAC will be charged with identifying strategies for advancing academic achievement; tracking federal and state funds that are allocated to support American Indian students; and developing curriculum that respects American Indian culture that provides an accurate account of California history that highlight the contributions of American Indians to California’s society today. “I am very appreciative of the many letters of support from the American Indian communities of California,” said Ramos President Michael Kirst assigned Member Ramos as the board liaison to work with SBE and California Department of Education staff to finalize the charge and scope of work for the advisory commission. Contact Regina Wilson 916.319.0693

California Tribal Governments to Study Economic Impact on State’s Economy

2011/03/23

California Tribal Governments to Study Economic Impact on State’s Economy

2011/03/23

California’s American Indian Tribes have a positive story to tell. To identify how much tribes contribute to the state’s economy, a coalition of tribal organizations have a hired a prominent California research firm—Beacon Economics—to analyze the overall economic impact.
The economic impact study will examine a wide variety of areas including jobs generated in tribally owned casinos and other businesses, tribal government programs, expenditures going to purchase goods and services from local businesses and vendors, as well as public safety services, environmental, transportation and charitable donations that benefit neighboring non-Indian communities. Tribes engaged in larger gaming operations also share profits with 71 other tribes with no gaming or minimal operations.
“This study is an important undertaking by tribal governments,” said Daniel J. Tucker, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). “It’s significant that CNIGA, the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), and the California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG) are participating, as it will provide a more complete picture of how tribal economic development and self-sufficiency are benefiting California taxpayers.”
“Tribes are proud of what we have accomplished over the past twenty years as a result of gaming,” said Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN). “When voters affirmed our right to offer gaming, they gave us the opportunity to pull our communities out of abject poverty. We committed to making a difference for all California tribes and contributing to California’s economy in a meaningful way.”
“Today, many of the statewide and local benefits resulting from gaming are not recognized, because they have not been recently studied. It’s time for a report card to let Californians know there has been a return on their support,” Tucker explained.
Regarding the choice of an economic consultant, Tucker noted, “There is no better, more qualified or credible firm than Beacon Economics. In these times, when most people do not trust what they hear or read, we want a study that is accurate, factual, quantifiable, and credible. We believe we have commissioned the right people to do the job.”
Beacon Economics’ Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg agrees that it is high time for a serious analysis of tribal gaming’s economic impacts on the state. “California’s tribal casinos have been a major part of our landscape for over a decade and it’s important to apply sound research methods to identify the true economic impacts these growing enterprises have on the state,” he said.
Tucker added, “We know tribes are responsible for generating billions of direct and indirect dollars to our state’s economy through jobs, benefits, taxes, and by supplementing local government services such as education, police and fire, transportation, and other off reservation benefits such as infrastructure and environmental improvements
Valbuena continued, “Even with the economic downturn that has affected the gaming industry, just as it has the rest of the state, tribes are continuing to make substantial economic contributions in their local communities.”
Taxpayer relief, according to Valbuena, is an additional factor that has accompanied the development of tribal enterprises. “It’s not always recognized that as more tribes become increasingly financially able to provide for our own people and employ large numbers of non-Indians, the taxpayers’ burden of unemployment, health care and welfare costs are reduced,” she said.
Valbuena noted that the economic information gathered from the tribes would be voluntary. “We are urging every federally recognized California tribal governments to participate. While neighbors of Indian communities may be aware of the benefits they receive from tribes, statewide the total impact is unknown.
“Even tribes without gaming are contributing to the state’s economy,” said Mark Romero, Chairman of the California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG) “They are more self-reliant and circulating money, thanks, in part, to revenue, they receive from the gaming tribes, and their own employment and community improvements.
“Even the many impoverished tribes with no reservation businesses contribute to their community when they spend their share of Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Fund in their local community for essential goods and services,” he explained. Purchases include health and dental care premiums, fuel, clothing, food, building materials and vehicles.
CATG Board Treasurer Arch Super, Chairman of the Karuk Tribe of California, is eager
for objective proof that tribal economic development benefits communities surrounding Indian
reservations. “Most California tribes occupy remote reservation lands that have poor roads and utilities. Business and jobs are not created without basic infrastructure. I believe the study will show that in cases where businesses have succeeded on reservations the result is a transfer of significant
revenues to the surrounding community and many new jobs. Tax policy changes that encourage investments in tribal infrastructure need to be backed by hard data.”
Contributing to the California Tribal Nations Economic Impact Study are the members of the state’s most prominent and largest tribal associations. They include the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), and the California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG).
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) founded in 1988, is non-profit organization comprised of 26 federally recognized tribal governments. Dedicated to the purpose of protecting the inherent sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands, it acts as planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communication efforts on behalf of its members. It also serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) is an intergovernmental association of 10 federally recognized tribal governments throughout Southern California. Its members are pioneers in the Indian gaming industry and consistently take the lead on statewide issues affecting tribal governments.
California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG) is the state-wide association of California tribes. CATG promotes understanding of tribal self-government, self-determination, and economic interests consistent with the common bonds of culture, history, trade, and association among all California tribes. CATG activities strengthen tribal government relations with the federal and state government, preserve tribal lands and resources, protect tribal reserved rights, and build tribal economies, each a separate sovereign government involved in providing for the health, safety, and welfare of its tribal members. Its mission is to protect and nurture the sovereign rights of California tribes and provide a dialogue between tribes themselves, the state of California, and the federal government.
Beacon Economics LLC is home to some of California’s leading economic researchers and consultants. The firm’s internationally recognized forecasters were among the first and most accurate predictors of the U.S. mortgage meltdown– and among a relative handful to correctly calculate the depth and breadth of the financial and economic crises that followed. Beacon Economic’s clients range from the California State Controller to the Natural Resources Defense Fund to one of Wall Street’s most successful hedge funds.

IGT and CNIGA EDC Enter Partnership for Increased Placement of Wide Area Progressive/Contribution Games

2011/03/17

IGT and CNIGA EDC Enter Partnership for Increased Placement of Wide Area Progressive/Contribution Games

2011/03/17

International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT), a global leader in creating the major games that players love and the systems that improve the player experience, announced today that the Company has formalized an agreement with the California Nations Indian Gaming Association Economic Development Corporation LLC (CNIGA EDC LLC). This mutually beneficial agreement provides CNIGA EDC LLC with monetary awards for increases in the number of IGT Wide Area Progressive/Contribution (WAP/Contribution) games in use at the casinos of CNIGA member tribes.
“IGT is proud of our history of support for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association,” said Eric Tom, chief operating officer for IGT. “We deeply value our relationship with CNIGA EDC LLC as well as CNIGA’s member tribes, and this agreement will provide substantial support to CNIGA EDC LLC at levels not offered by any other gaming manufacturer. In addition, this partnership truly speaks to IGT’s longstanding commitment to tribal efforts and tribal sovereignty.”
In the agreement, IGT will provide financial support to CNIGA EDC LLC based on growth of the number of IGT WAP/Contribution games at the casinos of CNIGA member tribes. CNIGA EDC LLC will be rewarded as its member tribes add incremental IGT WAP/Contribution games to their casino floors. As a commitment to continuing IGT’s longstanding relationship with CNIGA EDC LLC and CNIGA and to help further their goals, the substantial monetary awards provided by IGT for incremental placement of WAP/Contribution games will be invested or spent in ways fully determined by CNIGA EDC LLC.
“We see this joint venture with IGT as truly beneficial for all parties,” said Daniel J. Tucker, chairman for CNIGA. “IGT’s long history of proven themes and exciting new games provides our tribal members with an unsurpassed list of new and popular game options. Through this agreement, we will be able to help our tribal members provide their players with the very best gaming experiences, and at the same time, generate revenue that will assist in our ongoing work to preserve and protect the inherent sovereign rights of Indian tribes.”
IGT will provide CNIGA member tribes with access to its long list of WAP/Contribution games available now and in the future. These games are designed to assist CNIGA EDC LLC and its member tribes with their revenue needs. Included in the WAP/Contribution games choices are Wheel of Fortune® Secret Spins™, Megabucks® Wild Sapphires™, and Star Wars™ Droid™ Hunt, as well as IGT’s impressive Center Stage Series with entertaining games such as American Idol® and Wheel of Fortune® Triple Spin™, to name a few.
About CNIGA
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), founded in 1988, is a non-profit organization comprised of federally-recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources. Visit www.CNIGA.com for more information.
About IGT
International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) is a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of gaming machines and systems products, as well as online and mobile gaming solutions for regulated markets. More information about IGT is available at www.IGT.com or follow IGT on Twitter at @IGTNews or Facebook at www.facebook.com/IGT.
Contacts:
Jaclyn March Shelle Murach
IGT Public Relations IGT Public Relations
775-448-8377 775-448-0221
Jaclyn.March@IGT.com Shelle.Murach@IGT.com

First California Native American Appointed to the California State Board of Education

2011/01/11

First California Native American Appointed to the California State Board of Education

2011/01/11

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is proud to announce the appointment of James Ramos, Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, to the California State Board of Education, by Governor Jerry Brown. Chairman Ramos is the first California Native American to be appointed to this Board.
“The appointment of Chairman Ramos signifies an important milestone for California tribal people,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “I am hopeful that this is the beginning of increased involvement by tribal people in these important local, state and federal positions.”
The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body of the California Department of Education. The Board sets state-wide, K-12 education policy in areas of standards, instructional materials, assessment, and accountability.
“I find it an honor to be appointed by Governor Brown to this prestigious board and will work hard to ensure a quality education is accessible for all Californians,” said Chairman James Ramos.
Chairman Ramos will be sworn in on Wednesday, January 12th at 9:00 am in Sacramento.
Ramos has served as the Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for the last three years. He has an additional year remaining in his term. Recently Ramos was re-elected to a second term for the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees, where he was the top vote getter. Ramos was appointed by Gov Schwarzenegger in January 2008 to the Native American Heritage Commission, for which he currently serves as chairman.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of 24 federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

Eclipse Gaming Systems Signs Agreement To Provide Exclusive

2010/10/19

Eclipse Gaming Systems Signs Agreement To Provide Exclusive

2010/10/19

Eclipse Gaming Systems, LLC and CNIGA-EDC, a subsidiary of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association are pleased to announce the signing of a Marketing Cooperation Agreement whereby Eclipse becomes the exclusive provider of Class II Wide Area Progressive products to CNIGA-EDC, a for profit subsidiary of CNIGA.
In the agreement, Eclipse Gaming Systems, based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has agreed to provide a new linked Wide Area Progressive product to all 29 members of CNIGA in a profit sharing arrangement with CNIGA-EDC. Some of the proceeds from Eclipse’s new progressive product for CNIGA-EDC, named “California Heat”, will be used to help the CNIGA member tribes fund the operations of CNIGA.
The new WAP system developed by Eclipse includes Eclipse’s proprietary Player Advantage(sm) system giving players a unique multi-denominational/multi-tier jackpot in a Wide Area Progressive game.
“CNIGA is dedicated to preserving and protecting the inherent sovereign right of tribes to have gaming on our own lands. We are pleased to be able to partner with Eclipse Gaming to help protect an industry that is beneficial to tribal communities as well as the California economy,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “Revenues generated through the CNIGA wide area progressive will be used to fund the association’s ongoing efforts, which in turn will benefit all segments of the industry.”
“We look forward to working together with CNIGA and all of its members in the deployment and operation of this new Class 2 WAP product”, commented Jack Saltiel, CEO of Eclipse. “It is just as exciting for us to be able to help CNIGA in their economic goals as well as to deploy this new product for Eclipse.”
For more information, please contact Bob Drew, President, Eclipse Gaming Systems @ wap@eclipsegamingsystems.com or call 775-287-4550

PREMIER GAMING SOLUTIONS SELECTED BY CNIGA

2010/04/01

PREMIER GAMING SOLUTIONS SELECTED BY CNIGA

PREMIER GAMING SOLUTIONS SELECTED BY CNIGA TO DEVELOP A UNIQUE STATEWIDE PROGRESSIVE JACKPOT GAME SPECIFICALLY FOR CALIFORNIA TRIBAL CASINOS

2010/04/01

In an innovative move designed to augment their continuing efforts to strengthen the tribal gaming industry, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) will partner with Premier Gaming Solutions to design and develop a statewide Wide Area Progressive (WAP) jackpot game for its member casinos.
“CNIGA is dedicated to preserving and protecting the inherent sovereign right of tribes to have gaming on our own lands,” said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “Revenues generated through the CNIGA wide area progressive will be used to fund the association’s ongoing efforts, which in turn will benefit all segments of the industry.”
California C-Notes is Premier’s title for the CNIGA game, which will be part of a WAP program developed by CNIGA to provide additional value to their member tribes. Fees generated by this program will be used to offset CNIGA membership dues and other expenses.
“The genesis of this project was a desire by CNIGA to find an additional source of revenue for member tribes,” said Mark Nizdil, Chairman and CEO of Premier. “As a game developer and manufacturer, we’ve stood side-by-side with our tribal partners in growing the gaming industry in the state.
“Premier is the only manufacturer that focuses exclusively on California, supplying unique and popular slot games specifically for the state’s tribal casino market,” Nizdil continued. “When we began our discussions with CNIGA on the WAP, there was no doubt that we could develop a quality game that would not only support the industry as a revenue source, but also provide an exciting gaming experience that would be popular with their customers.”
The target goal is for 250 machines statewide, which it is estimated will generate almost $6 million in annual run-rate revenue.
With Tribal-State Gaming Compacts in place with 68 tribes, and a total of 61 casinos operated by 60 tribes, there is a tremendous opportunity to generate more revenue with a unique WAP such as C-Notes. Slots continue to be the most popular casino game, with over 70,000 slots in the state.
“Tribal governments are proud of the employment growth and the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and economic development being generated from our government gaming activities,” said Tucker. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Premier to help protect an industry that is so beneficial to the California economy.”
Premier has selected BetStone Ltd from Dublin, Ireland as its WAP systems partner. BetStone is the world’s leading provider of Server Based Gaming and networked gaming systems to casino operators globally.
“We are thrilled to be part of this exciting opportunity,” said Basil Bielich, Director of BetStone. “We look forward to demonstrating our joint capability with Premier to make a difference in tribal gaming.”
Premier Gaming Solutions is a California-based developer, manufacturer and marketer of slot machines and related services and systems, focusing exclusively on the California tribal Gaming market.

CNIGA Announces the 15th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference

2010/01/06

CNIGA Announces the 15th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference

2010/01/06

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announces the 15th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference January 12th and 13th at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
This year seminars will include discussions in several fields including internet gaming, the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund, Class II and Class III gaming, tribal economic diversification and financial investing. Each panel will feature multiple experts in each respective field offering diverse perspectives including Assemblyman Joe Coto (D- San Jose) Chairman of the Governmental Organization Committee who will discuss the future of the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund.
Reports from Sacramento and Washington, DC will also take place, and will feature both policy makers and those familiar with the issues at both the state and federal level.
The WIGC will feature a daylong regulatory conference on Tuesday, January 12th that will include discussions on tribal Minimum Internal Control Standards, Compliance, and oversight regulation by the State and Federal governments. Panelists will include representatives from tribal, state and federal gaming commissions and regulatory agencies.
Also scheduled on January 12th, is the WIGC signature golf tournament which will be held at Agua Caliente’s Indian Canyons Golf Resort.
“CNIGA is especially thankful to our sponsors for stepping up their support at this critical time in the history of tribal government gaming and demonstrating a willingness to build partnerships for the future in Indian country,” says CNIGA Chairman Daniel J. Tucker. “These partnerships are critical to protect the sovereign rights of California tribes to conduct gaming on our own lands.”
Tucker also added, “CNIGA would like to specifically thank the primary sponsors of the WIGC including the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, The PENTA Building Group, and Aristocrat Technologies.”
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA. Members of the press are asked to check in at the registration counters to obtain press credentials. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Tuesday, January 12 and Wednesday, January 13 from 9:00 am – 4:00pm. Registration for the conference is free.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Elects New Chairman And Treasurer

2009/12/11

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Elects New Chairman And Treasurer

2009/12/11

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), the largest tribal gaming association in the state, announced today the election of Daniel J. Tucker to the position of chairman and Steve Stallings to the position of the organization’s treasurer.
Leon Benner, from the Redding Rancheria was reelected Eastern Representative and Cody Martinez, Treasurer of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, was elected as Southern Representative.
Chairman Tucker, who is also the chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, previously served as chairman of CNIGA between 1995 and 2001. He was at the helm during the organization’s formative years and led it through many of tribal gaming’s most significant milestones in California including the Proposition 5 and 1A campaigns and the original round of compacting with the state in 1999 in which 61 tribes signed agreements.
“I am honored to again serve as the chairman of CNIGA,” said Tucker. “I look forward to working with all tribes in California to help safeguard the sovereign right of tribes to conduct gaming on our lands.”
“I would also like to acknowledge the good work done by Anthony Miranda during his six year term as Chairman of the organization. Miranda’s hard work and dedication steered the organization through a significant developmental phase and helped create prosperity throughout Indian Country.”
During Tucker’s tenure as Sycuan’s chairman the tribe has developed the Sycuan resort into a leading destination resort, attracting visitors throughout the country. This success has allowed the Sycuan tribe to diversify their tribal economy and social educational programs. The tribe is also well-known in the San Diego area for their multiple charitable programs.
Stallings, a tribal council member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, brings a wealth of experience to the CNIGA treasurer’s position. He is currently the senior vice-president and Director of the Native American Banking Services group for Wells Fargo.
“I am honored to have been elected the CNIGA treasurer,” said Stallings. “I intend to use my experience in the financial services sector to help strengthen the organization.”
Stallings replaces Dennis Hendricks of Tuolumne who did not seek reelection.
Both Chairman Tucker and Treasurer Stallings were elected to two-year terms.
Founded in 1988, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to conduct gaming on their lands. Tribal government gaming operations currently employ more than 58,000 Californian’s.

California Tribes Draw Much Needed Gaming Device Licenses

2009/10/05

California Tribes Draw Much Needed Gaming Device Licenses

2009/10/05

Following years of ongoing litigation, today the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) conducted a gaming device license draw which issued a total of 3,547 licenses to eleven tribes throughout the state.
Last week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for today’s draw when they denied the State’s request for an emergency stay of a lower court’s order that the draw proceed.
“CNIGA is pleased that these long overdue licenses have been released,” said Association Chairman Anthony Miranda. “CNIGA and our member tribes have worked diligently to ensure that the terms of the compact, negotiated in 1999 between 61 tribal governments and the State of California, be honored. Today is a great day for the 41 tribes who still operate casinos under the original 1999 compact.”
All license fees generated will be paid into the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF). This revenue-sharing program, the first of its kind in the nation, was launched by California gaming tribes to help non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming.
“During this tough economic time we are pleased to know that these licenses will help to produce additional income for the RSTF, will generate additional jobs within the casinos, and will help to stimulate local economies throughout the State,” said Chairman Miranda.

TribalNet is LinkedIn

2009/06/04

TribalNet is LinkedIn

2009/06/04

Tribal executives and IT leaders can now network with others in their field by joining the TribalNet online community group on the professional network, LinkedIn. TribalNet has been working for over 10 years to link together tribes and technology through many avenues including an annual conference, webinars and membership services.
“During our 2008 conference roundtable session, attendees expressed an interest in networking with one another year-round,” said Shannon Bouschor, TribalNet Director & Coordinator. “They find the interaction they have with one another at the conference extremely beneficial and have expressed that this is one of the most valuable attributes of the TribalNet conference; it’s why it’s unique compared to other events in the industry. Being a part of our LinkedIn group will allow industry professionals to easily connect with each other in order to stimulate discussions, celebrate successes, share challenges and solutions while offering each other advice year round.”
The LinkedIn network allows people to connect and collaborate with qualified professionals in the same unique industry. The TribalNet organization started over a decade ago with this same foundation through the vision of TribalNet founder and chairman of the advisory boards, Michael Day. The newly formed LinkedIn group echoes the core of the TribalNet organization and was exclusively created for those involved in making decisions with technology at tribes. “Our LinkedIn group is exclusive to IT leaders, staff, general managers, tribal planners, executive directors, tribal council and anyone else at a tribal organization who is involved in making decisions in technology,” said Bouschor. “Maintaining the group’s specific membership criteria will be extremely beneficial to all who join.”
The most recent discussion within the online community asks what main IT projects or leadership focus do members have planned for 2009. Some of the discussions included the following excerpts:
• Our main focus will be re-visiting the technology we implemented over the last couple of years. We will be re-evaluating what we have and making sure we are getting the most out of our investments.
• We have just finished implementing a document imaging solution for our health clinic and services.
• Biggest projects are the reconfiguration of the core network at the Casino side and the design of the Hotel infrastructure. Researching wireless solutions and guest services connectivity.
• We are opening a new wing to our hotel, a day spa, and a buffet restaurant, so most of my major projects revolve around that. Everything else is all about doing more with less and prioritizing spending.
• We are changing how we do business and how our investments now will impact the future expansion of programs, enterprises, and member services.
Upcoming discussions are on the horizon while regular news alerts will include notices on industry events, job posting across the nation as well as important news specific to the Native American gaming and government technology industry. To join the TribalNet group on LinkedIn, go to the LinkedIn website at www.linkedin.com, search groups for “TribalNet online community” and request to join. When approved you will be notified and welcomed to the group.
TribalNet is an organization with the goal of bringing technology and tribes together by offering various levels of membership services, online webinars, news, consulting services as well as an annual conference that brings together this unique industry. This year’s 10th annual conference will be held October 5- October 8, 2009 at the Suncoast Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Visit www.tribalnetonline for more information.
Contact: Michelle Bouschor, publicrelations@tribalnetonline.com

Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians Joins the California Nations Indian Gaming Association

2009/05/29

Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians Joins the California Nations Indian Gaming Association

2009/05/29

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announced today that the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians has rejoined the organization.
“Rincon is very pleased to rejoin CNIGA,” said Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti. “CNIGA’s proven track record of protecting tribal sovereignty and economic development supports our tribal goals and vision. Rincon looks forward to partnering with CNIGA to ensure tribal gaming rights and protections for future generations.”
The northern San Diego County-based tribe operates the Harrah’s Rincon casino near the town of Valley Center which features a 21-story hotel tower as well as a spa and several restaurants.
“CNIGA welcomes the Rincon Tribal Government back to the association and we look forward to their participation and contributions,” said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda, “Together, CNIGA and our member tribes will continue our work to preserve and protect tribal sovereign rights now and for generations to come.”
About CNIGA
Representing 32 federally recognized tribal governments; CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It serves as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Announces the 14th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference

2008/12/23

CNIGA Announces the 14th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference

2008/12/23

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announces the 14th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference January 14th and 15th at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
Green development, federal energy and tax policies, state regulation, the Special Distribution Fund, and Class II gaming are among the topics slated for panel discussion featuring several top experts in each respective field.
The WIGC will also feature a state-of-the-art trade show that features exhibitors showing the latest innovations from leaders in the gaming industry. A cash giveaway, totaling $23,000 will take place during the hours of the trade show. One thousand dollars will be given away every hour on the hour. A special giveaway will take place at the end of each day at 5PM, starting with a $5,000 prize at the close of the trade show on Wednesday, doubling to $10,000 on Thursday.
Reports from Sacramento and Washington, DC will also take place, and will feature both policy makers and those familiar with the issues at both the state and federal level, including California State Senator Rod Wright, chairman of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, and his committee chair counterpart in the state assembly, Assemblyman Curren Price as well as National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr..
A golf tournament will precede the conference on January 13th at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. CNIGA is governed by an elected Executive Board whose current members are; Anthony Miranda, chairman, Allen Lawson, vice-chairman, Eric Ramos, secretary, Dennis Hendricks, treasurer, Don Arnold, northern area representative, Leon Benner, eastern area representative, Mark Romero, southern area representative, and the newest addition to the board, Damon Sandoval, central area representative.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is the title sponsor of the conference.
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA. Members of the press should check in at the registration counters to obtain press credentials. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Wednesday, January 14 & Thursday, January 15.

CNIGA Grateful to Voters for Supporting Props 94-97

2008/02/06

CNIGA Grateful to Voters for Supporting Props 94-97

2008/02/06

The member tribes of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) are pleased that voters once again stood with California’s tribal governments and supported Propositions 94-97.
“We are extremely grateful that voters rejected this effort by outside third parties who have their own financial and political agendas,” said Anthony Miranda, chair of the association. “Props 94-97 were a direct assault on the sovereign right of all tribal governments throughout the country to negotiate gaming compacts on a government-to-government basis as outlined in federal law.”
At its August, 2007 membership meeting the association voted unanimously to support Props 94-97. While it is CNIGA policy not to get involved in individual compacts or negotiations, the organization took a position on this matter because the compacts were already approved by the governor, the legislature, and the tribes involved. Overturning compacts that have gone through the appropriate process would have grave consequences for all tribes.
“CNIGA is eager to put this latest attack behind us and for tribes to continue on the road to self-reliance. We hope that all tribes, gaming and non-gaming, are able to economically diversify their economies through gaming and to negotiate compacts the way IGRA intended – in a respectful government-to-government environment,” Miranda said
About CNIGA
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is the largest regional Indian gaming association in the country. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of all Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Thirteenth Annual WIGC to Focus on Cutting Edge Issues

2008/01/31

Thirteenth Annual WIGC to Focus on Cutting Edge Issues

2008/01/31

Gaming regulation, political forecasts, economic diversification and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) will be among the issues discussed at the 13th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC), February 12-14, at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
The event is produced by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, a non-profit association of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is the title sponsor of the conference.
Exhibits featuring the latest gaming industry technology will be on display for tribal leaders and gaming professionals. More than 100 exhibitors are expected to participate in this year’s event.
Seminars will focus on many cutting edge issues surrounding tribal government gaming. CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda will deliver the 5th annual “State of the Tribal Nations” address Wednesday morning, February 13.
Immediately following the address, CNIGA past and present Chairpersons will, for the first time in the history of the association, convene on one stage to discuss their experience with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which was approved by the United States Congress twenty years ago.
Additional seminars will include topics relating to the Internal Revenue Service Secrecy Act, employee background checks, financial audits, employee insurance benefits, problem and pathological gambling, a panel discussion given by the National Indian Gaming Commission, Interior’s new commutable distance test for off reservation gaming and the Washington DC and Sacramento political forecasts for 2008.
Panelists for the political report will include local Senator Jim Battin (La Quinta) and Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (Cathedral City) and Chair of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, Senator Dean Florez (Shafter) as well as Ernie Stevens, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association.
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA. Members of the press should check in at the registration counters to obtain press credentials. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Wednesday, February 12 & Thursday, February 13.

Anthony Miranda Re-elected CNIGA Chairman

2007/12/11

Anthony Miranda Re-elected CNIGA Chairman

2007/12/11

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announced today that the membership unanimously reelected Anthony Miranda as chairman for a third two-year term.
Miranda, a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, has devoted almost two decades of his life to bringing economic development to tribal reservations through gaming enterprises. A recognized expert in the industry, Miranda is regularly invited to address forums by the Global Gaming Expo, the National Indian Gaming Association, the Nevada Society of CPAs and other gaming related organizations, trade shows and seminars.
“It is an honor to once again be elected chairman of the largest and oldest regional gaming association in the United States,” said Miranda, “I am humbled by the overwhelming support of California’s tribal leaders and look forward to the continued challenge to protect gaming rights for tribal governments.”
Citing his never-ending dedication to the preservation of tribal sovereign rights, Miranda was presented with gifts of appreciation by the Redding Rancheria and the Ione Band of Miwok Indians.
Dennis Hendricks, of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, was also unanimously reelected to the treasurer’s position for a second term. Hendricks had previously served two terms as chairman of his tribe, as well as serving as the Chairman of the Tuolumne Economic Development Committee.
Additionally, Eric Ramos of the Blue Lake Rancheria in Humboldt County, was elected to the secretary position in a special election. Ramos is currently the President of Business Operations for the Blue Lake Rancheria and had spent several years previously working in the private sector.

CNIGA Votes Unanimously to Oppose Efforts to Overturn Compacts

2007/08/21

CNIGA Votes Unanimously to Oppose Efforts to Overturn Compacts

2007/08/21

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), the largest regional Indian gaming association in the country, has unanimously voted to support four Southern California tribes’ and oppose any efforts to overturn the compacts they negotiated with the State of California.
The action came at a full meeting of the association, 35 with gaming and 30 non-gaming tribes, following efforts to overturn the compacts through four referenda petitions proposed for the February ballot. The campaign to overturn the compacts is sponsored by a labor union, a Bay Area land developer that owns two race tracks and one Southern California and one Northern California tribe.
The compacts were signed with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
“The efforts by outside third parties who have their own financial or political agendas is a direct challenge to the future of the Indian gaming industry and all California tribes, whether they have gaming operations or not,” said Anthony Miranda, chair of the organization.
“CNIGA views these efforts as a direct assault on the sovereign right of all tribal governments throughout the country to negotiate gaming compacts on a government-to-government basis.”
All four compacts were successfully negotiated with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and ratified by both houses of the Legislature this summer.
Miranda said that while it is CNIGA policy not to get involved in individual compacts or negotiations, the organization took a position on this matter because the compacts were already approved and overturning them would hurt all tribes, particularly poorer tribes.
The compact amendments call for the tribes to pay $9 million annually into the state’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund which provides money to non-gaming tribes. The $9 million is more than double what the four tribes currently pay into the fund.
“I personally urge Californians who are approached to sign petitions seeking to overturn these compacts to reject those efforts and support the tribes’ increased payments to the state for vitally needed services,” Miranda said. “If these compacts are overturned it will remove hundreds of millions of dollars from the 2007-2008 budget awaiting state Senate approval.
About CNIGA
Representing 65 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the oldest and largest tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Names Leon Acebedo Executive Director

2007/08/20

CNIGA Names Leon Acebedo Executive Director

2007/08/20

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announced today that the membership has selected Leon Acebedo as the organization’s new executive director.
“After an exhaustive search, we concluded that Mr. Acebedo was the best candidate for the position. We look forward to putting Mr. Acebedo’s extensive experience and professionalism to work as CNIGA continues its mission of protecting the right of tribal governments to conduct gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands,” said Anthony Miranda, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
As executive director, Mr. Acebedo will be responsible for the overall management and implementation of the policies and programs established by the CNIGA membership and executive committee.
In addition to recently serving as chairman of the Jamul Indian Village, Mr. Acebedo has a wide and varied resume. A Vietnam veteran, he attended California Lutheran and Kansas State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He previously worked with the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community where he oversaw the tribe’s behavioral and mental health programs. He later worked with the State of Arizona’s Department of Health as a tribal liaison. Before assuming the chairmanship of his own tribe, Mr. Acebedo served as tribal administrator with the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians.
“I am honored to have been selected for the position of executive director. I am excited by the opportunity to be of service to the member tribes of CNIGA. I am looking forward to assisting tribal leadership and welcome the chance to work through the issues and challenges facing Indian gaming,” said Acebedo.
About CNIGA
Representing 65 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Extends Thanks and Congratulations to Tribal Gaming Commissions

2007/06/01

CNIGA Extends Thanks and Congratulations to Tribal Gaming Commissions

2007/06/01

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) would like to extend our thanks and congratulations to the Agua Caliente, Morongo, Sycuan, Barona and Rumsey tribal gaming commissions for working with the federal government to investigate and uncover a specific criminal activity ring targeting tribal casinos.
“The chain of events that led to the apprehension of these criminals demonstrate very clearly that the MICS (minimum internal control standards) that are currently in place at tribal casinos work and work well,” said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda.
Additionally, the tribal regulators and the federal government shared evidence with other officials in the state of Washington who were able to uncover further crimes and apprehend those criminals.
Crimes at tribal casinos are federal crimes and the perpetrators of these acts will be punished under the fullest extent of the federal law.
About CNIGA
Representing 66 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the oldest and largest tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA CHAIRMAN ANTHONY MIRANDA GIVES STATE OF TRIBAL NATIONS ADDRESS AT WESTERN INDIAN GAMING CONFERENCE

2007/01/17

CNIGA CHAIRMAN ANTHONY MIRANDA GIVES STATE OF TRIBAL NATIONS ADDRESS AT WESTERN INDIAN GAMING CONFERENCE

2007/01/17

A crowd of over six hundred comprised of tribal leaders and other assorted guests gathered at the Pechanga Resort & Casino for the 12th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference to watch California Nations Indian Gaming Association Chairman Anthony Miranda give the annual State of the Tribal Nations Address.
“You can be proud that our industry- which you built- employs more than 56,000 Californians. You can be proud that Indian gaming is bringing hope and opportunity to tens of thousands across the state,” said Chairman Miranda during the Address.
Chairman Miranda listed the tribal accomplishments over the past year while also cautioning that tribes still have a difficult time ahead before all of California’s tribal nations can realize the promise of self-reliance.
Among the tribal accomplishments of the past year that Chairman Miranda outlined in the address was the opening of dialogue with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which resulted in a commitment to create a tribal liaison in the governor’s office. Other accomplishments include tribes joining forces with the state’s business and labor communities to approve infrastructure bonds. On the federal level, Miranda noted the joint effort with the National Indian Gaming Association to block attempts to amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Miranda issued five initiatives for the coming year:
1. Alluding to the efforts of President Franklin Roosevelt to ease economic disparities, Miranda issued a challenge to extend economic benefits to all California Indians.
2. Miranda also asked for the “members of CNIGA to create an Economic Development Task Force in the coming weeks composed of representatives from academia, business and government to come up with recommendations to improve the economic conditions of tribes in California.”
3. Ensure that the promise of revenue sharing with non-gaming tribes continues to be fulfilled and is backfilled in case of a shortfall.
4. Address the issue of problem gaming in a comprehensive manner, with all segments, and not just Indian gaming, at the table. Currently, Indian gaming is the only sector that subsidizes problem gambling programs and Miranda would like other gaming sectors to become involved to create a more comprehensive program.
5. Create broad-based and lasting coalitions and find common ground with other organizations and groups. Miranda also issued a plea for tribal unity and cited past successes to illustrate how much more effective the results have been when tribes worked together than when they go it alone.
“Worthy goals require patience, commitment and courage.”
Miranda concluded his speech with an acknowledgement that not all tribal ills will be erased in the coming year, however, he pointed to the progress that has already been made and asked whether California tribes will seize the tremendous growth potential in California, in the coming decades.
“Our home state of California expects to grow 30 percent over the next 20 years. Will our tribes be positioned to seize the opportunities that such tremendous growth provides?”
The entire text of the speech is available on the web at: https://cniga.com
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
2007 State of the Tribal Nations Address
Delivered by
The Honorable Anthony Miranda, CNIGA Chairman
Pechanga Indian Reservation, CA
January 18, 2007
Good morning.
Thank you, Chairman Macarro and Mayor Villaraigosa, for your encouraging words this morning.
And thanks to our gracious hosts – the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians – for their hospitality and generosity.
Before we begin, let me just say what an honor and a privilege it is to be at this rostrum, in this capacity at this moment in our history. It is very humbling, and I thank you, my fellow tribal leaders, for the opportunity to serve you.
Over the last several years we have made it a custom to take a moment of silence to honor our ancestors and to pay tribute to our fallen brothers and sisters who left this world this past year.
I also ask that you keep in your prayers the brave men and women of the Armed Forces, who today are defending our freedoms throughout the world.
Please stand and join me in a moment of silence.
(Silence)
Thank you.
Members of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Executive Board, fellow tribal leaders, industry partners, distinguished guests, and friends: welcome to the 12th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference, the largest regional gaming show in the United States.
These are exciting times, and the WIGC Conference Committee has assembled an exciting program covering a multitude of topics of importance to our industry and our people.
We are fortunate to have the participation of the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate G.O. Committee, and the chairman of the Assembly G.O. Committee.
Both committees, of course, are important to us because they have jurisdiction over gaming issues in California. These gentlemen have graciously agreed to take part in the Sacramento Political Report panel, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. today.
We are also fortunate to be joined by the chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission and the chairman of the California Gambling Control Commission.
The topic of regulation in Indian Country has been in the headlines lately, so I am confident that today’s panel on regulation will be a popular discussion.
And of course we have with us representatives of the BIA who later this afternoon will discuss their proposed changes to the Revenue Allocation Plan.
Tomorrow’s program promises to be even more extensive than todays with panel discussions on a variety of topics including: the Washington, D.C. Report, moderated by Chairman Ernie Stevens of NIGA, economic development, Title 31 tracking, fiscal leadership, energy issues, and much more.
I think you’ll agree: the members of the WIGC Conference Committee have put together a comprehensive tradeshow that will leave you with a wealth of information. Let’s give the committee and our panelists a warm round of applause.
Thank you.
For more than a decade, California’s tribal nations have gathered here at the Western Indian Gaming Conference.
It is a time to catch up with old friends, to make new friends, to learn from one another, to celebrate past achievements, to explore new opportunities and to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
And so we begin this annual gathering by reporting that the State of California’s Tribal Nations is improving. You can be proud that California continues to lead the rest of the Indian gaming industry in innovation and revenues.
You can be proud that our industry – which you built – employs more than 56,000 Californians. You can be proud that Indian gaming is bringing hope and opportunity to tens of thousands across the state.
Fellow tribal leaders, we have made great progress toward the goal of self-reliance for all California tribes.
But we still have a long and difficult road before all of California’s tribal nations are in a position to seize the promise of self-reliance.
And therein lies the challenge of our generation: to bring real and sustainable economic development to all of California’s tribes.
For California’s Native People, the last decade has witnessed some of the most consequential developments in our modern history. We united for the common purpose of changing state law to secure our right to conduct gaming on our tribal lands. We came together for the common purpose of negotiating a compact with the state. We amended the constitution to once and for all permit gaming on tribal lands. We stopped two powerful and well-healed segments of the gaming industry from stripping away the rights we gained only years before.
Who could have imagined ten years ago that tribes would wage not one, not two, but three successful statewide campaigns to first secure, then to protect our right to pursue self-reliance? Who could have imagined ten years ago that the Indian gaming industry would employ tens of thousands of Californians? Who could have imagined that tribal casinos would someday compete with the best facilities that Las Vegas has to offer?
But we endured the trials and tribulations. As we look back on the journey that has brought us to this moment, there is one event in particular that many of us believe to be the turning point in the struggle to achieve self-reliance.
On March 24, 1997, nine tribes in the Central District of California faced the threat of closure by U.S. Attorney Nora Manella, because they refused to remove their gaming devices. This group eventually evolved into what is now the TASIN tribes.
Knowing justice was on their side, these nine tribes refused to surrender the only opportunity for self-reliance. Their elected leaders faced not only the threat of closure, but also the prospect of prison.
Instead of signing away the rights of their children, they drove into downtown Los Angeles with 4,000 supporters to be served with the government’s lawsuits.
Not since the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz had so many tribal people gathered to protest yet another government injustice.
Tribal people came from all over California to stand with their brothers and sisters. From the Sierra Nevada’s to San Diego, tribal people drove in caravans to stand up for what was rightfully ours.
That event was a defining moment in our struggle. We realized that broad support for Indian gaming existed. We realized that thousands of jobs hung in the balance. We realized that we were not alone in this struggle. Most importantly, we realized the potential of tribal unity and public support.
Because those nine tribes refused to remove the machines, Proposition 5 was born. And because of Prop 5 and later Prop 1A, the California Indian gaming industry leads the nation. Several of the nine tribes are represented here today. They are Agua Caliente, Cabazon, Cahuilla, Morongo, Pechanga, San Manuel, Santa Ynez, Soboba, and Twenty Nine Palms.
Please join me in applauding these courageous tribes and their leaders.
The Pechanga Band is sponsoring a booth at the tradeshow with photos from the Jobs and Justice Rally. We encourage you to stop by.
If there was any lesson to learn from these experiences, it was that worthy goals require patience, commitment, and courage.
Last year, here at WIGC, the member tribes of CNIGA called upon Governor Schwarzenegger to meet with California’s tribal nations and to begin a new dialogue, a dialogue built on mutual respect. Friends: that dialogue was started, and we hope it will continue throughout the remainder of his administration.
When we met with the governor, we also asked him to consider appointing a tribal liaison. And this morning, we renew our request for the appointment of a liaison for tribal governments within the governor’s office. This position will help ensure ongoing communication between the state and California’s 107 federally recognized tribes.
Last year we also worked with our friends in local government to defeat Prop 90, a measure that would have severely hurt our efforts to protect Native American cultural and sacred sites from destruction. And as we campaigned side by side, we both realized that we have far more in common than we do apart.
And we joined with friends in the business community, labor groups, local government, and legislators to support passage of California’s transportation bond measures, because reliable highways and a reliable infrastructure are important to California’s Native Americans.
At the federal level, Indian Country stopped wholesale changes to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. We blocked attempts to take away our right to participate in America’s political process. And we will continue to work with the NIGC to develop fair and equitable Class II regulations.
You can be proud that CNIGA achieved several victories last year. But more challenges lie ahead, and so today I propose for your consideration five strategic initiatives that will guide the association in the coming year.
First, I propose that we commit resources to the task of identifying ways to bring real and sustainable economic development to California’s tribal nations. Despite the modest progress tribal gaming has brought to our people, many of our California Native families remain at the bottom of the income distribution. Why?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
I submit to you that CNIGA can and must serve as a catalyst for economic development throughout Indian Country in our state. This is our obligation. We must find ways to extend the benefits and opportunities of economic development to those who have little.
For the first time in our generation, we have the resources to fulfill dreams worthy of the sacrifices of our ancestors. Let us not be shy or modest in pursuing a better tomorrow for our children. Let not our children suffer from our inability to harness today’s opportunities. We can and must find ways extend the benefits of economic progress to all California tribes.
Later this week I will ask the members of CNIGA to create an Economic Development Task Force composed of representatives from academia, business, and government to come up with recommendations to improve the economic conditions of tribes in California.
This task force will build on the work that was accomplished during last year’s economic summit.
Another priority for CNIGA will be educating the new members of the State Legislature. Last November voters sent 48 new legislators to Sacramento. These men and women will be making decisions that will impact our lives and those of our children and grandchildren. CNIGA will make it a priority to work with these new members to find common ground where possible and to address issues of mutual concern.
CNIGA’s third priority will be to ensure the promise of revenue sharing with non-gaming tribes continues to be fulfilled.
In 2005, CNIGA and member tribes sponsored and enacted legislation to provide greater stability and certainty for the most economically challenged tribes in California by distributing revenue sharing payments to them on a quarterly basis. This year we will work with the legislature to ensure the revenue sharing trust fund continues to be backfilled in the event of shortfalls.
Next month, we expect the Office of Problem and Pathological Gambling to issue the findings of their problem gambling prevalence study. Indian country must be prepared to respond to the findings of the study.
More than ten years have passed since the last prevalence study was conducted in California. Since then, the state’s gaming industry has dramatically evolved. We can expect the new study will show a rise in the level of problem gambling in California. We can also expect opponents of Indian gaming to take advantage of the study to criticize our tribes.
And so our fourth priority must be to address the issue of problem gambling in a comprehensive manner – with all segments of the gaming industry at the table.
Though other segments of the industry have been thriving for years, Indian gaming continues to be the only sector that subsidizes state problem gambling programs.
Is this fair?
We should be proud of our commitment to promoting responsible gaming.
In addition to our contributions to state programs, our tribal nations have also funded non-profit counseling services. We have funded 24-hour toll free help lines for the California Council on Problem Gambling.
Today, I propose that we set aside our differences with the other segments of the industry and invite them to a conference to begin discussing the issue of problem gambling. This is an industry-wide issue that requires an industry-wide response.
And this leads us to our fifth priority for 2007: finding common ground with other groups and building lasting alliances. CNIGA began this work last year when we opposed Prop 90 and supported passage of the historic bond package.
Propositions 5, 1A and 68 proved that we can accomplish more with broad-based coalitions than going it alone. And we have also realized that we want the same things all other Californians want: good schools for our children. Safe streets. A clean environment. A reliable infrastructure. A strong economy. Healthcare for our elders.
We have more in common than we realize. And so we must commit ourselves in 2007 to building strong alliances for the future.
As I have said from this podium before, we must unite around the common threads that make us sovereigns. We must return to the guiding principle of tribal unity, which worked so well for us over the last decade.
Since 1988, CNIGA has brought tribal governments together to collectively pursue our common goals. This large, broad-based coalition has accomplished more on behalf of Indian families than any individual tribe acting alone.
Now more than ever, we need tribal unity if we are to protect and preserve for our children and grandchildren the right to self-determination.
In closing, let me say that I am a pragmatist and realize that centuries of poverty and despair cannot be overcome in just a few years. It will take hard work, perseverance, time, and commitment. But as I said earlier, worthy goals require patience, commitment, and courage.
So as we continue our deliberations in the days and weeks ahead, let us ask ourselves: what will California Indian Country look like in 2017? Will our children be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century?
Will our elders be receiving quality healthcare? Will we have diverse income streams that can withstand the expansion of gaming beyond tribal lands?
Our home state of California expects to grow by 30 percent over the next 20 years. Will our tribes be positioned to seize the opportunities that such tremendous growth provides?
And most importantly, will we have preserved the sovereign rights we know today for future generations?
Thank you.

CNIGA Presents 12th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC)

2007/01/03

CNIGA Presents 12th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC)

2007/01/03

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announces the 12th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) to be held Tuesday January 16th through Thursday January 18th at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California.
The event is a combination of a trade show, panel discussions, reports and speeches. Following a golf tournament at the Temecula Creek Inn Golf Club that will open the event on Tuesday, a general assembly will convene on Wednesday morning at the Pechanga Resort and Casino followed by several moderated panels lasting through Thursday afternoon. Among the highlights of the general assembly are scheduled speeches by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as Anthony Miranda, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association who will present the “State of the Tribal Nations”. Political reports from Washington D.C. and Sacramento are also slated to be on the agenda.
Discussions will touch on a wide variety of gaming issues and will include panel discussions with officials from the California Gambling Control Commission, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and a discussion led by federal Securities and Exchange Commissioner Roel Campos. Other topics include, but are not limited to, diversifying revenue streams, federal regulation, problem gambling, energy issues, retaining employees, fiscal leadership and internal controls, and tacking fraudulent behavior.
A press room will be available to reporters.
Both attendees and exhibitors must register on Tuesday, January 16 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino ballrooms foyer.
What: The California Nations Indian Gaming Association Presents the Western Indian Gaming Conference
Where: Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, CA. Golf tournament at Temecula Creek Inn Golf Club.
When: January 16th through 18th
About CNIGA
Representing 68 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the oldest and largest tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association Donates $10,000 to the Families of Fallen Firefighters

2006/10/26

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association Donates $10,000 to the Families of Fallen Firefighters

2006/10/26

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announced today a contribution of $10,000 from the association’s charitable foundation to assist the families of the firefighters who were killed today in the Esperanza wildfire.
“The Native American community is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life sustained today in the Esperanza fire,” said Anthony Miranda, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen firefighters, those who continue to battle the wildfire, as well as the families who may be in its path.”
Dennis Hendricks, CNIGA Treasurer, added, “Our communities are often affected by wildfires. We felt a desire to help the families of the fallen firefighters in some way. No words can capture our gratitude for the men and women of the fire service.”
About CNIGA
Representing 69 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the oldest and largest tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
CNIGA’s charitable foundation, The California Nations Indian Gaming Foundation, is a 501 (c) (3).

California Gambling Control Commission and Tribal-State Regulatory Association Collaborate to Develop Regulation on Emergency Evacuation & Preparedness Plans in Tribal Casinos

2006/10/16

California Gambling Control Commission and Tribal-State Regulatory Association Collaborate to Develop Regulation on Emergency Evacuation & Preparedness Plans in Tribal Casinos

2006/10/16

Contacts:
Anna Carr
Deputy Director of Legislation & Public Affairs
California Gambling Control Commission
(916) 263-0494
Susan Jensen
Communications Director
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
(916) 448-8706
Jacob Mejia
Media Contact
Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations
(951) 675-0586
Alison Harvey
Executive Director
California Tribal Business Alliance
(916) 244-8561
The California Gambling Control Commission and the Tribal-State Regulatory Association are pleased to announce the joint development of a new regulation to protect the physical safety of patrons and staff at Tribal casinos. Both organizations have collaborated to develop
Emergency Evacuation and Preparedness Plans (CGCC-7) to respond to various emergencies.
This regulation represents an unprecedented level of cooperation between the Tribal regulators of the Tribal-State Regulatory Association (Association) and the California Gambling Control Commission. The Association was established pursuant to the 1999 Tribal-State Gaming Compacts for the purpose of approving gaming regulations. The Association consists of representatives from each Tribal Gaming Agency of Compact Tribes and delegates from the California Gambling Control Commission and the Division of Gambling Control. CGCC-7 provides a uniform, statewide standard for Tribal gaming agencies to measure the adequacy of Tribal casino emergency evacuation and preparedness plans and establishes a common, minimum standard to coordinate with all emergency response services. ¡§We appreciate the level of commitment from the Tribal-State Regulatory Association and the Association¡¦s Regulatory Task Force in working to achieve consensus on this important regulation,¡¨ said Dean Shelton, Chairman of the California Gambling Control Commission.
The California Gambling Control Commission and the Tribal-State Regulatory Association both voted to approve this regulation. All gaming Tribes were provided with the opportunity to provide feedback.
Additional information on CGCC-7 is available at:
California Gambling Control Commission

CNIGA Statement on Amended Tribal-State Compacts

2006/08/29

CNIGA Statement on Amended Tribal-State Compacts

2006/08/29

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association takes no position on the terms of any compact and is not engaged in the negotiations. Each tribe is a sovereign nation with unique circumstances. We believe any compact should address that uniqueness.
Each compact negotiated with the Governor must be ratified by the California State Legislature. Ratified compacts are then submitted to the Secretary of Interior for approval. Upon approval, the Secretary will forward them to the Federal Register. The compact takes effect only upon publication in the Federal Register.
“CNIGA would like to thank the Governor and members of the Legislature for their recognition of tribal self-determination and self-reliance and appreciates that they are addressing these critical issues on a government-to-government basis,” said Anthony Miranda, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
About CNIGA
Representing 69 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda Statement on Meeting with Gov. Schwarzenegger

2006/07/06

CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda Statement on Meeting with Gov. Schwarzenegger

2006/07/06

“ Member tribal governments of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) met with Gov. Schwarzenegger today. This meeting is the first time that Gov. Schwarzenegger met with our entire general membership. During the meeting the governor listened to the various tribal governments in our organization express their thoughts, concerns and recommendations about the future of economic development in Indian country. Since this meeting was a follow-up to a meeting last month with the CNIGA executive board, we hope that the governor will continue the recent dialogue and work to build relationships with our various member tribes in the future.”
Note: Attached are opening remarks as delivered by Chairman Miranda at today’s meeting.
About CNIGA
Representing 68 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the oldest and largest tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
# # #
California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Remarks of CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda
Meeting with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
July 6, 2006
Sacramento, California
Governor, on behalf of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, we welcome you. We are the largest and the oldest tribal gaming association in the State.
Two months ago, you started a long-overdue dialogue with CNIGA members. We felt then as we do today, that the meeting was positive, and that your intent to start a new direction was genuine. It is in that spirit that we continue our dialogue today. It is our hope that this will be the first of regular and ongoing meetings between you and CNIGA tribal governments.
Governor, you have before you the leaders of 68 sovereign tribal governments. Governments, much like the state, charged with providing for the health, welfare, safety, and infrastructure of their communities.
Thanks to tribal government gaming, we have started the daunting task of rebuilding California’s Indian communities.
Our elders are finally starting to receive the kind of quality healthcare that they deserve. Our children are better equipped to fight predatory illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Our young adults are standing in college enrollment lines instead of unemployment lines. Our Native people are realizing the American dream of owning their own home. We are making progress.
But we still have a lot of work ahead of us to rebuild our tribal communities. The average income for American Indians in California, for example, is still well below the national average. As of the 2000 census, it was barely 53% of the national average.
That same year, 26% of families within gaming tribes were still living in poverty. By comparison, the percentage of California and American families in poverty is between 9 and 10% – almost a third of the figure on reservations with gaming. These conditions are unacceptable.
Centuries of poverty and despair cannot be overcome in just a few years. So governor, as you talk about rebuilding California, we urge you: don’t forget about the first Californians.
We also ask you to not ignore the contributions that the tribal gaming industry is making to the economy of California.
We are proud that our tribal governments have created more than 50,000 tax-paying jobs for Californians. Most of our tribal governments constitute the largest employers in their respective regions.
And we could create even more jobs if the barriers to progress were removed.
Our tribal governments will also provide more than $1 billion to California to support non-gaming tribes, local governments, and problem gambling programs.
Throughout California, local governments are already using these revenues to build stronger communities. They are hiring more police and sheriffs deputies; improving fire protection and road conditions, and funding youth programs. All because of tribal government revenues.
Before I finish, governor, let me personally invite you to visit our reservations to learn more about our people and the issues that are of mutual concern.
You see, our tribes are as diverse as the landscape and the people of California. Tribes vary in needs, location, land base, relations with neighboring governments, population, infrastructure capacity, and socioeconomic conditions. This is why each compact should respect the unique circumstances and needs of each Tribe.
I should also tell you that CNIGA is not a negotiating body; we do not negotiate compacts for tribes. The responsibility of negotiating compacts rests solely between individual tribal governments and the State. However, CNIGA can provide a forum for tribal governments to debate and discuss compacts and other issues of mutual concern, and we are continuing to identify common goals relative to tribal-state compacts.
Governor, California tribes expect, and are entitled under law, to timely and good-faith negotiations on gaming compacts.
Finally, governor, we request that you consider establishing a position within your office that can serve as a liaison to California’s tribal governments. The creation of such a position would go a long ways toward permanently opening the lines of communication between tribal governments and your office.
We thank you for listening to us. And we stand ready to work with you to rebuild California and our tribal communities.
With that, I invite the tribal leaders around the table to introduce themselves and to state the name of their Tribe.
Thank you.

CNIGA Announces Tribal Economic Summit

2006/06/15

CNIGA Announces Tribal Economic Summit

2006/06/15

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) will hold a historic all-day economic summit on June 28 in Santa Barbara entitled “Challenges to Opportunities and Success.” The summit will feature representatives from several California tribal governments and is a follow-up to a promise that CNIGA chairman Anthony Miranda made in his State of the Tribal Nations address to take steps to bring real and sustainable economic development to Indian country.
“We want to bring to bear the collective talents and wisdom of all tribal governments in California on the issue of creating sustainable economies,” said Miranda.
Many tribes are looking to diversify their economies by using gaming funds to kick-start other business ventures. The summit will provide a forum for tribes to discuss with each other which plans have proven most successful and what potential barriers to success may exist.
Since the challenges of tribal economic development extend beyond California, the goal of the summit is to gather a set of recommendations from the attendees to give to such national organizations as the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Gaming Association.
The summit will be preceded by CNIGA’s signature golf tournament at the Sandpiper Golf Course on Tuesday. Santa Barbara area tribe, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, will be the title sponsor of the tournament.
Attendance to the summit is free but space is limited.
What: “Challenges to Opportunities and Success” economic development summit at CNIGA’s Mid Year Conference
Who: Tribal governments, tribal gaming operators and industry professionals
When: Wednesday June 28, 2006, registration begins at 9AM. Program will begin at 9:45.
Where: The Biltmore – Four Seasons Resort, 1260 Channel Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93108
About CNIGA
Representing 66 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Finds Inaccuracies in Attorney General Press Release

2006/05/31

CNIGA Finds Inaccuracies in Attorney General Press Release

2006/05/31

A release issued today announcing a report on California gaming commissioned by the California Attorney General contains some errors and misleading information that contradicts points made in the report. Foremost among these is a blatant error regarding tribal payments into two special funds.
The release claims that tribes have only paid $156.4 million into the two special funds, one of which was established to share revenue among California tribes with no or small gaming operations, while the other was to help local governments with off-reservation impacts. However, that number only represents payments into one of the funds and is off by $368 million.
According to figures cited on page 51 of the study, “payments made by gaming tribes to the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, the Special Distribution Fund and the state’s General Fund from 2000 to September 30, 2005 totaled $543.4 million.” We hope the attorney general’s office will correct this mistake immediately.
Additionally, in the section on crime, the report cites a study that said crime increases around casinos over a several year period. The problem is that the study used was not only not California specific, but also only contains information for the years 1977 through 1996, well before Proposition 5 was passed in 1998 and Proposition 1A in 2000, after which most larger California gaming establishments were developed.
About CNIGA
Representing 66 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
Tribal governments have used gaming revenues to combat years of abject poverty, preserve their cultures and allowed them to build tribal infrastructure. Recent statistics from the California Employment Development Department state that tribal government gaming now employs 55,500 Californians.

CNIGA Executive Board Meets with Gov. Schwarzenegger

2006/05/11

CNIGA Executive Board Meets with Gov. Schwarzenegger

2006/05/11

The Executive Board of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is pleased to have had the opportunity to meet for the first time with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Following the meeting CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda issued the following statement: “We had a respectful discussion with the governor today. We talked about various issues, including the progress tribal government gaming has brought to Indian tribes, and the opportunities we have created for thousands of Californians.
“It was a positive meeting with good dialogue. We hope his intent to start a new direction is genuine.”
About CNIGA
Representing 66 federally recognized member tribes, CNIGA is the largest and most influential tribal organization in California. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Local Governments to Receive $20 Million From Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund

2006/03/28

Local Governments to Receive $20 Million From Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund

2006/03/28

Governor Schwarzenegger today signed Senate Bill 288, authored by Senators Jim Battin (R-La Quinta) and Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), which will re-allocate $20 million from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund (SDF) to be used for grants to local government agencies.
Local governments use revenues received from the SDF to purchase additional police and fire vehicles, improve roads, implement traffic safety programs, and fund other critical programs.
“CNIGA applauds tribal governments, the legislature, and the Governor for working together to restore these much needed funds to local governments. This will provide local governments with the funds they were promised by both the State of California and the tribal governments when they entered into the 1999 compacts,” said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda. “Tribes are proud of the revenues we provide to our surrounding communities and are grateful to the Governor for recognizing the importance of distributing these funds. We hope for the opportunity to sit down with the Governor and discuss the direct benefits these funds will create in our communities.”
Last year, due to incorrect information received, Governor Schwarzenegger objected to budget line item 0855-101-0367 which would have allocated an additional $20 million of mitigation funds to local governments from the Special Distribution Fund. SB 288 will re-instate this budget allocation.
BACKGROUND
On September 10, 1999, sixty-one tribal governments entered into gaming compacts with the State of California. These compacts were ratified by the California State Legislature and ultimately approved by the Department of the Interior on May 16, 2000. The compacts expire in May of 2020.
Contained in these compacts is a provision for tribes to pay into a fund titled the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund (SDF). These funds are to be used to reimburse local governments impacted
by off-reservation effects of tribal gaming, problem gambling treatment and prevention programs, and to pay the state for regulatory costs. Money from the fund may also be used to make up for shortfalls in a second Revenue Sharing Trust Fund through which gaming tribes share revenues with non-gaming tribal governments and those with limited gaming.
ABOUT CNIGA
Representing 64 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Local Governments Closer to Receiving An Additional $20 Million From the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund

2006/03/16

Local Governments Closer to Receiving An Additional $20 Million From the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund

2006/03/16

The California State Senate yesterday approved Senate Bill 288, authored by Senators Jim Battin (R-La Quinta) and Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), which would re-allocate $20 million from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund (SDF) to be used for grants to local government agencies.
Since the inception of the SDF local governments have used revenues received from the fund to purchase additional police and fire vehicles, improve roads, implement traffic safety programs, and fund other critical programs.
Last year, due to incorrect information received, Governor Schwarzenegger objected to budget line item 0855-101-0367 which would have allocated an additional $20 million of mitigation funds to local governments from the Special Distribution Fund. SB 288 would re-instate this budget allocation.
“The 64 federally recognized member tribes of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association applaud the California State Legislature for approving this allocation which will provide local governments with the funds they were promised by both the State of California and the tribal governments when they entered into the 1999 compacts,” said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda.
“CNIGA respectfully asks the Governor to sign SB 288 and provide local governments with these much needed revenues,” said Miranda.
BACKGROUND
On September 10, 1999, sixty-one tribal governments entered into gaming compacts with the State of California. These compacts were ratified by the California State Legislature and ultimately approved by the Department of the Interior on May 16, 2000. The compacts expire in May of 2020.
Contained in these compacts is a provision for tribes to pay into a fund titled the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund (SDF). These funds are to be used to reimburse local governments impacted by off-reservation effects of tribal gaming, problem gambling treatment and prevention programs, and to pay the state for regulatory costs. Money from the fund may also be used to make up for shortfalls in a second Revenue Sharing Trust Fund through which gaming tribes share revenues with non-gaming tribal governments and those with limited gaming.
ABOUT CNIGA
Representing 64 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

2006 State of the Tribal Nations Address

2006/01/11

2006 State of the Tribal Nations Address

2006/01/11

Good morning.
I am Anthony Miranda, a proud member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
Before we start, I just want to say it is a tremendous honor, ladies and gentleman, to serve California’s tribal nations in this capacity. And I thank you, the members of CNIGA, for allowing me to serve you for a second term. Thank you.
Thank you, Chairman Tucker and Chairman Milanovich, for your kind words.
And thank you to the Agua Caliente Tribe for your gracious hospitality.
Members of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Executive Board, fellow tribal leaders, industry partners, distinguished guests, and friends: welcome to the 11th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference.
We are the descendants of a proud and just people that defended this great land and secured the rightful place of their nations among other nations.
If not for their resolute guardianship, we would have no sovereignty. We would have no tribal governments. There would be no tribal government gaming.
May the strength, wisdom, and faith of our forefathers inspire us all to strive for justice and excellence in all our endeavors.
And so, I respectfully ask that before we begin, we take a moment of silence to honor our ancestors and to pay tribute to our brothers and sisters who this past year left this great land.
Leaders like Donald “Tiny” La Chappa of Barona; Vine Deloria, Jr. of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Phillip Hunter of Tule River; Marcus Pete of Agua Caliente, and so many other warriors who fought honorably to defend and advance the rights we enjoy today.
I also ask that you keep in your hearts and prayers the brave men and women of the Armed Forces, who today are defending our freedoms throughout the world.
Please stand and join me in a moment of silence.
– SILENCE –
Thank you.
It has been our custom to gather at the start of the year to contemplate the State of the Tribal Nations of California; to celebrate our past achievements; and to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
Today, the tribal government gaming industry is vibrant and leading the nation in technological advances and innovation.
Our tribal economies are growing. Our tribal governments are providing services for our people. Our youth are receiving better educations.
Our elders are receiving improved healthcare. Our cultures are thriving.
And our tradition of sharing with those less fortunate is alive and well.
Friends, the State of the California Tribal Nations is improving and looking brighter for future generations.
Together we made remarkable progress in 2005.
The tribal government gaming industry surpassed a milestone this past year.
We have, created more than 50,000 tax-paying jobs for Californians.
We are deeply humbled and proud to be contributing to the economy of California in such a significant way.
I know our grandparents and great grandparents are looking down on us smiling, proud that their descendants are returning their nations to greatness.
I know that our tribal governments could create even more jobs if the barriers to progress were removed and we were allowed to grow our businesses.
We have made remarkable progress.
Our tribal governments provided $30 million to local governments last year through the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund.
Throughout California, local governments are using Special Distribution Fund revenues to build stronger communities. They are hiring more police, improving fire protection, improving road conditions, and funding youth programs. All thanks to tribal government gaming.
We have made remarkable progress.
We stopped legislation that would have been harmful to tribes from being enacted.
For the first time in CNIGA’s history we placed a historical display honoring California’s Tribal Governments in the rotunda of the State Capitol.
The display educated thousands, particularly students, about our diverse tribal customs, cultures and histories.
I encourage you to see the display for yourselves later today on the trade show floor.
And several members of the CNIGA family made great strides in their quests to realize the dream of self-sufficiency.
The Bear River Band of Rohnerville Indians opened its casino this past year in
Loleta in Humboldt County.
In San Diego, the Jamul Indian Village, after years of struggle and unfair treatment by local government, broke ground on its economic development project.
Also in San Diego County the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians is moving ahead with plans to build a 35,000-square foot casino south of Palomar Mountain.
We congratulate you and wish you the best of luck.
As I reflect on the many accomplishments we made last year, I am most proud of one in particular: the enactment of Assembly Bill 1750.
AB 1750 is providing greater stability and certainty for the most economically challenged tribes in California by distributing Revenue Sharing payments to them on a quarterly basis.
I applaud the CNIGA family for its commitment to advancing the lives of Indian people, and for its steadfast pursuit of economic justice.
And I applaud the Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger for recognizing the appalling economic conditions that afflict our non-gaming brothers and sisters.
This action is a step in the right direction toward helping to combat poverty on Indian reservations. But it is not enough. We need to do more, much more.
I also congratulate CNIGA and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians for their courage and leadership in partnering with the University of California, Riverside to conduct the first comprehensive study of Indian gaming in California.
We heard the repeated requests for empirical data about Indian gaming from policymakers, from the media, and from the public.
Today we have it.
UC Riverside assembled a notable research team of economists, anthropologists, political scientists, and others. For months they analyzed data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Censuses, tribal and local government survey information, and conducted interviews with scores of tribal leaders and government officials.
Of course Indian gaming really didn’t begin to expand until after the 1999 compacts with the state.
This study provides an important evaluation of the impact of tribal government gaming during its initial growth phase in the 1990s. It will serve as the basis for a systematic analysis of the impacts of gaming under the 1999 tribal-state compacts.
Among ourselves we have known gaming has brought progress to our people.
But we also have known that centuries of poverty and despair CANNOT be overcome in a matter of a few years. We have known that the myth of the “rich Indian,” is nothing more than that.
And we have known that the benefits of gaming on tribal lands don’t stop at the reservation border; they stretch far into surrounding communities and constitute a major economic engine for the state of California.
Well today we have the empirical data to confirm what we have known to be true for so long.
For instance, the study reveals that the introduction of gaming in an area had the effect of raising median family incomes on reservations and in particular poor neighboring areas by as much as 30 to 60 percent. That is amazing.
UCR also found that Indian gaming in California concentrates employment and other benefits in counties that need development the most and where it has the largest positive impact.
For instance, median family income in Census tracts within 10 miles of an Indian casino in 1990 was merely $32,500. By 2000, median family income grew significantly in the gaming tracts by 55%.
Friends, off-reservation impacts of Indian gaming in California are largely positive and local governments near Indian casinos are starting to realize those benefits.
But despite the relative progress tribal gaming has brought to some of our people, the average income for American Indians in California is well below the national average.
In 1990 it was 42% of the national average. By 2000 we experienced only a modest increase, reaching 53% of the national average income.
We have made progress, but we have a long way to travel before we catch up to the rest of America.
In 1990, 36% of families within gaming tribes were living in poverty. By 2000 that figure had improved, but only slightly, to 26%.
By comparison, the percentage of California and American families in poverty is between 9 and 10%, almost a third of the figure on reservations with gaming.
We have a long way to go before we catch up.
Clearly, we need to do more to combat poverty on Indian reservations.
And so today, I propose that in 2006 we commit ourselves to taking steps to bring real and sustainable economic development to Indian Country. We must work together to tear down the barriers that historically have blocked sustainable economic development on reservations.
Reservation infrastructures are in need of drastic improvements just to catch up to the living standards our neighbors enjoy.
Limited access to capital continues to obstruct meaningful economic opportunities.
And to those that say gaming is the answer, I say not all tribes are able to participate in gaming; geographic barriers prevent them. And some tribes may not want to participate in gaming.
We cannot leave our brothers and sisters behind; lest our collective dream of self-sufficiency remain unfulfilled.
That so many families are still in poverty is unacceptable.
This task must be given the full attention of all our tribal governments, bringing to bear our collective talents and wisdom.
To begin this effort, I propose to you that we hold an economic summit of all tribes as soon as possible to devise a comprehensive approach to this problem.
We need to work together to find ways for all tribes to have a fair chance at realizing the dream of self-sufficiency.
And from that summit we should present a set of recommendations to national organizations such as NIGA and NCAI, because the challenge of economic development is not limited to California.
My fellow tribal leaders, our tribal nations are part of the fabric of California.
Our businesses are an integral part of the California economy.
Yet to this day, collectively, we have been denied an equal seat at the table.
And so we ask you, Governor Schwarzenegger, in the spirit of starting afresh, can we not put our past differences aside?
Let us work TOGETHER to restore California and her tribal nations to greatness? Together we can realize the dream of California for ALL of her people.
Governor, you are part of a distinguished American family, revered for its dignity, its justice, and its spirit of idealism.
We hope you agree: California’s tribal governments have a right to participate in the great dialogue of California, especially at this moment in our common history when the state is preparing to embark on a monumental effort to build more roads, more schools, and more hospitals.
These plans will mold and impact our shared environment for generations to come. We want to participate in that discussion.
Let us together fulfill the ideal of “initiating a new era of tribal-state cooperation in areas of mutual concern,” and out of respect for the sentiment of the people of California who strongly supported this principle in Propositions 5 and 1A.
Friends, since 2000 we have prospered in many ways, and we continue to make extraordinary progress.
We have done so with the blessing of the California electorate. Twice the people conferred their trust in us.
And with the progress we have made comes a tremendous responsibility.
We have a responsibility to our current and future tribal members; to the good people that we employ; to those that now neighbor our reservations; and a responsibility to our patrons.
Friends, we provide a form of entertainment, which most people enjoy responsibly.
But for a very small number it is more than entertainment, it can be a compulsion.
California tribal nations are proud of our commitment to promoting responsible gaming. Our tribal nations have funded non-profit counseling services.
We have funded 24-hour toll free help lines for the California Council on Problem Gambling.
Although some forms of legalized gaming have been in California for decades – in some cases more than half a century – the state’s Office of Problem Gambling remained unfunded until tribes provided the resources.
And today we are still the ONLY segment of the gaming industry to provide monies for the California Office of Problem Gambling.
That is not acceptable. The gaming industry as a whole can and should do better.
As I said before, with our progress comes responsibility. We are addressing this issue responsibly. But if our progress is to endure for generations, then we must exceed what is expected of us.
So today, I propose that CNIGA form a task force, composed of problem gambling experts, tribal leaders, industry partners, and policymakers to study the issue and to develop recommendations that will promote responsible gaming throughout the California Indian gaming industry.
These findings and recommendations will serve as a foundation for future initiatives as our businesses continue to mature.
As we look to the challenges that lie ahead, I am reminded of the difficulties that confronted our forefathers. Though our struggles are not the same, they are nevertheless considerable.
They survived unthinkable acts of hatred; even state-sponsored campaigns to exterminate California Indian tribes.
They endured and overcame invasion; enslavement; oppression; poverty; destruction; new diseases.
They survived all of this. And today we are here as a testament to the enduring spirit of California’s Tribal Nations.
Our parents and grandparents labored to make their voices heard in the corridors of power. They struggled to gain even the slightest attention of lawmakers.
Indeed Native Americans did not receive voting rights until after World War I.
Today, however, as a result of gaming, we are more often than not invited to participate in the debate.
But friends, there are those who think tribal governments should not participate in America’s great debate over its future. There are those who would like nothing more than to take away our basic right to participate in the political process.
I submit to you that we must vigorously defend our ability and our right to fully participate in the great debate that will shape the destiny of America and mankind.
To not participate completely in the political process would be to turn our backs on the sacrifices of our forefathers.
It would be to lay down our modern bows and arrows. That is something we will not do!
The same people who want to take away our rights are those who will use the disgraceful acts of lobbyist Jack Abramoff to advance their cause.
Ladies and gentlemen, this man violated the trust of members of congress,
Indian tribes, banks, major corporations, charitable organizations, a Federal territory, his own law firm. Even the press, the New York Times reports, was a victimized client.
Now, more than ever, it is vital, absolutely vital, that tribal leaders be the ones to walk the halls of congress THEMSELVES and not send representatives.
WE must tell our story to the leaders of America.
We cannot emphasize enough to our children the importance of civic engagement. It is no longer an elective. It is a prerequisite for their educations and the survival of tribal sovereignty.
Indeed, never in the modern history of Indian gaming have we faced as many credible legislative challenges as we face today.
The chairmen of the two committees that oversee Indian affairs have made clear their intent to pass legislation that would amend IGRA.
The Department of Justice seeks to overturn four separate court rulings that would amend the Johnson Act and penalize innovation.
Isn’t it ironic that the Silicon Valley innovations are celebrated, but innovations in Indian Country are penalized.
Fellow tribal leaders, IGRA is the foundation of the tribal government gaming industry. It is one of the cornerstones that has allowed us to make the progress we have made. We must be fully engaged in this debate to help shape the outcome of these challenges.
And when we engage this debate, we must urge the Congress and the President to restore a proper balance to tribal-state relations and to reestablish the spirit and intent of IGRA that states have increasingly abused.
Friends, our ancestors hoped for a day when their people would have opportunity and self-determination. Their hopes are this generation’s reality.
I ask you: will our hope of enduring tribal sovereignty be realized by the next generation, or will that generation still only hope to someday regain sovereignty? Will our dream of self-determination be their reality?
Will each of us, in our closing days, look back and say we did everything we could to protect our rights, our children’s rights and our grandchildren’s rights?
In your hands – not mine – lies the choice of unity or division. In your collective and united hands lies the ability to protect tribal sovereignty as our forefathers did. In your hands lies our destiny.
Our generation has an opportunity; no, a solemn obligation to secure our place in the history of nations.
In closing, I ask you my fellow descendants of a proud people; my fellow brothers & sisters, my fellow tribal leaders: will we forfeit our birthright of sovereignty?
Thank you.

Landmark Study on Economic and Social Impacts of Indian Gaming To Be Released at Western Indian Gaming Conference

2006/01/06

Landmark Study on Economic and Social Impacts of Indian Gaming To Be Released at Western Indian Gaming Conference

2006/01/06

The first state-wide study of the social and economic impacts of tribal government gaming within California will be released at a 1:30 p.m. press briefing January, 11 at the Western Indian Gaming Conference in Palm Springs.
The nearly year-long study by the Center for California Native Nations at the University of California Riverside was coordinated by Dr. Kate Spilde Contreras, the Managing Director at the Center. Six faculty members from five academic departments participated in the research project.
The study analyzed data in the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Censuses for a “before and after” snapshot of conditions in California during Indian gaming’s initial growth phase. Indian gaming impacts since 2000, when California’s principal tribal-state compacts went into effect, were analyzed through surveys of tribal and local governments and in-depth case studies of individual tribal governments.
“This is truly ground-breaking research by respected and independent scholars that will be helpful to tribal, local and state government as Indian gaming continues to mature as a powerful economic force in California,” said Anthony Miranda, chair of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), sponsor of the conference.
Reporters wishing to attend the briefing in Smoke Room F of the Palm Springs Convention Center should first register at the press counter at the conference’s Registration Center in the adjacent Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel, 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way.
About CNIGA
Representing 63 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Four Key Legislators to Discuss Outlook for the 2006 Legislative Session at Gaming Conference

2005/12/20

Four Key Legislators to Discuss Outlook for the 2006 Legislative Session at Gaming Conference

2005/12/20

A panel of four key California legislators will discuss the outlook for the 2006 legislative session including their predictions for newly-negotiated tribal gaming compacts agreed to by the Schwarzenegger Administration and all aspects of so-called “reservation shopping” at the Western Indian Gaming Conference in Palm Springs January 11, 2005.
More than 600 tribal and industry leaders from around the country are expected to attend the conference, the largest regional Indian gaming conference in the United States. The conference is conducted by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), the state’s largest Indian organization representing 63 tribes.
Two days of panels on all aspects of Indian gaming will be featured January 11-12 in addition to a major trade show with more than 130 exhibitors at the Palm Springs Convention Center attached to the Wyndham Hotel.
“For anyone who has an interest in any aspect of Indian gaming, this conference is the place to be,” said Anthony Miranda, recently elected to a second term as chair of CNIGA.
Indian gaming in California supports nearly 54,000 jobs, most of them held by non-Indians, and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity in the state, Miranda said. In the last five years tribal gaming has been one of the state’s fastest growing industries.
The chair and vice chair of both the state Senate and Assembly Governmental Organization Committees, which will offer their insight and predictions for the 2006 legislative session, will be featured on a panel called “California Legislative Report 2006”. Participants will include Senators Dean Florez and Jeff Denham and Assemblymen Jerome Horton and George Plescia.
The panel will also discuss opinions relating to whether tribes either without their own reservation land or who have reservations located in remote locations should be able to operate Indian gaming facilities away from their ancestral lands.
A similar panel looking at Indian gaming on the federal level, including potential legislation to amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) will be conducted January 12th at the conference featuring national experts on Indian gaming. Confirmed panelists include Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, and John Tahsuda, Deputy Director of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Reporters seeking media credentials for the conference should contact Susan Jensen with CNIGA at 916-448-8706. Credentials may also be obtained on-site at the conference registration counters.
About CNIGA
Representing 64 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Reelects Chairman, Elects New Treasurer

2005/12/09

CNIGA Reelects Chairman, Elects New Treasurer

2005/12/09

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the largest tribal organization in the state, announced today that the membership unanimously reelected Anthony Miranda Chairman of the Association. Dennis Hendricks has been elected treasurer of the organization. Each will serve a two-year term.
Miranda, who has served as the Association’s Chairman for the past two years, is a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and serves as the second vice president of the tribe’s economic development corporation. He is currently serving his sixth consecutive term on the development corporation’s board. Prior to being Chairman of CNIGA, Miranda held the position of Executive Secretary.
Hendricks is a member of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians. He previously served two terms as Chairman for his tribe, as well as serving as the Chairman of the Tuolumne Economic Development Committee. Hendricks was also on the Board of Directors for the California Rural Indian Health Board and the National Indian Health Board.
“I am honored and humbled to be reelected Chairman of the Association,” Miranda said. “The executive committee is focused on the future and looks forward to the many challenges that lie ahead. We know that no challenge is insurmountable, so long as we maintain a cohesive coalition like CNIGA.”
Hendricks replaces Ken Gilbert who did not run for reelection.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is a non-profit trade association comprised of 66 gaming and non-gaming tribal nations. CNIGA is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

California’s Gaming Tribes Share More Than $200 Million With Other Tribes

2005/11/17

California’s Gaming Tribes Share More Than $200 Million With Other Tribes

2005/11/17

Checks, drawn from more than $200 million deposited by gaming tribes, were sent yesterday to eligible tribes throughout the state. The revenue-sharing program, the first of its kind in the nation, was launched by California gaming tribes to help non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming.
As provided in the tribal-state compacts signed by 61 tribes in 1999, 70 of California’s 107 federally recognized tribes qualify for assistance from the fund. Each eligible tribe will receive a quarterly payment of $275,000 bringing the total distribution to $19,250,000.
“Many of California’s Indian tribes lack sufficient funds to fully satisfy the need for basic governmental services to their members,” said Anthony Miranda, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), which represents 66 federally recognized tribes. “It is important that all eligible tribes continue to receive this much needed revenue. Revenues from this fund are allowing tribes to improve roads, healthcare, education, housing, and to build strong tribal governments through economic diversification.”
Monies to the 70 tribes are drawn from the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (“RSTF”) and the Special Distribution Fund (“SDF”) created as part of the historic tribal-state compacts signed in 1999 with the State. Under the compacts, eligible tribes may receive up to $1.1 million annually from the RSTF. If funds are not sufficient to pay the total $1.1 million each, the compacts provide for the SDF to backfill the shortfall.
“California’s gaming tribes are proud the 1999 tribal-state compacts created a tribal revenue sharing program from funds generated by California tribes solely to support other California tribes. To date, California’s gaming tribes have paid more than $146 million into the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and nearly $319 million into the Special Distribution Fund,” said Miranda.
The checks issued yesterday are the first to be issued since the passage of AB 1750 which authorizes the backfill of the “RSTF” shortfall from the “SDF” each fiscal quarter rather than at the end of the fiscal year. AB1750 also requires payment to be issued within forty-five days of the end of each fiscal quarter, allowing eligible tribes to engage in viable, long term financial planning.
About CNIGA
Representing 66 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on their land. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Turkeys Take Flight: Morongo Band of Mission Indians Lauches Largest Thanksgiving Turkey Donation in CA 6,000 – Birds Bring 30,000 Meals for Families in Need throughout the Inland Empire

2005/11/14

Turkeys Take Flight: Morongo Band of Mission Indians Lauches Largest Thanksgiving Turkey Donation in CA 6,000 – Birds Bring 30,000 Meals for Families in Need throughout the Inland Empire

2005/11/14

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians today launched a weeklong donation of 6,000 turkeys that approximately 40 non-profit organizations will be distributing to families in need throughout the Inland Empire.
“The Morongo tribe has been delivering Thanksgiving food from our family to families in need throughout California for nearly 20 years,” said Joletta Tsosie, Morongo Outreach Committee chairperson and a Morongo tribal council member. “We started out by helping a few families and now it has grown to serve thousands.”
The gifts will provide more than 30,000 hot meals this Thanksgiving. The tribe expanded the annual donation event this year from three days to five days, the longest Thanksgiving project in its history.
The non-profit organizations that will be distributing the birds in individual communities include the Riverside City Mission, the Second Harvest Food Bank, Salvation Army, Carol’s Kitchen, the Los Angeles Mission and numerous American Legion and VFW posts, churches and local elementary schools. The Morongo tribe’s gift is the largest turkey donation in California and one of the largest in the nation.
“The Morongo tribe is delighted to be partnering with so many charitable and community service organizations,” said Tsosie. “We are grateful for their help in making this program such a success.”
The weeklong turkey outreach kicks off on Monday, November 14th with more than 100 tribal volunteers and staff packaging turkeys for distribution at the Morongo Community Center. Deliveries Monday will include the Second Harvest Food Bank in Riverside, St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in Sun City, and the Salvation Army in Riverside.
Outreach continues with deliveries on Tuesday, November 15th to children at the Mecca School in Coachella, Cabazon Elementary School in Cabazon, the Torres Martinez tribe in Thermal, and the Los Angeles Mission in downtown Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, November 16th, deliveries will take place at Central Elementary School and Hoffer Elementary School in Banning,
On Thursday and Friday, organizations including the GI Forum for Vets in Need, Inland AIDS Project, New Praise Chapel, Riverside County Fire Dept., Morongo Faith Chapel/Red Barn and Joseph’s Storehouse will be picking up hundreds of turkeys at the Morongo Community Center starting at 10:00 a.m. each day through noon.
“The Morongo tribe has always had a tradition of sharing in good times and in bad,” said Tsosie. “Indian people know what difficult times are like. We remember when people shared with us and this is our way of thanking our friends, neighbors and our community.”
The Thanksgiving outreach is part of a year-round program of giving by the Morongo tribe which supports community organizations, charities and other non-profits serving the Inland Empire and beyond. Morongo gives more than $2 million annually to a diverse network of non-profit organizations.

CNIGA Member Tribes Disappointed by Governor’s Budget Objections

2005/07/12

CNIGA Member Tribes Disappointed by Governor’s Budget Objections

2005/07/12

On September 10, 1999 sixty-one tribal governments signed compacts with the State of California that promised local governments funds to mitigate the off-reservation effects of tribal government gaming such as increased fire and police protection, road improvements, and other local services. Although tribal governments are not required by federal law to share revenue with local and state governments, tribes have kept that promise by making payments into the Special Distribution Fund created in the compact.
Yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger objected to budget line item 0855-101-0367 which would have allocated an additional $20 million of mitigation funds to local governments from the Special Distribution Fund.
“The 64 federally recognized member tribes of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association are deeply disappointed that the Governor chose to deprive local governments from the funds they were promised and instead decided to hold the funds in a reserve account, said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda. CNIGA calls upon the Governor to follow through with the promise made to local governments by both the State of California and the tribal governments when they entered into these compacts by releasing the funds to be allocated as intended.”
BACKGROUND
On September 10, 1999, sixty-one tribal governments entered into gaming compacts with the State of California. These compacts unanimously approved by the California State Legislature and were approved by the Department of the Interior on May 16, 2000. The compacts expire in May of 2020.
Contained in these compacts was a provision for tribes to pay into a fund titled the Special Distribution Fund (SDF). These funds are to be used for to reimburse local governments impacted by off-reservation effects of tribal gaming, problem gambling treatment and prevention programs, and to pay
the state for regulatory costs. Money from the fund may also be used to make up for shortfalls in a second Revenue Sharing Trust Fund through which gaming tribes share revenues with non-gaming tribal governments and those with limited gaming.
ABOUT CNIGA
Representing 64 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Names Ralph Simon, Jr. Executive Director

2005/07/07

CNIGA Names Ralph Simon, Jr. Executive Director

2005/07/07

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association announced today that the membership has selected an Executive Director. Ralph Simon, Jr., who has actively practiced law in corporate, private and tribal government fields for the past 25 years, began employment on the first of July.
“After an exhaustive search, we concluded that Mr. Simon was the best candidate for the position. We look forward to putting Mr. Simon’s extensive experience and professionalism to work as CNIGA continues its mission of protecting the right of tribal governments to conduct gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands,” said Anthony Miranda, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
As Executive Director, Mr. Simon will be responsible for the overall management and implementation of the policies and programs established by the CNIGA membership and executive committee.
“I am excited to join this prestigious tribal organization,” said Simon. I grew up on an Indian reservation and have seen first hand the positive changes Indian gaming has brought to reservations and surrounding communities, such as providing jobs, educational opportunities, health care, housing and other necessities that bring hope for a brighter future. I look forward to working with CNIGA’s member tribes, tribal organizations, and local, state and federal officials to continue the progress California tribal governments have made in recent years.”
Mr. Simon is a member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas. His prior experience includes serving as Supreme Court Justice of his tribe, Executive Director of the tribe’s Gaming Commission, legal counsel to both the Kickapoo Tribe and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and he has served as President and as a Director of the Kansas and Oklahoma based American Indian Chambers of Commerce. He has extensive experience in Indian law, gaming law, constitutional law, economic development, employment law, and the regulation and operation of tribal casinos.
About CNIGA
Representing 64 member tribes, CNIGA is the largest association of California federally recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

News Advisory: Evolution of California’s Tribal Governments – Historical Display

2005/05/18

News Advisory: Evolution of California’s Tribal Governments – Historical Display

2005/05/18

WHAT: Reception celebrating the opening of a historical exhibit about California’s Tribes. Titled “The Evolution of California’s Tribal Governments,” the exhibit will chronicle the history of tribes throughout California. Every tribe celebrates their own tribal customs, cultures and histories. The display will showcase the common experience of Native Americans in California – past, present and future. Attendees will be able to view historical images, cultural artifacts and an extensive timeline chronicling the history of California’s first people. Native American bird singers and traditional dancers will be on hand to perform tribal dances.
WHO: Presented by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association
WHERE: California State Capitol Building – Second Floor Rotunda
WHEN: Wednesday, May 18
5:00 PM Opening Blessing
Phyllis Cleveland – Ione Band of Miwok Indians
Ken Gilbert, CNIGA Treasurer – Concow Maidu Mooretown Rancheria
Lorraine Laiwa – Manchester Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians
5:05 PM Welcome & Appreciation
Anthony Miranda
Chairman – California Nations Indian Gaming Association
5:10 PM Invited Speakers to Address Delegation
5:45 PM Traditional Tribal Dances Performed on the West Steps
of the Capitol Building

Indian Gaming Jobs Surpass 50,000

2005/04/26

Indian Gaming Jobs Surpass 50,000

2005/04/26

Job growth created by California Indian casinos and their tribal governments grew by nearly 14% for the year ending March 2005, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association announced today.
Preliminary statistics supplied by the California Employment Development Department also revealed tribes employed 50,800 workers in March 2005, up .2% from the previous month and 13.9% over March 2004.
“Tribal governments are proud of the employment growth and the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and economic development being generated from our government gaming activities,” said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda
“Wages paid to these employees are spent within local communities many times over and in turn create even more jobs,” Miranda said. “By most estimates, for every job created at an Indian casino, two or three other non-casino jobs are created in surrounding communities.”
Statewide, unemployment was 5.4% in March. That figure is down from 5.8% in February. According to the California Employment Development Department, this is the lowest unemployment rate since July 2001, when the rate was also 5.4%.
Miranda said tribal governments are committed to the continued creation of jobs and economic development in California.

State of the Tribal Nations Address – Text

2005/01/26

State of the Tribal Nations Address – Text

2005/01/26

A Decade of Progress
Good morning.
I am Anthony Miranda, a proud member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
Thank you, Chairman Milanovich, for your kind words, and your gracious hospitality.
Before we begin, I respectfully ask that we take a moment of silence to remember our ancestors and the Indian warriors who came before us. People like Cheryl Grahn of Rincon, Mabel McKay of Rumsey, Chairman Peter Siva of Agua Caliente, Billy Todd of Pechanga, John Welmas of Cabazon, and so many others who fought to preserve and secure the rights we have today. If not for their determination and sacrifices, none of us would be in this room today. May their courage, strength, and values serve as an example for all of us.
I also ask that you keep in your hearts and prayers the men and women of the Armed Forces, who today are defending our freedoms throughout the world.
Please let us stand and bow our heads.
– SILENCE –
Thank you.
Members of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Executive Board, distinguished tribal leaders, industry partners, and distinguished guests: welcome to the 10th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference.
For the last ten years, we have gathered at the start of the year to contemplate the State of the Tribal Nations of California, and the Indian gaming industry in particular. This gathering in many ways symbolizes the progress Indian gaming has brought to the state’s Native Americans and working-class citizens.
The site of the first Western Indian Gaming Conference was John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada. Back then, we were not allowed to hold our gathering in our own home state. The event was attended by not more than 30 tribal leaders and a dozen vendors. But the room was filled with dreams and hopes for a better future.
That was 1995.
Indian gaming was in its infancy. CNIGA had no full time staff. Meetings, when they were called, were attended by about a dozen tribal leaders, and they were usually held in the back of a curtained-off bingo hall, not in award-winning resorts.
Nearly all of California’s Indian reservations resembled third world countries. Tribal economies were non-existent. Unemployment was rampant. Alcoholism and drug addiction were devastating our people in front of our very eyes. Entire generations suffered from poor health care. Our youth had little hope of graduating from high school, let alone attending college. Our culture was dying day by day.
That was 1995.
Today, we convene with the wind at our backs; hardened by the challenges of the past; optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead, and grateful for the progress we have made in the last ten years.
In the last decade, we have witnessed Indian gaming flourish into a multi-billion dollar industry that has, above all else, returned the light of hope to reservations and communities that were once darkened by despair.
In the last decade, California Tribes have made more cultural, social, political and economic progress than in the entire history of the United States of America.
In the last decade, we have witnessed the First Americans finally begin to realize the great promise of America: A Better Life.
Thanks to tribal government gaming, our youth are standing in college enrollment lines instead of unemployment lines.
My friends, young adults like Andrew Masiel, Jr. of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians hold college degrees. Ten years ago, Andrew was a high school student dreaming about going to college. At about the same time, the Pechanga Entertainment Center opened.
Andrew got himself into college, and paid for a good portion of his tuition before he received support from the Tribe. Then he went on to Graduate School and earned a Master’s Degree in school counseling. Today, Andrew Masiel, Jr. is Pechanga’s Education Counselor and Director. He has returned to share his knowledge and experience with our Tribe. Andrew, you make us all proud.
Stories like Andrew’s are not unique to Pechanga. They can be found on reservations across California. But there still is a great deal more work to do in this area.
We must encourage young tribal members to pursue college educations. We must bring our educational standards up to par with the rest of America so that our children are able to compete and excel in this new economy.
Today, tribal government gaming is bringing unprecedented opportunity to our youth.
But it of course assists more than just our youth.
More of our people have realized the American dream by owning their own home. Homes are rising on reservations where weeds once prevailed. And with those homes, the hopes of a people rise.
We have made good progress in the critical area of healthcare. Our grandparents are finally starting to receive the quality health care they need and deserve. Our parents are enjoying longer, healthier lives. Our children are better equipped to fight ravenous illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity that have afflicted Native peoples for far too long.
And our progress does not end there. Indian Tribes throughout California are also building health centers that serve the needs of Indian and non-Indian communities. One such facility can be found on the Colusa Indian Reservation. There, the Tribe has built a thriving medical center with a state-of the-art dialyses facility that is also open to neighboring communities.
Thank you, Colusa. Thank you, Chairman Mitchum.
Friends, progress is coming to Indian and non-Indian people alike.
By improving the health and well-being of our elders, we are also making progress in the race to preserve our culture and our heritage.
Good health has given our elders the strength that is required to instruct our youth about our customs, traditions, and history. On reservations throughout California, you can see a resurgence of our language. Children can be found in after-school programs learning from elders the ancient languages and songs of our ancestors.
In some cases, tribes are preserving our history and culture in ways that our ancestors could not have dreamed of. They are employing innovative technologies such as interactive CD-ROMs, the Internet, and other devices to preserve and teach our languages.
And after more than a century of struggle, we have made progress in the urgent need to preserve what’s left of our sacred sites.
Exactly two weeks and one hundred and fifty years ago, Chief Seattle, leader of the Duwamish and Suquamish Tribes of Washington told an agent of the U.S. government his people would retire to the proposed reservation, but with one condition: “that we will not be denied the privilege, without molestation, of visiting at the graves of our ancestors and friends. Every part of this country is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some fond memory or some sad experience of my Tribe,” he said.
At last, after years of pleas, lawmakers recognized the value of Tribal sacred sites. Last year, California codified Senate Bill 18, providing limited protections for our sacred sites. Though it is not everything we would like, it is a step in the right direction. We are making steady progress.
Our ancestors instilled in us the importance of compassion and the custom of sharing the harvest with our brothers and sisters in need of help. It was this tradition that motivated the establishment of the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund in the 1999 Tribal-State Compact.
We promised in 1999 to make contributions to a state fund that would then distribute annually up to $1.1 million dollars to each non-gaming tribe. Our goal was to help our fellow brothers and sisters whose reservations were in such desolate locations, that economic development was next to impossible.
Well, we honored our commitment. And I am proud to report that nearly one-quarter of a billion dollars has flowed to less fortunate tribal governments.
Who says we’re not paying our fair-share?
These desperately-needed resources are being used in the fight against diabetes, alcoholism and other ailments. They are funding educational programs; they are providing housing for families; they are giving job training skills to single mothers; they are ensuring the light of hope illuminates all Indian reservations in California.
But the benefits of tribal government gaming are not exclusive to Indian people.
Today, tribal governments are among the largest employers in their communities. We have created nearly fifty thousand taxpaying jobs for Californians; our business activities have resulted in the creation of at least another one hundred thousand jobs in our state. Rest assured; these jobs will never leave California.
Each year, tribal government gaming generates more than four hundred million dollars in local, state and federal payroll and income taxes.
And that’s not all.
Under the terms of the 1999 Compact, tribal governments will pay more than one billion dollars to the state of California over the life of the Compact. That money comes right back to local governments where these resources are being used to hire more police and firefighters for local communities; they are building fire stations and buying police cars; they are relieving traffic congestion and improving roads; from Eureka to Alpine, local governments are receiving aid from tribal governments.
But there are a few critics out there who would have you believe that all tribal governments are running amok, ignoring the rights of their neighbors. Friends, don’t be fooled by their half-truths. This is simply not true.
In almost every case, tribes have met their responsibilities and have worked in good-faith with their local government to address the impact caused by their development. In a few cases there have been tensions between tribes and local communities.
But let us not forget these Tribes did not ask to be placed on those reservations. These Tribes did not have a choice in where their reservation would be located. These Tribes did not ask for hundreds and in some cases thousands of homes to be built next to their reservation.
The true cause of these tensions is inadequate planning and coordination on the part of the city or county government. It is neither the fault of the people who live there now, nor is it the fault of the Tribes who only want what their neighbors have enjoyed for years: A fair shot at a better life.
But, circumstances aside, we are where we are. And now both sides must work in good-faith to resolve their issues.
In these matters, local and tribal government alike should heed Roosevelt’s policy of the good neighbor – “the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others – the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.”
I am confident that, with good faith on both sides, the Tribes and the local governments will be able to do so.
Friends, it is already happening in many places. I have traveled across this Golden State and have seen Tribal and non-tribal communities flourish side-by-side. I have seen it as far north as Redding, California, where the Tribe and the community each year hold a “Vision Quest” to mutually outline their plans for the future. I have seen it in this county in which we gather today, where each month tribal leaders meet with county supervisors to tackle issues of importance to both tribes and local communities.
We must work harder than our opponents to dispel their half-truths and venomous rhetoric. We must do so because our very existence as independent sovereigns depends on it.
We witnessed this past year, the power half truths can have when left unchecked. “They don’t pay their fair-share,” they proclaimed on television across California. Some people started to believe it.
Card clubs and racetracks tested our resolve and our will to protect the rights guaranteed to us under the Compact and the California Constitution. Make no mistake; we will vigorously defend those rights that have allowed our people to make such great progress.
The card clubs and racetracks have said they will keep trying until they get what they want. Let them. We are ready.
For the first time in our history, the people of California did not support an Indian gaming proposition. For most of us, the outcome of that measure was not a complete surprise, because it was missing a key element that was omnipresent in Propositions 5 and 1A: Tribal Unity. Yes, Tribal Unity.
In those historic campaigns, we witnessed the strength tribal unity can bring to a campaign.
I recognize that some of us in this room and outside may have divergent interests. But we must unite behind those common bonds that make us sovereigns. We must, for the sake of progress, get back to the guiding principles that worked so well for us in 1998 and again in 2000.
For more than a decade CNIGA has empowered tribal governments to act collectively in pursuit of our shared political goals. This large, broad based coalition has accomplished more on behalf of our people than any individual tribe acting alone could ever have hoped to achieve.
Now more than ever, Tribal Unity is required if we are to protect and preserve, for our children and the generations yet unborn, their right to be free and independent Indians. In 2005 and future years, CNIGA will play a crucial role in overcoming the many challenges facing Tribal government gaming in California. The more we stand together, the stronger we will be.
I know there are several tribes who are thinking about returning to the CNIGA family. They see the necessity for tribal unity. To those tribes I say: we want you inside our tent to shape our future together. Join us in fighting to uphold the principles that led to the formation of this great association. Join us and we will welcome you back with open arms.
Our people will continue to participate in the political process. In the days of my grandparents, this State allocated more than one million dollars to bounty hunters to hunt down Native Americans. In their time, this State authorized the public display of Indian body parts at the state fair.
Our people know the profound consequences of political inaction. We know that decisions in Sacramento and Washington D.C. will have profound impacts on our people. The atrocities in our long history are just cause for our political activities today.
But our generation has witnessed the benefits of political engagement. The State of California and our Tribes now enjoy a much more respectful government-to-government relationship.
Our people have traveled a long road to arrive where we are today. This journey was filled with centuries of struggle and hardship. But along the journey, they faithfully preserved for us a treasure more precious than any heirloom: sovereignty. Yes, sovereignty.
The price of our sovereignty was paid for with their blood. The sovereignty we enjoy today is not to be bartered away for mere dollars. It is not for sale at any price. Now it is our duty to preserve sovereignty for our children.
Though many challenges confront our generation, they don’t compare to the difficulties those before us faced.
Our ancestors did not cower from their responsibilities. They did not choose the easy path. No, the heroes of past generations instead chose enduring liberties over temporary wealth.
Now, our generation is called to build upon the foundation that our ancestors poured for us. I ask you: Will our generation help strengthen the house of sovereignty? Will we allow the fruits of their labor to be chipped away, or will we instead raise columns for our children to build upon?
Will we, in our closing days, look back and say we did everything we could to protect our rights, our children’s rights and our grandchildren’s rights?
My friends, we have made good progress. But I believe it is only a start. We have much work to do. This time, it will not require bloodshed. It will only require toil, sweat, and maybe some tears.
I challenge you, tribal leaders, through unity, to protect our future generations’ sovereignty so that they will have the opportunity to build upon the progress we have made.
Thank you.

Legal Experts to Discuss Future of Tribal Government Gaming

2005/01/18

Legal Experts to Discuss Future of Tribal Government Gaming

2005/01/18

Three noted experts on tribal government gaming will discuss proposed changes that could dramatically alter the nature of Indian casinos at the upcoming Western Indian Gaming Conference in Palm Springs January 26.
The panel “The Fight to Save Class II Gaming” will focus on proposed changes by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) on the definition and technical standards of so-called Class II games, over which the NIGC has oversight responsibility.
The panel will be moderated by Michael Lombardi, a former Indian casino manager, gaming expert and the current chief regulator for the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians in the Coachella Valley. Also on the panel will be Terry Poust, a past member of the NIGC and currently an attorney practicing Indian law with the firm of Holland & Knight, and Judith Shapiro, another leading legal expert on Indian gaming who is now a sole practitioner representing a number of tribes.
“The NIGC has gone so far as to consider redefining what the game of bingo is, something that is outside their jurisdiction,” Lombardi said. “The commission is also considering requiring a type of pre-certification of Class II games before they can be operated. We find both these developments very troubling and we will be discussing the ramifications of these potential actions and others.”
Class II gaming generally refers to bingo and does not include banked card games, black jack or slot machines.
Last year the conference drew more than 600 participants and 130 exhibitors. It will be held January 26-27 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
The conference is sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the state’s largest Indian organization with 62 federally recognized member tribes. CNIGA is a non-profit trade association comprised of gaming and non-gaming tribal nations and is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros. CNIGA Director of Communications Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests. She can be reached at 916-448-8706 prior to the convention. Media may obtain press credentials at the registration counters located in the Convention Center. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site beginning on Tuesday, January 25.
Additional information, including a complete schedule of events may be obtained on the CNIGA web site at www.cniga.com.

State of the Tribal Nations Address to Kick off One of the U.S.’s Largest Indian Gaming Conferences

2005/01/04

State of the Tribal Nations Address to Kick off One of the U.S.’s Largest Indian Gaming Conferences

2005/01/04

Anthony Miranda, chairman of the California Nation’s Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), will kick off the 10th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference in Palm Springs with an address on the “state of the tribal nations” on January 26, 2005.
Now in his second year as chairman of the state’s largest organization of Indian tribes, Miranda will review a year in which a number of tribes significantly expanded their tribal government gaming facilities. It was also a year in which CNIGA successfully fought back a statewide initiative that could have given 16 California racetracks and card clubs the right to operate 30,000 slot machines.
The two-day conference is one of the nation’s largest gatherings of tribal representatives, manufacturers of gaming equipment and supplies and others interested in tribal government gaming. Last year the conference drew more than 600 attendees and 130 exhibitors.
The state of tribal government gaming is stronger than ever,” Miranda said, “but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a number of continuing challenges we must face as we continue to use gaming to strengthen tribal governments and provide a wide range of health, education and other services to our tribal members.”
Miranda’s speech at 8:30 a.m. at the Wyndham Hotel, across from the Palm Springs Convention Center, is the first of a series of programs that will deal with a wide range of tribal gaming issues. Panels will include how tribal government casinos can avoid and fight fraud as well as a review of Indian issues during the 2004 legislative session and what can be expected in the 2005 session.
The conference is sponsored by CNIGA which is a non-profit trade association comprised of 62 gaming and non-gaming tribal nations. CNIGA is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros. CNIGA Director of Communications Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests. She can be reached at 916-448-8706 prior to the convention. Media may obtain press credentials at the registration counters located in the Convention Center. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site beginning on Tuesday, January 25.
Additional information, including a complete schedule of events may be obtained on the CNIGA web site at www.cniga.com.

CNIGA Elects New Vice Chair, Reelects its Secretary

2004/12/07

CNIGA Elects New Vice Chair, Reelects its Secretary

2004/12/07

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the largest tribal organization in the state, announced today that Allen Lawson has been elected vice chair and Michael Hunter has been reelected secretary of the organization. Each will serve a two-year term.
Lawson is currently serving his fourth consecutive term as chairman of the San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians. During his Chairmanship the San Pasqual Band has achieved unprecedented and successful growth and development. Valley View Casino is the latest of their dreams to come to fruition for the tribe located some 40 miles north of San Diego.
Hunter is a member of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and has served as a delegate to CNIGA for over ten years. Hunter previously served nine years on the Coyote Valley tribal council where he was the youngest elected leader of the tribe.
Anthony Miranda, chair of the 62-member organization of gaming and non-gaming tribes, welcomed Hunter’s return to the organization’s executive committee and he said Lawson is a great addition to the leadership team.
“The CNIGA executive committee remains committed to carrying out the directives of the general membership and will continue to work to protect tribal sovereignty and tribal government gaming,” Miranda said, “The committee is excited about the future and looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead. We know that no challenge is insurmountable, so long as we maintain a cohesive coalition like CNIGA.”
Lawson replaces Mary Ann Martin Andreas who chose not to run for reelection.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is a non-profit trade association comprised of 62 gaming and non-gaming tribal nations. CNIGA is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

CNIGA Demands Apology From Governor For Inflammatory Remark

2004/10/19

CNIGA Demands Apology From Governor For Inflammatory Remark

2004/10/19

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association demands an apology from Governor Schwarzenegger for a statement made during a campaign rally in San Diego, CA. Various news outlets have reported that while campaigning against Props 68 & 70 the Governor said, “the Indians are ripping us off.”
For years California tribal casinos have been voluntarily donating gaming revenues to local communities. Tribes have willingly entered into agreements with local governments to provide millions of dollars for things such as road improvements, police and fire. In addition, tribes donate millions of dollars to charities throughout the State. Unlike corporations, tribal governments receive no tax incentives for making these contributions.
In 1999, sixty-one California tribes entered into tribal-state gaming compacts that, for the first time, guarantee revenue to local governments and non-gaming tribes. In addition these compacts have provided the only funding for the State Department of Mental Health to assist with the treatment and prevention of problem gambling. To date, tribes have paid over $200 million into the funds created in the compact.
California tribes are keenly aware of the injustice of being “ripped-off” and it is not something we would wish on any people, State, or Nation.
Tribal governments have resided in California for time immemorial. California is our home. We are interested in fostering a respectful, government-to-government, relationship with Governor Schwarzenegger and the State of California. An apology from the Governor for his statement would be a step in the right direction.
We understand why the Governor is actively campaigning against Prop 70, however we respectfully disagree with his position. While we don’t expect the Governor to end his campaign activities, we call on him to cease making inflammatory remarks that do nothing but deepen the lines of division between Indian people and his administration.

CNIGA Leader Applauds Governor Signing Bill to Help Protect Indian Sacred Sites

2004/10/01

CNIGA Leader Applauds Governor Signing Bill to Help Protect Indian Sacred Sites

2004/10/01

The chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) today applauded Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signing of a bill that will improve communications between municipal and California tribal governments and help preserve ancient Indian sacred sites, burial grounds and archaeological sites.
Anthony Miranda said it was encouraging to have the governor and both parties in the Legislature work together to enact a bill that is so important to the state’s 107 federally recognized tribes.
“This bill by no means addresses all our concerns,” he said, “but developing a system whereby tribes and local governments more closely communicate with one another to identify sacred sites at the earliest possible stage is a critical first step.”
“We’re talking about the burial grounds of our ancestors or sites that carry religious significance to Indian people,” he said. “We would hope everyone would understand why we care so deeply about protecting such places.”
A key provision of the bill, which will take effect January 1, 2005, requires local governments to consult with an affected California Indian tribe prior to the adoption or update of local General Plans or Specific Plans. Other provisions make tribes eligible to acquire and hold conservation easements and to allow burial grounds, sacred sites and archaeological sites to be eligible for inclusion in local designated “open space” areas.
The bill, SB 18, was approved by the Assembly 68 to 4 on August 9 with members of both parties speaking on behalf of the legislation. The Senate then passed the bill 30 to 4 before it was sent to Gov. Schwarzenegger.
“California tribes owe a special debt of gratitude to retiring Sen. John Burton and his staff who shepherded the bill through the legislative process,” Miranda said. The CNIGA chair also thanked a score of tribal representatives from around the state who worked with the Legislature during the last year to craft a bill that would be acceptable to the varied interests affected.

CNIGA Executive Director Resigns

2004/09/24

CNIGA Executive Director Resigns

2004/09/24

Jacob Coin, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), has resigned from that position, Anthony Miranda, chair of the association has announced.
“After four years of service to CNIGA, Jake has decided to pursue new opportunities,” he said. “Jake will remain in his position until October 6 and will work with the Executive Board during this period of transition. We anticipate no disruption in the functions and activities of CNIGA.”
“Though his presence at CNIGA will be missed, we look forward to working with Jake in the common struggle to protect and enhance the rights of California tribal governments,” said Miranda. “We thank Jake for his commitment to CNIGA and its member tribes and wish him the best of luck.”
Miranda added: “The CNIGA Executive Board will soon begin a search for a new Executive Director that will help guide the organization through the new challenges that will confront California tribes.”
As the leading voice for California Indian tribes, Miranda said, “CNIGA is a vibrant organization that represents 65 tribes on a wide variety of gaming and non-gaming issues.”

Statement by Chairman Miranda on the Opening of National Museum of the American Indian

2004/09/21

Statement by Chairman Miranda on the Opening of National Museum of the American Indian

2004/09/21

“Today’s opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian is a historic moment for the more than 4 million American Indians in this country. From this day forward, all Americans can learn and share in the history of this nation’s many Indian tribes. The 8,000 artifacts on display, dozens of exhibits and hundreds of thousands of artifacts housed there for study are a testament to the broad contributions of Indian people. Representatives from many of California’s 107 tribes are at today’s opening ceremonies and they take great pride that our tribal stories are told within this museum. Tribes have worked long and hard to help this museum come to fruition and we hope that all Americans who come to our nation’s capital will make the time to include a visit to this one-of-a-kind place.”

Indian Gaming Employment Grows 9.4 % To Far Exceed Most Other Industries

2004/09/04

Indian Gaming Employment Grows 9.4 % To Far Exceed Most Other Industries

2004/09/04

While many of the state’s industries showed little or no job growth over the last 12 months, employment at California Indian gaming casinos continued its rapid growth, employing 46,400 individuals as of August, 2004.
Among industries with 20,000 or more workers, Indian gaming once again had the highest year over year growth, increasing by 9.4%, according to figures just released by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
“Tribal government gaming is proud to continue its role as a leading creator of jobs for Indians and non-Indians alike,” said Anthony Miranda, chair of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “This is only the beginning.”
The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is opening a 23-story addition in December and is hiring more than 1,000 new employees while the Pechanga Resort and Casino is hiring 1,750 people for the expansion of its facilities in November.
New or renegotiated compacts signed by nine tribes in recent months will add even more jobs in the coming months, not just in new construction but also permanent jobs in expanded Indian casinos, Miranda said.
Of 357 industries tracked monthly by EDD, nearly one-third actually lost jobs between August 2003 and August 2004, making the job growth at Indian casinos stand out even more.
“Wages paid to these employees are spent within local communities many times over and in turn create even more jobs,” Miranda said. “By most estimates, for every job created at an Indian casino, two or three other non-casino jobs are created in surrounding communities.”
Additionally, hundreds of millions of dollars are paid annually by tribal government gaming operations in sales, federal payroll, income, Social Security and other local taxes.
“The number of jobs created and the amount of taxes paid to various entities will only continue to grow as Indian gaming grows,” Miranda said.

CNIGA Unanimously Endorses Indian Gaming Fair-Shaire Revenue Act

2004/07/16

CNIGA Unanimously Endorses Indian Gaming Fair-Shaire Revenue Act

2004/07/16

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) has unanimously endorsed Proposition 70, a November ballot initiative that would lift restrictions on Indian gaming in return for 99-year agreements and tribes paying the state the equivalent of the prevailing corporate tax rate on net gaming income.
Meeting in Sacramento Thursday, the tribes took the action following a presentation by Richard Milanovich, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the primary sponsor of the proposition.
Chairman Milanovich urged member tribes to stand together behind the initiative to assure that gaming tribes retain the exclusive right to gaming on tribal lands for the “good of our children and our children’s children.”
Anthony Miranda, chairman of CNIGA, said tribes endorsed what is formally known as “The Indian Gaming Fair-Share Revenue Act of 2004.” He said: “Indian gaming has proven to be the most successful means of funding tribal governments and the services they provide to tribal members.”
CNIGA is a trade association that represents 64 California Indian tribes.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Applauds Governor’s Opposition to Deceptive Gambling Initiative

2004/06/21

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Applauds Governor’s Opposition to Deceptive Gambling Initiative

2004/06/21

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) appreciates that Gov. Schwarzenegger views the race tracks and card clubs’ deceptive initiative in the same negative fashion that we do. We welcome his strong opposition and campaign against the initiative. The proposition is a fraud built on deceptive representations about Indian tribes and where the money from such a proposition would actually go. That deception is the very reason so many groups who allegedly would be helped by the initiative in fact oppose it. We also appreciate the governor’s commitment to protect Indian gaming and the support it has twice received from California’s voters.
CNIGA takes no position on the terms of any tribe’s compact with the state and is not engaged in the negotiation process. Each tribe is a sovereign nation with unique circumstances and any negotiations are a government-to-government matter. We believe any compact should address that uniqueness.

Tribal Leaders and Gaming Executives Expected at Sixth Annual Mid-Year Conference

2004/06/02

Tribal Leaders and Gaming Executives Expected at Sixth Annual Mid-Year Conference

2004/06/02

Tribal leaders and gaming executives from throughout the state will convene Wednesday, June 9 at 9:00 a.m. for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s (“CNIGA”) sixth annual Mid-Year Conference at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. The conference will be preceded by a golf tournament at the Temecula Creek Inn Golf Course on Tuesday.
The conference will feature a series of panels highlighting the technological evolution of tribal government gaming. The first panel, “Gaming Technology and the Law” will discuss recent developments in the legal status of computerized Class II games and Class III style lottery games. Immediately following, tribal leaders and representatives will advise the audience on current and future legislative initiatives effecting gaming technology as well as an update on NIGC actions impacting Class II gaming. During the final seminar, executives from some of the country’s leading manufacturers of computerized gaming devices will discuss current and future games that will be appearing on Indian casino floors in the near future.
Morning seminars will be followed in the afternoon by a “Talking Circle” gathering, lead by Ken Gilbert from the Mooretown Rancheria and Chairwoman Liz DeRouen from the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians. The talking circle is a modern format of old traditional ways by which tribal leaders sought counsel from members of the tribe on issues of the day, and to find solutions to those issues.
To conclude the conference, CNIGA will host a traditional California Indian stick game tournament composed of teams from various tribes throughout the state. Stick games are traditional competitive games among tribal people. The tournament is being sponsored by the Valley View Casino, which is owned by the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians. Prizes include a $5000 first prize, $2,000 second prize, and $1,000 third prize. Registration begins at 4:00 p.m. at the Pechanga Pow Wow Area; there is no entry fee. The tournament will begin at 6:30 p.m. with songs performed by native bird singers.
The Pechanga Resort & Casino is located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway in Temecula. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Monday, June 7th, 2004
Associate Member Meeting
Pechanga Resort & Casino
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tuesday, June 8th, 2004
Mid Year Golf Tournament
Temecula Creek Inn GolfClub 9:00 am Shotgun start
Golf Awards Dinner
Pechanga Resort Casino Eagles View Room 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Wednesday, June 9th, 2004
Morning Seminars & Continental Breakfast
Pechanga Resort & Casino
Hummingbird Hall
9:00 am – Noon
Luncheon for attendees, vendors, associate members
Noon – 1:00 pm
Talking Circle
Pechanga Resort & Casino Kelsey’s Ballroom
1:00 – 6:00 pm
Stick Game Tournament
Pow Wow Area Registration 4:00 – 6:00 Begin at 6:30

Indian Gaming Jobs Hit New All Time High

2004/05/18

Indian Gaming Jobs Hit New All Time High

2004/05/18

Job growth created by California Indian casinos and their tribal governments grew by nearly 17% for the year ending April 2004, the California Indian Nations Gaming Association announced today.
Preliminary statistics supplied by the California Employment Development Department also revealed tribes employed 44,300 workers in April 2004, up .2% from the previous month and 16.6% over April 2003.
“The employment growth and the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and economic development being generated from tribal governments’ gaming activities is coming at a time when the state needs it most,” said CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda.
Statewide, unemployment was 6.2% in April. That figure is down from a revised 6.6% in March. In April 2003 the state’s unemployment rate was 6.8%.
Miranda said tribal governments are committed to the continued creation of jobs and economic development in California.

Tribes Oppose Myers Nomination to 9th Circuit Court

2004/03/25

Tribes Oppose Myers Nomination to 9th Circuit Court

2004/03/25

CNIGA has joined a growing list of organizations across America opposed to the nomination of William G. Myers, III to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This court reviews the most appellate cases dealing with issues effecting tribal governments.
Yesterday Anthony Miranda, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association participated in a press conference in Washington D.C. along with other national leaders to voice their opposition.
As Solicitor at the Department of Interior, Mr. Myers handled the proposed Glamis Imperial Project gold mine in Southwestern California, which would have destroyed Indian Pass, a tribal sacred place. Mr. Myers’ October 2001 Solicitor’s Opinion revoked the prior Solicitor Leshy Opinion protecting Indian Pass. The revocation was expressly relied upon by Interior Secretary Gale Norton to rescind the denial of the mine, so that the mine could be reconsidered. Mr. Myers’ Opinion ignored Congress’ intent to protect the California desert and completely disregarded the rights and interests of the Quechan Indian Nation and its people and other Colorado River tribes.
“As Solicitor General Mr. Myers’ prime responsibility was to advise the Secretary of the Interior of the obligation to consult with tribes on matters of such importance as protecting sacred sites,” said CNIGA executive secretary Michael Hunter, “Mr. Myers’ failure to consult with the Quechan Indian Nation prior to issuing a permit for a massive cyanide heap leach gold mine on acreage that includes lands sacred to the Quechan Indian Nation illustrates his disregard for federal law and government to government relations.”
“Former Solicitor Myers tried to destroy the Quechan culture, history, and religious places without meeting with the Quechan people. The Quechan got no hearing – let alone a fair hearing from Solicitor Myers’ office. The Quechan Nation and tribes across the country are unified in a very powerful way to oppose Myers’ confirmation to the 9th circuit. His confirmation would be detrimental to all of Indian country,” said Mike Jackson Sr., president of the Quechan Nation.
Over 70 leaders and organizations oppose Myers nomination, some of which include: California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Sierra Club, Arizona Wilderness Coalition, Committee for Judicial Independence, Endangered Species Coalition, Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, League of Conservation Voters, National Forest Protection Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Society of American Law Teachers, National Indian Gaming Association, National Congress of American Indians.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association consists of 62 gaming and non-gaming tribal governments. The purpose of CNIGA is to preserve and protect the sovereign rights of Indian tribes including gaming on Indian land.

CNIGA Meets with New Chair of State Gambling Control Commission

2004/03/19

CNIGA Meets with New Chair of State Gambling Control Commission

2004/03/19

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) met for the first time yesterday with Burks “Dean” Shelton, new chairman of the state’s Gambling Control Commission.
Shelton spoke to the association’s monthly meeting and was welcomed by CNIGA chair Anthony Miranda who said he looked forward to future discussions with Shelton. CNIGA represents 62 of the 107 federally recognized tribes in the state.
“The tribes’ relationship with the California Gambling Control Commission is still a relatively new one and there are a number of issues that need to be discussed,” Miranda said. “Under federal law, tribal gaming agencies are the primary regulatory body on tribal lands, but the state clearly has a role too. CNIGA looks forward to continued discussions with Mr. Shelton.”
Shortly after being named to his post by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shelton said he believes there needs to be clarification on the lines of authority between the commission and tribal governments in the state.
The commission licenses key employees who work in tribal casinos. The commission also is the trustee of an estimated $50 million that gaming tribes pay into the revenue sharing trust fund (RSTF). Revenue from this fund is distributed to non-gaming and small gaming tribes throughout the state.
The tribes have also paid an estimated $80 million into the special distribution fund (SDF). Revenue from the SDF is distributed to city and county governments to mitigate the impacts of tribal casinos on non-tribal land. In addition, money from the fund goes to underwrite programs to deal with gambling addiction and to pay the administrative costs of the commission itself.

CNIGA Statement Regarding City & County Relations

2004/03/09

CNIGA Statement Regarding City & County Relations

2004/03/09

Dozens of California Indian tribes have entered into legally binding agreements with surrounding cities and counties that provide for tribes paying hundreds of millions of dollars to address the environmental impacts of Indian gaming on non-tribal lands. The terms of these agreements are individually negotiated between the Indian nations and local governments. With few exceptions, tribes have created working relationships with their neighboring governments. In those isolated situations where there have been differences, tribes will continue to work diligently to resolve them.
In addition, gaming tribes annually pay millions into the state’s Special Distribution Fund which the state distributes to local cities and counties to address any environmental impacts of Indian gaming that take place off tribal lands.

2004 State of the Tribal Nations Address

2004/01/14

2004 State of the Tribal Nations Address

2004/01/14

Good morning.
We meet today as representatives of sovereign nations bound together by history and a bond of kinship.
My name is Anthony Miranda, Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and a proud member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.
We also meet today knowing that who we are, and why we are here, is an inheritance from our ancestors whose sacrifices, great and often untold, fortified the spirit that is the source of our true strength and independence.
At the same time, let us also give thanks to our tribal Elders, whose presence among us is a source of wisdom, and whose courage, and strength and determination have been indispensable to those of us who have been elected to leadership positions.
Our very presence here today as viable, forward-thinking and economically diverse tribal nations speaks volumes to the many generations of our ancestors who worked so tirelessly and remained true to their commitment to pave the way for future generations of Native Americans.
Mere words cannot adequately express our appreciation for our Elders and all they have done. I ask that the delegates now stand and pause for a minute of silence to remember and pay respect to our ancestors, pledging continued fidelity to the example they have set before us.
Let us now bow our heads.
I wish to warmly welcome each of you to the 9th Western Indian Gaming Conference, an annual event sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, or CNIGA.
The size and scope of this conference is a marvelous testament to the tremendous growth our industry has enjoyed in a relatively short period of time.
To the people of California and those who have helped us in our quest to achieve economic self-reliance, we thank you for your valued, ongoing support.
CNIGA is a confederation of tribes working to enhance the sovereignty, independence and self-reliance of each of its members.
The member Tribes do not exist for CNIGA, rather, CNIGA exists for the members. It is in this spirit that I intend to conduct myself as CNIGA Chair.
As an inherent part of the duty of the CNIGA Chair, I am called upon to offer remarks on the state of our tribal nations, including our accomplishments and the challenges that still face us.
After generations of devastating federal and state actions against tribes, we endured, we survived, our heads unbowed, our determination stronger than ever.
Because of the indomitable spirit, the government in Washington, D.C. recognized that tribes should once again be allowed to govern themselves. Ever since, tribes have grown in strength and knowledge, regaining control of their own destinies.
I am here to report to you that today the state of our tribal nations is strong, and that at this moment in history, for the first time since the Europeans sought to enslave and degrade the native peoples, we stride the land with renewed confidence, knowing that our future is in our hands–ours to determine.
For the first time in generations, we are able to replace welfare with diplomas.
Our future is filled with challenges. Attacks on our sovereignty, our tribal economies and our integrity, continue and will continue for the foreseeable future — for as long as we survive and struggle bravely as a people.
Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for tribal government sovereignty.
Indian gaming has provided tribal governments with resources to fund tribal programs, the development of businesses and the ability to participate in the political process, allowing tribes to work with local, state and federal officials.
It has also allowed us to share the bounty of our hard work and good fortune with others, an expression of the traditional compassion of Native Americans, something that has been recognized by the people alongside of whom we live and work. Just ask them if Indian gaming is working.
We must use our resources to help us navigate the political landscape that exists in the state today.
Recently, I have been reflecting on what it means to take responsibility for our own future. These reflections humble me, as forging our own future is an awesome responsibility, one that will require everyone’s commitment.
We must be ever mindful that the actions we take today shape the sovereignty of future generations.
Each action from now on should be carefully weighed and fully deliberated. Passion should be directed by reason. Open and mutually respectful dialogue should take the place of politics-as-usual.
Our relations with non-tribal governments should be conducted in the spirit of honesty, openness, and when appropriate, the spirit of friendship.
We must also remain mindful of the unspoken double standard that exists for Native Americans. Our ability to prosper and care for our people through economic development all too often has its limits in the minds of others.
We should always conduct ourselves as good neighbors and citizens — willing to listen and to talk, but always ready to defend our fundamental beliefs, principles, economic interests and overall cultural identity.
But NEVER, EVER should we permit ourselves to compromise where basic principle is concerned. We must be forever vigilant against those who would seek to divide us, charm us, threaten us, tempt us or otherwise lead us to believe that our security and well-being is to be found in anything other than tribal government sovereignty.
The allure of false promises, simplistic arguments, and division among ourselves may be the greatest dangers facing us. Our history demonstrates that if we are to fail, it will be by our own hand, not by some outside aggressor.
The first of our basic principles is the sovereignty of tribal nations, a power and a right that is our inheritance by nature and history, reconfirmed by decisions of the United States Supreme Court and other branches of the U.S. government.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 is another expression of that sovereignty. The authors of IGRA intended Indian gaming to be a powerful means to promote “strong tribal government.”
Clearly, President Ronald Reagan and Congress viewed Indian gaming as a function of tribal government, seeing it as different and separate from all other forms of gaming that are operated for the self-interest of an entrepreneur or corporation.
Frequent comparisons are made between former Governor Ronald Reagan and Governor Schwarzenegger.
May I recommend that California’s new Governor, who has often said he admires President Reagan, should take a long, hard look at his predecessor’s forward thinking in signing IGRA into law.
The fundamental recognition of IGRA that gaming on tribal lands is a function and right of tribal government, is another point on which we cannot compromise.
Indian gaming is not a business enterprise, such as a card club or a horse track. Nor is it subject, like local businesses, to regulation by local authorities.
We must do everything in our power over the coming weeks and months as we commence government-to-government discussions about the Tribal-State Compact to help educate the public and those in the administration understand these subtle but important differences.
Another principle that cannot be compromised is the government-to-government nature of any discussion about Indian gaming.
Election campaigns between opposing candidates, however important or amusing, play little or no role in the process by which decisions are made affecting Indian gaming. Only government-to-government dialogue is relevant when it comes to decision making about Indian gaming.
Politicians may pander to an unknowledgeable public for election advantage, but they cannot change these basic legal and inalienable truths.
· First, tribal nations are sovereign;
· Second, Indian gaming is an expression of sovereignty and, as such, is a function of tribal government;
· And third, it is a government-to-government relationship that controls the dialogue between tribal governments with any and all other governments.
These principles must be protected as sacred standards of our civil religion. Whatever we do now or in the future, we must not trade away these principles on which future generations will build their security and well-being.
As for our accomplishments, the extraordinary success of tribal government gaming in California is spectacular, contributing to California in untold ways, being the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal economy. Again, we could not have achieved this success without the full support of a strong majority of Californians who recognize and embrace our right to self-determination.
The people of California understand that this is really about people. It is important to remember that the people have spoken clearly on this matter and that they have voted twice for Indian gaming and our right to self reliance.
Since the US Secretary of the Interior published the Tribal-State Compact in May 2000, Indian gaming has grown to a $4 billion industry in California with over fifty tribal casinos.
In May 2000, there were 39 tribal gaming operations with 19,000 gaming devices generating an estimated $900 million per year.
Let us just consider what Indian gaming has accomplished in four years–a record that no other industry can match.
During his recent State of the State address, California’s Governor emphasized the need to make job creation the state’s top priority. We could not agree more.
Over the past few years, Indian gaming has been the only positive contributor to job creation in California.
State employment figures for the fiscal year ended November 2003 show that tribal governments, fueled largely by Indian gaming, now directly employ 42,000 Californians, a nearly 17 percent increase from November 2002.
As a matter of fact, since November 2000 tribal governments have directly created 19,500 new jobs. That’s an astounding growth rate of 187 percent.
During the past fiscal year, tribal government gaming was the only industry with 20,000 or more employees to post double-digit job growth.
These figures do not take into account the hundreds of local vendors and service providers working with tribal casinos that are employing tens of thousands of Californians.
It is estimated that for every job created directly by Indian gaming, three more are created by local businesses providing goods and services for that tribal casino.
Overall, it is estimated more than 200,000 Californians are now employed, either directly or indirectly, by Indian gaming. That adds up to billions in wages, benefits and other payments generated directly and indirectly by Indian gaming.
In comprehending these staggering numbers, it becomes obvious that the contribution of tribal government gaming to the economic health of the state of California is enormous and perhaps unprecedented!
There is, of course, much more to the economic story.
A common public misconception is that Indians don’t pay taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to the National Indian Gaming Association, Native Americans paid $4 billion in personal federal income taxes nationwide last year. In California, Indian gaming generated an estimated $280 million in federal payroll and income tax, as well as over $120 million in state and local taxes last year.
These figures do not even include the tens of millions of dollars in corporate, local use and sales taxes, and the tens of millions donated to charitable organizations and community agencies.
Through the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, established by the tribal-state compact, gaming tribes also contribute an estimated $120 million annually to help 78 federally recognized non-gaming California tribes fund critically needed programs in housing, healthcare and education.
We should all stand tall and proud.
Additionally, through the Special Distribution Fund, also mandated by the Tribal-State Compact, tribes spend more than $100 million a year to pay for the impact of gaming on local communities.
Based on these estimates, California’s gaming tribes are paying more than $600 million in payroll, income taxes and other payments annually.
It is certainly a strange logic to measure progress in terms of the amount of taxes we pay. But by this measurement, the gaming tribes of California are on a roll, and have become so embedded in the economic life of the state, that it is hard if not impossible to fathom what it was like just a few short years ago before the Tribal-State Compact. Judging from these statistics, the tribes of California have much to be proud of.
But, there is still more to this story. Indian gaming has done much to dramatically reduce the number of Californians on welfare, aid to families with dependent children and other public assistance, saving the state millions of dollars annually.
There are also numerous examples of tribal nations reaching out to local and county governments up and down the state through formal agreements that ensure these governments receive tens of millions of dollars in compensation for service and infrastructure impacts.
The contribution of Indian gaming to the state of California is nothing short of spectacular. Why, then, is the future of California Indian gaming, the very foundation of our right to economic self-reliance, once again being challenged?
There are two dangers of immediate concern. The first one was raised by the Governor in his election campaign and again in his State of the State Address. The second is posed by an initiative that would expand gaming to card clubs and horse tracks off reservation lands.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger blatantly used the tribes as political pawns to help sweep him into office. During his campaign, he singled out tribes for not paying “their fair share.”
In his State of the State address, Governor Schwarzenegger again called upon the tribes to pay “their fair share”.
Campaigning as he did against the tribes, rolling out time after time the old falsehood that “Indians don’t pay taxes,” the Governor managed to introduce confusion into the public debate.
From our perspective, the Governor’s concept of “fair share” is amusing and troubling. It clearly shows that he doesn’t understand a very simple fact: that the state does not pay a single dime in compensation to the tribes. Nothing.
And yet, the tribes, as sovereign governments equal under federal law, are expected to provide compensation to the state. Somehow, the hypocrisy of this argument has been lost – especially by the Governor, politicians and the media.
It has become vitally important that we, as tribes, make a concerted and long-term effort to reach out across all party lines, in a spirit of cooperation, unity and respect.
We must immediately move to clarify any misconceptions with the California public who have been our greatest source of support in the battles over tribal government gaming.
What the Governor means by the phrase, “fair share” has so far been left undefined except for those who trade in gossip and rumor. Perhaps we will know soon as the Governor’s new compact negotiator, Daniel Kolkey, assumes his duties.
Mr. Kolkey served as legal affairs secretary under Governor Pete Wilson and negotiated the infamous Wilson Compact in 1998.
Let no one underestimate Mr. Kolkey, who is both smart and tough. He will make a formidable negotiator and opponent. This much can be said of him–we will always know where he stands.
Regardless of the past, we must look forward to meeting and working with Mr. Kolkey in a mutually respectful government-to-government dialogue, ever mindful of our basic principles and of the hopes and expectations of the California tribes and the people of California. Our strength lies in negotiating with one voice, repelling those who would divide us in order to gain advantage over us.
The proposed card club and horse track initiative is being organized by persons and consultants associated with former Governor Pete Wilson.
This initiative should really be called the Gambling Deception Act of 2004 to expand gambling throughout California by the horse tracks and card clubs.
In its current form, this initiative would allow the exclusive operation of slot machines at a total of five racetracks and eleven card clubs. How clever that these same five tracks and eleven card clubs and their investors are the ones actually funding this initiative! Just look at the deception!
This is clearly the first step toward a massive expansion of non-Indian gaming in the state. We hope and trust that the people of California recognize this fact, and will reject the proposal outright.
We must unite and make sure that everyone understands that the card clubs are trying to misrepresent tribal gaming and deceive Californians with this initiative.
The people understand that tribal government gaming is about people and self-reliance. This is something that these out of state corporations do not understand.
It goes without saying that this initiative must be resisted with the combined might of the CNIGA tribes.
The process will be long, costly and tedious, but it should begin today with the effort to undo the confusion that was caused by the Governor in his election campaign by undertaking an education program for the California electorate. The aim of this program is to build good will by dispelling untruths, half-truths and uninformed opinion.
Such a program should also seek to undo the damage by those who are influenced by despicable motives, who have welcomed the Governor’s words as an opportunity to strike at Native Americans and tribal government gaming.
While the State of our Tribal Nations is strong today, we face a number of significant challenges. Indian gaming has been a tremendous asset in fueling healthy economic growth, but our continued growth faces major hurdles.
As Congress meets every year on Native American issues, opponents will continue to attack our sovereign rights, our right to gaming and our right to reclaim our lands.
The situation that faces us today is far different from that which we faced prior to the formulation of the Tribal State Compact in 2000.
Then, tribal government gaming was hanging in the balance, with significant forces arrayed against it, seeking to shut it down. Today, no one in a significant position of responsibility is advocating shutting down Indian gaming.
This is a testimony to the success of our efforts and the importance of Indian gaming to the people and economy of California.
What is now at stake s the continued defense of the vital principles I outlined earlier in my remarks, principles that are the source of our independence and freedom as tribal nations. To protect these principles, we must rebuild and maintain tribal unity. The dictionary defines unity as singleness of purpose or action. As a united front, we increase the power and credibility of all our tribes.
When we began this journey together some years ago, we were strongly united in purpose and enjoyed substantial support from the people of California. The future for our people seemed clear and bright.
As we face difficult challenges, it cannot be overstated enough to say, it is critical to our very existence as sovereign tribal nations and as a people, that we re-capture this important unity.
Therefore, I ask each and every one of you here today, as fellow tribal leaders and as fellow Native Americans, let us re-commit ourselves at this conference to the same level of unity that led to the success of Propositions 5 and 1A, and to go forward together as one, as we face and conquer the challenges that lie before us.
Together, we can ensure a bright and secure future for coming generations.
Thank you.

CNIGA Congratulates Governor on Appointment

2004/01/07

CNIGA Congratulates Governor on Appointment

2004/01/07

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association congratulates Governor Schwarzenegger for moving swiftly in appointing a lead negotiator for tribal gaming compacts. Tribes look forward to sitting down with Mr. Kolkey to begin the process of discussions.

Ninth Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference to Focus on Cutting Edge Issues Surrounding Tribal Government Gaming in California

2004/01/06

Ninth Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference to Focus on Cutting Edge Issues Surrounding Tribal Government Gaming in California

2004/01/06

Tribal sovereignty, gaming regulations, inter-governmental cooperation and media coverage will be among the issues discussed at the 9th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference, Jan. 13-15, at the Wyndham Hotel and Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs.
The event is sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, a non-profit group of tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to game on Indian lands.
Tribal leaders from throughout California will be attending what promises to be the largest conference and trade show in WICG history. More than 1,000 tribal members, gaming industry executives, regulators and others are expected to attend this year’s event.
Exhibits featuring the latest gaming industry technology will be on display in the spacious convention center. More than 130 exhibitors are expected to participate in this year’s event.
Seminars will focus on many of the cutting edge issues surrounding tribal government gaming in California and throughout the country. CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda will deliver a “State of Tribal Nations” address Wednesday morning, Jan. 14, at the Wyndham Hotel, the host resort for WIGC.
“Gaming has provided American Indians with a great opportunity to rebuild tribal nations nearly destroyed by generations of poverty and neglect, but we also face a myriad of challenges,” Miranda says. “This year’s conference will address head-on both the opportunities and challenges.
“Anyone involved in the operational side of the industry or interested in the politics, economic and cultural aspects of tribal government gaming will find the exhibits and two days of seminars rewarding and informative.”
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Wednesday, January 14 & Thursday, January 15.

Tribes Agree with Governor on Jobs

2004/01/06

Tribes Agree with Governor on Jobs

2004/01/06

Agreeing with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that increasing jobs should be the state’s top priority, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) today underscored that Indian gaming casinos have created 42,000 new jobs in recent years.
Anthony Miranda, chair of CNIGA, said he agreed with the governor that jobs and job growth are the key to solving the state’s budget problems.
“During the recent recession, when most industries and companies were cutting jobs, Indian gaming has been the only job sector to grow in dramatic fashion,” Miranda said. “Those new jobs, most of them held by non-Indians, were created around the state and the salaries paid to workers have had a positive economic ripple throughout the economy.”
In responding to comments made by the governor in his “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Legislature, Miranda said “California’s Indian gaming tribes are eager to meet with the negotiator to be appointed by the governor so that we can discuss gaming issues.”

U.S. 9th Circuit Court Upholds Constitution’s Restricting Gaming to Indian Tribal Lands

2003/12/23

U.S. 9th Circuit Court Upholds Constitution’s Restricting Gaming to Indian Tribal Lands

2003/12/23

California voters’ approval of Proposition 1A in 2000, which restricting gaming to Indian tribal lands, violated no federal law, even though it gave Indian tribes the exclusive right to operate casinos, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.
The decision Monday by a three-judge panel upheld a July 2002 ruling by the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California which found Proposition 1A to be constitutionally sound and rejected a lawsuit by a small group of California card room operators.
Both courts found the state’s decision to permit tribal casinos violates neither the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, nor the U.S. constitutional guarantee of equal protection.
“California Indian communities are deeply gratified to see two federal courts have now upheld the overwhelming mandate of California voters for Indian self-reliance,” said Jacob Coin, executive director of CNIGA. “We are grateful to the millions of Californians and thousands of organizations that gave us their support and commitment. With this legal challenge behind us, California Indian tribes can continue on our path to self-reliance.
“The lawsuit brought by the card clubs sought to expand gaming beyond state and federal limits and to destroy the progress that the tribes and the state have made since Indian gaming was approved by voters.”
However, the three-judge panel soundly rejected all the plaintiff’s arguments and held that Indian gaming in California is “rationally related to the federal government’s interest in fostering tribal self government.”
It is clear to us that the overwhelming majority of Californians want to see the limited and regulated tribal gaming authorized in Proposition 1A continue uninterrupted.
Thanks to Proposition 1A, Indian gaming is transforming the lives of California Indians and is allowing us to provide better health-care, housing and education for our people. We continue to be grateful to the millions of Californians and thousands of organizations that have supported California’s tribes’ efforts toward self reliance and self sufficiency.

Miranda Elected Chairman of California Nations Indian Gaming Association

2003/12/04

Miranda Elected Chairman of California Nations Indian Gaming Association

2003/12/04

Anthony Miranda was elected chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association at the organization’s annual meeting Wednesday at the Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Miranda, CNIGA’s executive secretary for the past two years, is a member of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and serves as vice president of the tribe’s economic development corporation.
Miranda replaces Brenda Soulliere, CNIGA’s chairwoman for the past two years. Soulliere is a member of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in Indio.
The position of CNIGA executive secretary will be filled in a special election at the association’s monthly membership meeting in January.
Ken Gilbert, a member of the Mooretown Rancheria in Oroville, was re-elected to a second two-year term as CNIGA treasurer.
CNIGA is an association of 57 tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to game on Indian lands.

Gallardo to Join CNIGA as Legislative Director

2003/11/17

Gallardo to Join CNIGA as Legislative Director

2003/11/17

Chris L. Gallardo, senior consultant with the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, has accepted the position of legislative director for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
Gallardo, 36, will begin his duties with CNIGA Monday, November 17.
“We are very pleased that Chris has agreed to join the CNIGA family,” said CNIGA Executive Director Jacob Coin. “We have great confidence in his ability and knowledge and we are certain he will do an excellent job representing CNIGA and our member tribes.”
CNIGA is a non-profit organization comprised of 57 federally recognized tribal governments. The association is dedicated to protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.
Gallardo, who served three years with the Assembly Business and Professions Committee under the direction of Assembly member Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), will oversee all legislation affecting tribal government gaming in California.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to do what I can to protect tribal sovereignty and the right to game,” Gallardo said.
Prior to working with the state Assembly Gallardo served as program manager for La Coopertiza Campesina De California, a non-profit advocate group for migrant workers and children.
Gallardo has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor of science degree in criminology, both from National University, La Jolla.
Gallardo and his wife, Denise, have three children and live in Sacramento.

Disaster Fund Created for Tribes Devastated by Fires

2003/10/29

Disaster Fund Created for Tribes Devastated by Fires

2003/10/29

October 29, 2003, Sacramento, CA – A disaster relief fund has been established for California tribes and tribal members victimized by devastating fires throughout Southern California. The fund is being established at the Borrego Springs Bank in La Mesa by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
A number of tribes were particularly hard hit by the flames.
Sixty-seven of 68 homes on the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians reservation were destroyed and two people were reportedly killed when fire swept Valley Center.
Forty homes and two small buildings were destroyed on the Barona Band of Mission Indians reservation near Lakeside. The tribal hall and daycare center were spared. All residents of the Barona Band of Mission Indians are safe and accounted for.
Twenty homes were lost on the Rincon San Luiseño Band of Mission Indians reservation in Valley Center. Ninety-eight percent of the vegetation on the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians reservation near Patton was destroyed, leaving the hillside reservation subject to potentially devastating erosion. Half of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians reservation near Alpine was burned, but fortunately no structures were destroyed.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to these and other tribes that suffered so greatly in the fires,” said Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
The fund is being established to provide immediate assistance to tribes directly impacted by the fires. It will be a permanent fund for future disasters.
Persons wishing to contribute are asked to make checks out to:
The Disaster Relief Fund for Tribes
Borrego Springs Bank
ATTN: Joanne McBride
7777 Alvarado Road, Suite 114
La Mesa, CA 91941

“Tumbling Dice’ – ‘I Couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to die.’

2003/10/14

“Tumbling Dice’ – ‘I Couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to die.’

2003/10/14

The daily, 1 ½-hour drives to Atlantic City casinos often left John heading for home at 4 a.m., nodding out behind the wheel. “I really think it’s a miracle something really bad didn’t happen to me,” said the recovering gambling addict. “It was an incomprehensible, demoralizing disease.”
“The gambling, the stealing, the cheating,” said Bernard, 22, another recovering problem gambler. “It was a pathetic attempt not to face life.”
“I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” recalls Sandy, 46. “I wanted to die.”
Compelling stories by these and other recovering gambling addicts Monday in the state Capitol Building in Sacramento highlighted the opening of California’s first annual Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.
Titled “Tumbling Dice,” this weeklong series of symposiums, panel discussions and workshops featuring the nation’s leading experts on gambling addiction will continue 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the Camilla Room of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento. Panel discussions will focus on the causes and treatment of gambling addiction and what California is doing to confront the problem.
Tribal leaders, health care professionals, gambling industry executives, elected officials and members of the press are encouraged to attend Wednesday’s sessions and a concluding series of seminars beginning 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula. Events are free and no advanced registration is required.
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Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, and Philip Satre, chairman, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., will deliver keynote speeches at Friday’s event in Temecula.
Panel discussions on Friday will focus on the response by tribal governments to gambling addiction. The daylong session will also include a workshop on how employees can respond to customers with problems.
“Tumbling Dice” is sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and the California Council on Problem Gambling.
Persons seeking additional information should contact CNIGA or the CCPG.
Schedule of Events:
10 -11 a.m. IDENTIFYING AND DEFINING THE PROBLEM
Public and scientific debate on the cause and treatment of problem and pathological gambling has intensified with the nationwide spread of legal gambling to 47 of the 50 states. Experts in the field discuss what we know, and don’t know, about the cause and treatment of this largely mysterious and growing public health problem.
Moderator: Rachel Volberg, president, Gemini Research
Panelists: Joanna Franklin, director of training and development, Trimeridian
Tim Fong, director, UCLA Impulse Disorders Clinic
11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH TO PROBLEM GAMBLING
States have used a variety of approaches in confronting problem and pathological gambling. Experts in the field discuss what prevention, awareness and treatment strategies work, and which ones don’t.
Moderator: John Gilligan, senior staff clinician, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates
Panelists: Francis Biagioli, executive office, Iowa Gambling Treatment Program
Jeffrey Marotta, problem gambling services manager, Oregon Department of Human Services
12:30-1:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. CALIFORNIA CONFRONTS THE PROBLEM
Tribal governments, the state of California and the non-profit California Council on Problem Gambling are working together to provide help for the state’s problem and pathological gamblers. Those involved discuss what is being done.
Moderator: Dr. Richard Rosenthal, director, UCLA Center for Gambling Studies
Panelists: David Monti, assistant deputy director, prevention services, California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
Jacob Coin, executive director, California Nations Indian Gaming Association
Bebe Smith, executive director, California Council on Problem Gambling

‘Tumbling Dice’ – Youth Gambling Researchers and Victims Discuss Addiction Oct. 13 at State Capitol Building

2003/10/06

‘Tumbling Dice’ – Youth Gambling Researchers and Victims Discuss Addiction Oct. 13 at State Capitol Building

2003/10/06

October 6, 2003, Sacramento, CA.– The nation’s leading experts in the field of gambling addiction among teen-agers and young adults will discuss the issue Monday, Oct. 13, in the first in a series of symposiums in California’s first annual Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.
Jeffrey Derevensky, professor of child psychology, McGill International Centre for Youth Gambling, McGill University, Montreal; Dan Romer, director of the Institute for Adolescent Risk Communication, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania; and Ken Winters, director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, University of Minnesota, will participate in the panel discussion “Pathological Gambling Among Teenagers,” which will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 4203 in the State Capitol Building.
The session will be followed at 11:30 a.m. by “Recovery Roundtable,” at which those who have struggled with problem and pathological gambling will discuss addiction and recovery.
Titled “Tumbling Dice,” the series of symposiums and panel discussions on gambling addiction will continue on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, and conclude on Friday, Oct. 17, with a symposium at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.
“Gambling disorders among young people is a growing concern among specialists in the field of problem and pathological gambling, and we are pleased at the opportunity to draw public attention to this matter,” says Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. CNIGA is sponsoring the week-long series of events in cooperation with the California Council on Problem Gambling.
The ‘Gambling Roundtable’ is expected to be particularly compelling, as those who have struggled with gambling addiction share their experiences. “These people are extraordinary because they are willing to publicly reveal their innermost selves. By doing this they are able to carry a message of hope to the problem/pathological gambler and their families who are still suffering.” says CCPG President Bruce Roberts. “Once you have heard their stories, you will not soon forget them.”
Tribal leaders, gambling industry executives, elected officials, health care professionals and representatives of the press are encouraged to attend.
Sponsors do request, however, that during the “Gambling Roundtable” television and still cameras be positioned behind participants in the panel discussion to protect their anonymity.
Persons wishing additional information about the Oct. 13 seminars and other events in connection with Responsible Gambling Awareness Week are urged to contact CNIGA or CCPG.

Tumbling Dice – Macarro Satre to Keynote Tribal Problem Gambling Conference Luncheon Oct. 13 in Temecula

2003/09/24

Tumbling Dice – Macarro Satre to Keynote Tribal Problem Gambling Conference Luncheon Oct. 13 in Temecula

2003/09/24

Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, and Philip Satre, chairman of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., will keynote the first annual Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, Oct. 13-17, in Sacramento and Temecula.
The two will address an Oct. 17 luncheon at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.
“We are certainly pleased and honored that these distinguished individuals will participate in this important event,” said Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. CNIGA is co-sponsoring the event with the California Council on Problem Gambling.
“Chairman Macarro and Mr. Satre both have a sincere and deep commitment to an increased understanding of addiction in this country. That’s what this weeklong series of conferences is all about.”
Macarro has served on the Pechanga Tribal Council since 1992 and has been chairman since 1995. Satre was named president of Harrah’s in 1984 and has been chairman since 1997.
Titled “Tumbling Dice,” the event will consist of three days of panel discussions, workshops and seminars at which the nation’s leading experts will discuss problem gambling.
Topics will include the science of impulse control disorders and what can be done to treat problem and pathological gamblers. Tribal leaders and state officials also will discuss what tribal and state government leaders are doing to confront this public health problem.
Sessions will be held Oct. 13 at the state Capitol in Sacramento; Oct. 15 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento; and Oct. 17 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.
Treatment specialists, tribal leaders, state officials, casino executives and employees and members of the press are encouraged to attend the sessions at no charge.
Persons seeking further information or a schedule of events are urged to contact CNIGA and the CCPG.

Schwarzenegger Far Off the Mark on Tribal Governments

2003/09/23

Schwarzenegger Far Off the Mark on Tribal Governments

2003/09/23

– Tribal casinos are government enterprises, similar to state lotteries, municipal and county airports and hospitals and other revenue generating government activities, and as such are not required by law to pay taxes.
Yet virtually all revenues from tribal government casinos are used to provide government services for tribal members.
Film actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican candidate in the Oct. 7 recall election in California, ignores these basic facts in a television advertisement that began running statewide on Monday afternoon.
“Mr. Schwarzenegger’s misstatements come as no surprise to those who have been following his campaign,” Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, said Tuesday.
“But his erroneous remarks, which exhibit a complete and almost frightening lack of understanding of the legal status of Indians and tribal governments, are hurtful to California’s more than 300,000 Native Americans.”
Schwarzenegger says in his television advertisement, “Their casinos make billions, yet pay no taxes and virtually nothing to the state.”
As government operations, tribal gaming revenues are not taxed by other governments. However, revenues from tribal government casinos are essentially taxed at a rate of 100 percent, with all revenues providing for the welfare of tribal members.
In addition, some 41,200 employees working at tribal gaming facilities pay more than $280 million a year in federal income and payroll taxes. Ninety percent of tribal government workers in California are non-Indians.
Only enrolled tribal members living and working on their own reservations are exempt from paying state payroll taxes. Indians living off the reservation pay the same property, sales and other taxes that all Californians do.
“California state government does not pay taxes. Its citizens do,” said CNIGA Executive Director Jacob Coin. “Indian governments also do not pay taxes. Indians do.”
Schwarzenegger also says in his advertisement, “Other states require revenue from Indian gaming, but not us. It’s time for them (to) pay their fair share.”
That statement is false. As a result of tribal-state compacts approved by the California Legislature, tribes pay more than $100 million a year into a fund established to pay for the impact of gaming on local communities.

Statement by Chairwoman Soulliere Following Meeting with Candidates in the Recall Election

2003/08/28

Statement by Chairwoman Soulliere Following Meeting with Candidates in the Recall Election

2003/08/28

When Jedediah Smith and his trappers forged the Trinity River near what is now Eureka in 1828, they encountered the Hupa Indians, a community of hunters and fishermen in who lived in a beautiful valley by the same name, the Hoopa Valley.
Radio carbon dating on fire pits in ancient villages later determined the Hupa people have lived in that valley for more than 10,000 years. They still do. For generations they have lived there as a community. A government. A nation.
The same is true of other California Indians. The Pomo. The Kumeyaay. The Cahuilla. The Luiseno. The Yurok. Karok. Wintu. Yana. Pit River. Maidu. Me-Wuk. We have all lived in this country, in this state, for thousands of years. As governments. As nations.
Today the California Nations Indian Gaming Association was honored to host three men who wish to be governor of this state. As an association of tribal governments, we as a matter of policy do not endorse candidates for public office.
I can say, however, as chairwoman of CNIGA and a member of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, that California tribes should only support elected officials who acknowledge that we are, indeed, sovereign governments. We are, indeed, nations.
Indian tribes in California are not special interest groups. We are not businesses. We are not corporations. We are not powerful political forces indiscriminately wielding our will on non-Indians.
We are governments. We are nations. This is our home.
I can say that tribes in this state should only support public officials who acknowledge the right of tribes to engage in gaming on Indian lands.
I can say that tribes in this state should only support public officials who acknowledge that tribal gaming is government gaming, generating government revenues that, by law, are being used to provide for government services and economic development on Indian lands. They are not profits destined for the pockets of corporate shareholders. They are government revenues.
Tribal government gaming revenues are as much a resource to Indians as the land, water, air, minerals. The tall timber that grow in the Hoopa Valley.
I can say that tribes should support public officials who acknowledge that only if Indians are allowed to function as strong governments can there be economic prosperity for all, Indians and non-Indians alike.
Tribal governments today employ more than 40,000 people. Ninety percent of the workers are non-Indians. It’s no coincidence that this has only happened in the last decade, as tribes exercised their sovereign rights as governments and developed gaming on Indian lands.
I can say that tribes should only support public officials who acknowledge, as we do, that Indians and non-Indians have an opportunity today to forge a historic, government-to-government relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation.
In most communities, this spirit of cooperation and mutual respect between tribal and local governments is already taking place.
Some may not think so from reading newspapers or watching television or listening to the radio, but there are good stories taking place in Indian Country and communities surrounding California’s reservations and rancherias.
After generations of poverty and neglect, tribal government gaming has brought hope to Indian Country. After generations of living as invisible people, Indians are now being seen. We are now being heard.
And I can say, as chairman of CNIGA, that tribes in California should only support those elected officials who will listen.

CNIGA to Host Candidates for Governor Today in Sacramento

2003/08/28

CNIGA to Host Candidates for Governor Today in Sacramento

2003/08/28

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association at its regular monthly meeting will host three candidates in the recall election. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. today (Thursday) at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento.
Gov. Gray Davis, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and state Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, are all scheduled to address the CNIGA membership.
CNIGA is an association of 57 tribal governments and will not be endorsing any candidates in the Oct. 7 recall election. CNIGA as a matter of policy CNIGA does not take positions in political elections.
Tribal leaders will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. in Regency ABC.
No members of the press will be allowed in the meeting.

State to Audit Gaming Regulatory Agency’s Management of Tribal Revenue Sharing Fund

2003/08/16

State to Audit Gaming Regulatory Agency’s Management of Tribal Revenue Sharing Fund

2003/08/16

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee of the state Legislature on Tuesday voted unanimously to seek an audit of a tribal Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) and the California Gambling Control Commission’s management of the fund.
The Bureau of State Audits will conduct the audit and review of the regulatory agency’s management of the fund, which was established by tribal-state compacts for gaming tribes to share revenues with non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming.
Member tribes with the California Nations Indian Gaming Association late last year called for an audit and investigation of the commission’s handling of the fund, claiming checks were being delayed and in some cases mailed to tribes that were not eligible to receive funds.
The request was brought forward by Sen. Jim Battin, R-Palm Desert, and Sen. Jim Brulte, R-Rancho Cucamonga, on behalf of an October motion by CNIGA’s membership seeking the audit and investigation.
“It is clear the commission went far beyond the scope of its fiduciary responsibility as set down in tribal-state compacts and, in doing so, interfered with the government-to-government relationship between the tribes and the state,” says CNIGA Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere.
The joint audit committee rejected arguments from Pete Melnicoe, general counsel for the commission, that the review of fund management was unnecessary because the agency had already contacted with an outside agency to conduct its own, “much less expensive” audit.
“I’m sorry sir,” committee Chair and Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, D-Saratoga, replied, “but in this committee we believe you get what you pay for.”
Cohn said she was concerned that CGCC was not performing its fiduciary duty as trustee for the fund.
State Auditor Elaine Howle said the agency’s contract with an outside auditor called for nothing more than a “fiscal statement” for the commission that did not constitute a thorough audit of the agency’s “management and handling” of the fund.

CNIGA Responds to Torres Martinez Compact

2003/08/13

CNIGA Responds to Torres Martinez Compact

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is pleased that the Governor is negotiating Tribal – State compacts

2003/08/13

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is pleased that the Governor is negotiating Tribal – State compacts with tribal governments seeking to operate government gaming on Indian lands.
CNIGA agrees with Torres Martinez and the State of California that the Torres Martinez agreement should not serve as a model for other tribal governments seeking new or renegotiated compacts.

Growth in Tribal Employment Nears 20 Percent

2003/08/12

Growth in Tribal Employment Nears 20 Percent

2003/08/12

California tribal government employment grew by 17.8 percent for the year ending July 2003, far surpassing all other private or public sector employers in the state, California Employment Development Department figures show.
Tribal employment grew by 2.5 percent in July, according to CDD figures, a month which saw the state lose 21,800 jobs, sending the payroll statewide to its lowest level since the job market began sliding more than two years ago.
With the exception of tribal governments, virtually every sector posted losses, including retailing, transportation, manufacturing and business services.
“It’s clear to see that tribal governments are contributing jobs and prosperity to the state of California at a time it is needed the most,” says Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
“Tribes are proud of what they are providing in the way of jobs and economic development, and it’s important to note that it is being accomplished without a dime of taxpayers’ money.”
Tribal governments employ 40,300 workers, according to the EDD, a figure that has risen dramatically since tribal-state gaming compacts were approved in 1999. About 90 percent of the workers are non-Indians.
Much of the growth in employment is attributed to the evolution of tribal government gaming operations from stand-alone casinos to resorts with hotels and other amenities.
“The growth in tribal government employment is likely to continue for the foreseeable future,” says CNIGA Executive Director Jacob Coin, “generating economic development and creating jobs for Indians and residents of the surrounding communities.”
Employment figures can be obtained at: http://www.calmis.ca.gov/file/lfmonth/cal$pr.txt.

Tribes Outraged at Governor Davis’ Refusal to Sign ’99 Tribal-State Gaming Compacts

2003/07/25

Tribes Outraged at Governor Davis’ Refusal to Sign ’99 Tribal-State Gaming Compacts

2003/07/25

California tribal leaders are outraged at Gov. Gray Davis’ refusal to sign tribal-state gaming compacts for tribal governments that are identical to compacts approved in 1999 and early 2000 by the governor and state Legislators.
The Yurok Tribe of Eureka and the Torres-Martinez Band of Cahuilla Indians of Thermal and others have submitted to Davis’ office tribal-state compacts identical to those approved for 61 other tribal governments. The tribes have been waiting for as long as four years for the governor’s signature.
But a representative from Davis’ office on Thursday told the California Nations Indian Gaming Association that Davis would not sign these compacts.
The move prevents the tribes from operating gaming on Indian lands as approved by the state Legislature, 64 percent of the voters in a March 2000 referendum and by the U. S. Department of Interior.
“It’s outrageous that the governor would ignore the mandate of legislators and a vast majority of voters in this state,” CNIGA Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere said.
CNIGA, an association of 56 federally recognized tribes, voted unanimously to condemn Davis’s refusal to sign the pending compacts. The vote followed an appearance at a CNIGA meeting at the Mooretown Rancheria in Oroville by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, Barry Goode, legal affairs secretary for Gov. Davis, and other Davis staff members. Reynoso is heading a three-member compact renegotiating team for the governor.
“I’m extremely disappointed that there has not been a good faith effort on the part of the administration” to resolve the issue, Yurok Tribal Chairwoman Sue Masten said Friday.
Ninety percent of the tribe’s 4,564 tribal members on the rural reservation are living at or below the poverty level and 70 percent are unemployed. Seventy-five percent of the
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reservation is without basic services such as electricity and telephone.
“I was hoping the governor would live up to his end of the bargain and negotiate in good faith” as required under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, Masten said.
Fifty-three federally recognized tribal governments in California currently operate gaming on Indian lands. Tribal governments in California are, in fact, the state’s fastest growing business enterprise, generating 38,700 jobs, a 14.8 percent increase in the year ending June 2003, according to the state Employment Development Department.
”I don’t understand why the governor would hinder economic growth in the state when it needs it the most,” Soulliere said.
Native Americans are using government revenues from gaming to strengthen tribal governments and build tribal economies. Such was the intent of IGRA.
“This is a classic case of bad faith, a clear violation of IGRA,” Soulliere said. “Sixty-one tribes have already agreed to the compact being sought by Yurok and Torres Martinez.”

California gaming tribes sharing revenues with non-gaming tribes and reaching out to problem gamblers

2003/07/16

California gaming tribes sharing revenues with non-gaming tribes and reaching out to problem gamblers

2003/07/16

Legislation to backfill a tribal government fund established so non-gaming tribes receive a substantial share of revenues generated by tribes with government casinos will be heard this morning before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 930 also would appropriate $3 million from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund to the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs to conduct a statewide gambling addiction prevalence study and to implement a problem gambling prevention program.
The Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, established by tribal-state compacts agreed to in 1999, was intended to provide up to $1.1 million a year to tribes with no gaming or less than 350 slot machines. However the systems created to administer the fund have not been able to deliver the full benefits to the eligible tribes.
SB930, sponsored by Senate Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, calls for backfilling the fund with money from a Special Distribution Fund to assure that eligible tribes get the maximum amount called for in the compacts. The SDF was established in tribal-state compacts to mitigate the impact of tribal gaming on local communities and governments and to make up for any shortfalls in the RSTF.
“Those of us fortunate enough to have entered into tribal-state compacts to operate gaming on Indian lands made a commitment to our Native American brothers and sisters across the state that we would share the wealth,” says Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “With help from Sen. Burton and the state Legislature, non-compacted tribes in the state will be now able to receive up to the full benefits of revenue sharing as was the intent.”
SB930 also appropriates $3 million to conduct a gambling addiction prevalence study and establish the Office of Problem and Pathological Gambling within the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
The office will administer a statewide problem gambling prevention program.
Research studies show less than 5 percent of the adult population experience difficulty controlling their gambling. But California tribal governments have made a commitment to help prevent disordered gambling and treat problem and pathological gamblers.
“Generations of poverty and hopelessness have instilled in Native Americans a particular sensitivity to addictions of all kinds,” Soulliere says. “Whether it is drugs, alcohol or gambling, we will not stand idly by and watch people suffer from addiction. We will do the right thing.”
Tribal governments since 1997 have voluntarily contributed $453,757 to the non-profit California Council on Problem Gambling, more than the combined contributions from the state’s lottery, racetracks and card rooms.
The tribes “have absolutely stepped up” in their support of the council, says CCPG President Bruce Roberts. “We definitely appreciate how they’ve worked with us.”

California tribes ‘outraged’ at Rhode Island State Police treatment of Narragansett tribal chief

2003/07/15

California tribes ‘outraged’ at Rhode Island State Police treatment of Narragansett tribal chief

2003/07/15

California tribal leaders are outraged at the violent behavior Rhode Island State Police displayed Monday in raiding the Narragansett Indian Tribe’s smoke shop.
The raid left several tribal leaders, including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, bruised and bloodied. Six troopers wrestled Chief Thomas to the dirt and handcuffed him before he was led away. Eight people were treated at a local hospital.
“It is inexcusable that a tribal leader would be target of violence by Rhode Island law enforcement officers,” Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, said Tuesday.
“No elected official of a sovereign entity – whether it be the governor of a state, the president of a nation or the elected leader of an Indian tribe – should be treated in such a horrible, hostile, disrespectful manner.”
State police, some wearing flak vests, took seven tribal members into custody after they attempted to block the officers’ entrance to the tribe’s lands.
Governor Don Carcieri described the day’s events as “truly regrettable, but truly necessary.” Tribal members said the scene smacked of the civil-rights struggles of the ‘50s and ‘60s, when police used dogs and clubs to halt sit-ins and protests.
“There’s no need for dogs. There was no need for a SWAT team-type atmosphere,” Thomas told the Providence Journal newspaper. “It looked like something out of Mississippi.”
Soulliere, who was vice chair for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians when the tribal card club was raided in 1981 by county law enforcement officials, said the assault on the Narragansett tribal facility brought back difficult memories.
“It was a humiliating experience,” Soulliere said of her arrest in connection with the 1981 raid. Misdemeanor charges were later dismissed.
“I would think 22 years later non-Indian governments would learn to treat tribes with more respect,” she says. “But things have gotten worse, more violent.”
The Narragansett raid stemmed from an ongoing dispute over the Narragansetts’ status as a federally recognized nation with sovereign rights. It heated up further when the tribe announced plans to open a tax-free tobacco shop against the state’s wishes. The tribe delayed its opening this spring, at the governor’s request.
“The governor of Rhode Island has apparently forgotten that the founder of his state, Roger Williams, was a friend of the Narragansetts,” says CNIGA Executive Director Jacob Coin.
“Williams believed Rhode Island should be a safe harbor from tyranny and oppression,” Coin says. “Gov. Carcieri apparently believes his state should be a haven for tyranny and oppression.”

Tribal government job growth hits 14.8%, topping all other California private and public sector employers

2003/07/15

Tribal government job growth hits 14.8%, topping all other California private and public sector employers

2003/07/15

Tribal governments continue to rank above all other California private and public sector employers in job growth, registering a 14.8 percent increase in employment for the year ending in June 2003, state figures show.
No other industry experienced job growth anywhere near the figures posted by California tribal governments, according to figures released July 8 by the state Employment Development Department. In fact, virtually all other employers have kept employment steady or slashed their payrolls.
Civilian employment statewide rose only 1.4 percent, from 16.2 to 16.3 million.
“Tribal governments are generating employment growth at a time when the state needs it the most,” says Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “These jobs are being created at no cost to the taxpayers of California.”
Tribal governments employ 38,700 workers, according to the state EDD, about 90 percent of them non-Indians. Most of the growth in employment is as a result of the tribal government gaming industry. But tribes are using gaming revenues to diversify their economies, developing shopping centers, automobile plants and other businesses.
The Morongo and Cabazon bands of Mission Indians have launched hotels and other tribes have gaming and non-gaming developments in the works that will create even more employment.
“The growth in tribal government employment is likely to continue for the foreseeable future,” says CNIGA Executive Director Jacob Coin, “generating economic development and creating jobs for Indians and residents of the surrounding communities.”
Employment figures can be obtained at: http://www.calmis.ca.gov/file/lfmonth/cal$pr.txt

ADVISORY: CNIGA Chairwoman to Give Testimony Before Senate Committee

2003/07/08

ADVISORY: CNIGA Chairwoman to Give Testimony Before Senate Committee

2003/07/08

Revenue sharing provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act will be the subject of testimony Wednesday before a U.S. Senate committee by California Nations Indian Gaming Association Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere.
A copy of Soulliere’s written testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs can be obtained though CNIGA offices in Sacramento.
The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Building.

California tribal employment continues to soar as job growth for the rest of the state lags

2003/06/17

California tribal employment continues to soar as job growth for the rest of the state lags

2003/06/17

Tribal governments continue to far outpace all other California private and public sector employers in job growth, registering a 12 percent increase in employment for the year ending May 31, according to state figures.
No other industry with more than 20,000 workers experienced job growth anywhere near the figures posted by California’s tribal governments, according to figures released June 11 by the state Employment Development Department. In fact, virtually all state employers reported a loss of jobs for the year. California tribal governments employ 37,200 workers, according to EDD figures, more than 90 percent of whom are non-Indians.
Statewide employment for May was 14,752,700, according to EDD figures, a drop of 1.1 percent from the 14,988.300 people working at this time last year. The civilian unemployment rate in California for May was 6.3 percent, compared with 5.8 percent nationwide, state figures show.
“California tribal governments are the one bright light in the state’s economic picture,” said Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “Tribal nations are proud to be providing job growth at a time when the state needs it most.”
Indeed, California employers shed 21,500 workers in May, according to government figures, a month which saw the rest of the nation gaining jobs. Job losses in California for the month were the largest since December and mark the fourth consecutive month of payroll declines in the state.
Employment analysts believe California, because of the downtown in the Bay Area technology industry, has become one of the country’s weakest labor markets.
Tribal government economies have for three years led the state in job growth, with employment more than doubling since January 2000, when there were 17,200 workers on tribal payrolls.
The explosion of employment on Indian lands has largely been generated by the expansion of tribal government gaming, which was approved by California voters in separate referendums in 1998 and 2000.
State employment figures can be obtained online at http://www.calmis.ca.gov/htmlfile/subject/indtable.htm.

Tribal Governments Lead California in Job Growth

2003/03/31

Tribal Governments Lead California in Job Growth

2003/03/31

Tribal government economies have for three years led the state in job growth, with employment doubling since January 2000, state Employment Development Department figures show. The explosion of employment on Indian lands has largely been generated by the expansion of tribal government gaming, which was approved by California voters in separate referendums in 1998 and 2000. Tribal governments employ 36,300 workers, according to state figures, more than twice the 17,200 workers on tribal payrolls in January 2000, three months after 58 tribes agreed to compacts with Gov. Gray Davis allowing slot machines and house-banked card games on Indian lands. The number of compacted tribes has since increased to 61. “These jobs were created without a dime’s worth of tax incentives that normally are required by large firms and industries doing business in California,” said Jacob Coin, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “About 90 percent of these jobs are held by non-Indians living in communities surrounding tribal reservations and rancherias.” The growth in employment in Indian Country has come during a period of economic decline statewide, according to labor department statistics. Civilian employment in the year ending in February was up 204,000, or 1.3 percent, according to state figures. Tribal government employment for the same period rose 9.3 percent. “The employment growth and the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and economic development being generated from tribal governments is coming at a time when the state needs it the most,” CNIGA Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere says. While must of the growth in employment has been generated by tribal government casinos, Indian nations are rapidly diversifying their economies, reinvesting gaming revenues into retail and industrial development. Casino income is government revenue that, by federal law, must be used to: fund tribal government programs; provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members; to promote tribal economic development; contribute to charities; and to help local government agencies absorb the impact of tribal casinos. TRIBAL EMPLOYMENT * JANUARY 2000 17,200 JANUARY 2001 26,800 JANUARY 2002 33,100 JANUARY 2003 36,300 FEBRUARY 2003 36,300 *SOURCE: California Employment Development Department

California Tribes Top Other States in Wages, Benefits, UNLV Study Shows

2003/03/28

California Tribes Top Other States in Wages, Benefits, UNLV Study Shows

2003/03/28

March 28, 2003, SACRAMENTO, CA – Employees at California tribal government gaming operations earn substantially higher wages and benefits than workers at other tribal casinos in the United States, a 2002 survey by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas shows. Executive salaries and hourly wages for California tribal casinos employees were substantially higher in 83 of 110 job classifications, according to the 2002 Indian Gaming Wage Survey. Health, life insurance and other benefits offered by California tribes also were equal or better than tribal casinos in other states, according to the UNLV study of 59 tribal gaming operations. Sixteen of the tribal operations are in California with others in Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota and in the Eastern United States. “This independent survey of tribal gaming across the country confirms that tribal governments here in California appreciate their workers, and treat them well,” said Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “Not only is tribal government gaming the fastest growing industry in California in terms of job creation, but these are quality jobs that provide workers with excellent pay and benefits.” The survey shows that employees in mid-management and supervisory positions generally earn more than $50,000 a year. Housekeepers and other low-skilled workers earn far more in California than other states, the survey shows. Cocktail and food servers and bartenders for tribal casinos earn more than the state and federal minimum wage, according to the survey. Tip workers in casino jobs, particularly dealers, can earn $50,000 or more a year. The survey shows that all but two of 14 California tribal casinos responding to the 2002 survey provide health, dental and vision insurance. Tribal leaders told CNIGA that all tribal governments now provide insurance coverage. (more) Forty percent of California casinos responding to the survey said they provide insurance to part-time workers, a business practice that is extremely rare. Seventeen percent offer indemnity plans; 67 percent offer PPO plans; 25 percent offer POS plans; and 42 percent offer HMO plans. Premium costs are not disclosed in the UNLV study. Employees pay from no cost to 20 percent of the insurance premiums, the study shows. Dependent coverage range from no cost to employees to 60 percent of the premium. All the tribes offer dental coverage and 92 percent offer vision coverage. “In terms of the percentages (of premiums paid by the tribal governments), the figures stack up very, very well for the tribes,” says Rick Salinas, assistant general manager for the Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino near San Diego. “If you were to look at what percentage of the premium the employee is paying, both in Northern and Southern California, we as an industry compare very, very well to other businesses. “The employee will get as good a benefits package with the tribal governments as they would get at a major, upscale hotel company,” Salinas said. “I’m looking at Marriott, Hyatt, Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton. I’m talking high end, respected chains that have a good product. “The people who represent our health care providers consistently tell us that we are very generous not only in our plan design – there are very few restrictions in our plan – but in what we ask our employees to contribute.” Chairman Mark Macarro of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, operators of the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, testified at the hearing that the annual payroll for some 2,800 gaming employees exceeds $60 million. A summary of the UNLV study can be obtained at CNIGA offices, 1215 K Street, Sacramento. The complete study can be obtained from Mary Ann McDaniel, wage survey coordinator, UNLV Hospitality Research and Development Center, 702-895-3903.

Tribal Governments Contributions to Problem Gambling Prevention Highlighted This Week

2003/03/12

Tribal Governments Contributions to Problem Gambling Prevention Highlighted This Week

2003/03/12

The contribution tribal governments have made in the education, prevention and treatment of problem gambling will be highlighted March 10-17, proclaimed by the state Legislature as Problem Gambling Awareness Week in California. A proclamation noting the event was presented Monday to Bruce Roberts, president of the California Council on Problem Gambling Inc., and Jacob Coin, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. The proclamation, noting that problem gambling is a treatable public health issue affecting millions of adult Americans, was signed by Sen. Dede Alpert, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia. Researchers estimate that about 1 to 5 percent of the adult population suffer from problem and compulsive gambling. The proclamation states that highlighting the week “provides individuals in the problem gambling community an opportunity to educate the public and policymakers about the social and financial effectiveness of services available for problem gambling.” “Although only a small percentage of adults may suffer from gambling disorders, tribal governments are particularly concerned with issues of addiction and will do all they can to help,” Coin said. A portion of tribal gaming revenues is being paid into a Special Distribution Trust Fund, which over the next 18 years will generate more than $1 billion. Part of that money, to be appropriated by the state Legislature later this year, will go to education and treatment programs dealing with problem and compulsive gambling. But tribal governments since 1997 have voluntarily contributed $453,757 to the California council, more than the combined contributions from the state’s lottery, race tracks and card rooms. The tribes “have absolutely stepped up” in their support of the council, Roberts said. “We definitely appreciate how they’ve worked with us.” PHOTO OP: Problem gambling counselor Debbie Lloyd will be at the Viejas Casino operated by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians in Alpine, Ca., 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday. Contact Nikki Symington 619-588-4017 or cell 619-788-3215. Available for Interviews: vBruce Roberts, president, California Council on Problem Gambling and recovering gambling addict; vDebra Lloyd, training consultant, CCPG; vAndy Asselin, general manager, Viejas Casino vLarry Drouse, director of shift managers, Viejas Casino vSenator Dede Alpert, via phone: (619) 645-3090 # # #

Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission to Speak at the Western Indian Gaming Conference

2003/01/13

Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission to Speak at the Western Indian Gaming Conference

2003/01/13

The new chairman of the federal agency that regulates American Indian gaming will be a featured participant in the Western Indian Gaming Conference to be held Jan. 22-23 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. Philip Hogan, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, will participate in a panel discussion on the regulation of tribal government gaming. “We are extremely pleased to have a man of Mr. Hogan’s stature participating in our conference,” said Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, sponsor of the annual conference and trade show. “His views on the regulation of tribal government casinos here in California and throughout the country are certainly crucial to the future growth of gaming on Indian lands.” Hogan, a nominee of President Bush, is serving his first term as NIGC chairman and his second term on the commission. Hogan first served on the commission as an associate member and vice chairman from 1995 to 1999. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Hogan succeeds Montie Deer, whose term as chairman ended in September. Hogan told the Senate he would be “wise, fair and firm” in regulating tribal government gaming, imposing sanctions as a “last resort.” “It is certainly not my objective to see how many traffic tickets — so to speak — or closure notices I can hand out,” Hogan said. “I want to try to enlist the cooperation of all of the gaming tribes to play by the rules as we see them. And to listen to them if we have a different view of what the rules are or should be.” Hogan previously served as associate solicitor for Indian affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, a position which gave him oversight of legal matters pertaining to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Interior Department’s fulfillment of its government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes and trust responsibilities to Indians and Indian tribes. Hogan also served as the Interior Department’s first director for the Office of American Indian Trust from 1992 to 1993. Prior to his appointment with the Interior Department, Hogan practiced law in Rapid City, S.D., with a focus on Indian law, gaming law and public affairs. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota from 1981 to1991 and received the Attorney General’s Award for Dedication and Leadership in Prosecution of Crimes within Indian Country. He and his wife Marty have two grown children and reside in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Pechanga Resort & Casino is located at 4500 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Wednesday, January 22.

Senator Jim Battin Calls For Eliminating Cap on Machines in Tribal-State Compacts to Stimulate Economy and Help Do Away With Budget Deficit

2003/01/07

Senator Jim Battin Calls For Eliminating Cap on Machines in Tribal-State Compacts to Stimulate Economy and Help Do Away With Budget Deficit

2003/01/07

TEMECULA, Calif., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ — A prominent California legislator believes eliminating the cap on the number of slot machines tribal governments are allowed to operate will help ease the state’s budget crisis. “If the governor is looking for a means to stimulate the economy and create 500,000 new jobs in the next four years, renegotiating the compacts in good faith and, doing away with the cap on machines is one method of achieving that goal,” Senator Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, said this week. Gov. Gray Davis is beginning his second term faced with a $35 billion budget deficit. Individual tribal governments currently are limited by tribal-state compacts to no more than 2,000 machines. Elements of the compacts, including the cap on machines, are subject to renegotiations early this year. Battin is expected to advocate an elimination of the cap when he addresses tribal leaders at the 8th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference which is being held Jan. 21-24 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. Battin said he agrees with Wall Street industry analysts who believe doing away with the cap would generate more jobs and economic development. Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. and other gaming analysts contend it would be good public policy for the state to eliminate artificial restrictions on the tribal government gaming industry. “It would make sense from a public policy perspective that the state provide incentives for the tribe to invest in the properties,” said Bear Stearns analyst John Mulky. Expansion of existing gaming operations would generate additional jobs and revenue, both to tribal governments and the state Special Distribution Fund, which helps pay for road work and police and fire protection. Tribes in heavily populated areas with additional machines could develop casinos into destination resorts. Tribal governments would also be able to further diversify their economies by investing government gaming revenues into non-gaming enterprises, a move that would generate even more opportunity for job creation. Tribal government employment already is increasing at a much faster rate than any other California private or public sector employer. Tribal governments employ 35,800 workers, an increase of 12.2 percent for the year ending in November 2002, according to the state Employment Development Department. No other private or public sector employer in the state reported anywhere near a double-digit gain in employment for the year, according to the state figures. While eliminating the cap would generate jobs and economic development, it is not likely most of the state’s 52 gaming tribes will seek the maximum number of machines because their trust lands are in rural areas. “You would not see, with elimination of the cap, any widespread expansion of tribal gaming,” said Anthony Miranda, president of the Pechanga Development Corporation. “What you will see, however, is more jobs and more revenue to both tribal governments and the state of California.” Battin is one of several state legislators scheduled to participate in the annual conference, sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. CNIGA represents both gaming and non-gaming tribal governments. The eight annual Western Indian Gaming Conference — titled “Sharing a Vision, Building a Future” – is the first to be held on an Indian reservation in a tribally owned and operated gaming resort. The Pechanga Resort & Casino, located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway, is one of the finest facilities of its kind in the country with 522 luxurious rooms, seven restaurants, a health club and many other amenities. Susan Jensen, CNIGA’s director of communications, will be on site to assist with media coverage of the conference and trade show. She can be reached by telephone at (916) 769-5522. Persons wishing to attend the conference can register on site on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Prominent state legislators to speak at CNIGA conference

2003/01/03

Prominent state legislators to speak at CNIGA conference

2003/01/03

January 3, 2003, Temecula, CA – Several prominent state legislators will be participating as speakers and panelists at the 8th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference to be held Jan. 21-24 in Temecula. The conference and trade show, sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, will be held at the Pechanga Resort & Casino. Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, Assemblyman Ed Chavez, D-LaPuente, Assemblyman Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, and Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, D-San Diego, have all agreed to participate in WIGC, titled “Sharing a Vision, Building a Future.” “With tribal-state compacts being renegotiated, it is a time of both challenges and opportunities for tribal gaming in the state of California,” CNIGA Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere said. “Issues surrounding gaming in California will be scrutinized at this year’s conference and for that reason we are very pleased at the number of prominent state elected official who will be participating in the panel discussions.” WIGC has assembled a variety of experts to discuss cutting-edge topics facing tribal government gaming in California and throughout the country. There will be seminars on tribal sovereignty and political issues from Capitol Hill to Sacramento. Experts will discuss the latest in regulation, financing and management. The eighth annual edition of the Western Indian Gaming Conference—“Sharing a Vision, Building a Future”–is the first to be held on a tribal reservation in a tribally owned and operated gaming resort. The Pechanga Resort & Casino is truly one of the finest facilities of its kind in the country with 522 luxurious rooms, seven restaurants, a health club and many other amenities. The Pechanga Resort & Casino is located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site on Wednesday, January 22.

Manfred P. Muecke becomes first attorney in Chemehuevi Tribe

2002/12/26

Manfred P. Muecke becomes first attorney in Chemehuevi Tribe

2002/12/26

Manfred P. Muecke, The proud family would like to announce that Manfred P. Muecke has become the first Attorney in the Chemehuevi Tribe. Muecke passed the California bar and was sworn in on December 4, 2002. Manfred P. Muecke was a $11,000 Grant recipient, AIGC Fellowship recipient, President of USD Intellectual Property Law Association 2001-2002, Class of 2002, Received Juris Doctor from University of San Diego School of Law Admitted to CA Bar – December 2002, Course work Corporate Transactions and Securities.

Thoroughbred Owners of California say gambling expansion is their top legislative priority; Tribal leaders say this would be a violation of public policy

2002/12/19

Thoroughbred Owners of California say gambling expansion is their top legislative priority; Tribal leaders say this would be a violation of public policy

2002/12/19

Efforts by California’s thoroughbred racing industry to legalize slot machines at state racetracks, if successful, would be a violation of established public policy to limit new legal gambling to Indian lands, tribal leaders said Wednesday. The legislative committee of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) has listed legalizing slot machines at California’s racetracks as its top priority for 2003. The committee would also like to increase the number of satellite wagering facilities within the state. “Californians voted overwhelmingly for limited gaming on Indian lands. What they didn’t vote for was widespread private, for-profit gambling, said Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “Funds from tribal government gaming have allowed Indian tribal governments to improve the quality of life on and off Indian lands. Now private, for-profit gambling interests threaten to take away the improvements to the lives of our people and our surrounding communities,” says Anthony Miranda, CNIGA’s secretary and spokesman. More than 65 percent of the voters in March 2000 approved Proposition 1A, a constitutional amendment that allows tribal governments to operate casino-style slot machines and house-banked card games as a means of generating strong tribal self-governance and economic self-reliance. “The public overwhelmingly supported tribal self-reliance in approving Proposition 1A and continue to do so today,” says Anthony Miranda. Tribal government gaming has proven to be an effective tool in generating jobs and economic development both on and off tribal reservations and rancherias, Miranda says. Tribal governments employ nearly 36,000 workers, about 90 percent of whom are non-Indians, Miranda says. In addition, tribal governments are using gaming revenues to diversify their economies. “Tribal governments are using gaming revenues to develop resorts, factories and other businesses that generate even more jobs and economic development,” Soulliere says. “This is government gaming. The intent is to enable tribal governments to build tribal economies and provide for the health and welfare of tribal members and Indians throughout the state. “Slots at the racetracks is commercial, for-profit gambling,” Soulliere says. “The intent is to do nothing but generate even more revenue for racetracks and the thoroughbred racing industry.”

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO SOAR

2002/12/18

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO SOAR

2002/12/18

– Tribal government employment in California for the year ending in November rose 12.2 percent over the previous year, according to the state Employment Development Department, an increase that far exceeds any other California private or public sector employer. No other California employer achieved double-digit growth for the year ending in November, according to state figures. A chart outlining state employment can be obtained through the department or online at: http://www.calmis.ca.gov/htmlfile/subject/indtable.htm. California tribes employed 38,800 workers in November, a 12.2 percent increase over the 31,900 workers employed with tribal governments and businesses in November, 2001, according to state figures. Tribal government employment grew by 3,600 workers in just the last three months. The civilian labor force statewide for the year grew only .7 percent, according to state figures. Much of the growth in tribal government employment is being generated by the new and expanded tribal casinos. “Tribal government gaming is providing employment growth in California at a time when the state needs it most,” says Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, which represents gaming and non-gaming tribes. Employment by tribal governments is expected to increase significantly in the next several years as more tribes exercise their legal rights to engage in governmental gaming and tribal governments use casino revenues to diversify their economies. # # #

TIME MISSES THE POINT OF TRIBAL GOVERNMENT GAMING

2002/12/13

TIME MISSES THE POINT OF TRIBAL GOVERNMENT GAMING

2002/12/13

The recent issue of Time magazine contains a misleading and inaccurate profile of tribal government gaming in the United States. Rather than attempt to deal with each of the numerous errors in the article, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, which represents California gaming and non-gaming tribes, wishes to make the following points. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 was a congressional response to Supreme Court rulings recognizing the inherent sovereign right of tribal nations to engage in gaming on Indian lands without interference from state and local governments. It is not a federal relief program for Indians. IGRA was intended to provide a regulatory framework so tribal governments could utilize gaming to promote strong tribal governments and economic development on Indian lands. It was never intended as a panacea for widespread poverty in Indian Country. IGRA requires that tribes be the primary beneficiary of gaming. The act specifies that revenues from tribal gaming be used for five purposes: to fund tribal government programs; to provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members; to promote tribal economic development; to donate to charities; and to help fund operations of local government agencies. IGRA requires that management contracts with non-Indian companies must be approved by the federal government and are limited to seven years with no more than 35 percent of the gaming revenues going to the management firm. Most tribal reservations are in remote parts of the country, often lacking water, electricity and other infrastructure. California reservations and rancherias have for generations wallowed in substandard conditions with inadequate roads and water and sewer systems. As a result, gaming was recognized by the Congressionally appointed National Gaming Impact Study Commission as the only tool for economic development on Indian land that has proven successful. The California tribal-state compacts include a revenue sharing provision in which gaming tribes share revenues with non-gaming tribes and tribes with limited gaming. This program, the first of its kind in the nation, ensures that all federally recognized tribes in California benefit from gaming revenues. Legal uncertainties involved with the federal trust status of Indian lands has historically discouraged financial institutions and other investment companies from providing the capital needed for tribal projects. Generations of poverty and the lack of educational opportunities for tribal leaders also contributed to the difficulty American Indians have had in acquiring investment capital for economic projects on Indian lands. As a result, some investors have generated extraordinary profits from assisting tribal governments in establishing gaming projects. Tribal and state gaming regulators in California recently adopted regulations that will finally allow tribal governments to utilize the bond market as an alternative source of financing. California tribes are using gaming revenues to purchase controlling interest in local banks. Tribal nations are engaging in creative and innovative investment opportunities with other tribes and financial institutions. Today, more and more tribal leaders have the ability and sophistication to oversee multimillion-dollar tribal budgets, manage complex tribal enterprises and negotiate, as equals, with corporate America. Gaming has enabled tribes to build reservation economies that go far beyond casino gaming. Casinos are providing California tribes with the investment capital needed to develop resort hotels, banks, retail shopping malls, service stations, aircraft manufacturing companies, bottling plants and other businesses. Tribal governments have also become a leader in charitable giving, donating millions of dollars to various causes. Tribal government gaming in California for the year ending in September was the state’s fastest growing industry, generating 35,000 jobs, an increase of 12.1 percent over the previous year, according to figures provided by the state Employment Development Department. Because of the remoteness of many Indian reservations, most tribal nations in the United States have not been able to benefit from tribal government gaming. Several tribal nations have elected not to establish gaming operations for traditional and other reasons. About 200 of 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States have gaming operations. Of $12.7 billion in revenue generated by 290 tribal government casinos in fiscal year 2001, about $8.4 billion was generated by 39 operations. Generally, tribes in heavily populated areas in the country have proven to be more successful. But even casinos on rural reservations have helped tribal governments and local communities by generating jobs and reducing welfare costs and public assistance. Tribal government gaming is generating economic development on Indian lands for the first time in generations. It is providing Native Americans in California and throughout the country with the resources to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights as sovereign nations and to finally meet their basic governmental obligations. It has empowered tribal nations with the means to achieve self-governance and self-reliance. Gaming has given tribal leaders the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and self-confidence needed to enhance their governance capabilities and, for the first time in generations, provide for the health, education and welfare of their people. Gaming has enabled tribes to become an economic force, contributing to the prosperity of those on Indian lands and surrounding communities. It has allowed tribal governments to be a partner in U.S. commerce and industry. It has given Native Americans a voice in national and state politics. It has restored to American Indians a sense of pride and self-respect. It is helping Indians recapture their past, preserve their culture and insure their future. # # #

STATE LEGISLATORS URGE “VIGOROUS” INVESTIGATION INTO STATE GAMBLING REGULATORY AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR DISTRIBUTING TRIBAL GAMING FUNDS; LAWMAKES CITE CGCC AS “EXCEEDING ITS REACH”

2002/12/11

STATE LEGISLATORS URGE “VIGOROUS” INVESTIGATION INTO STATE GAMBLING REGULATORY AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR DISTRIBUTING TRIBAL GAMING FUNDS; LAWMAKES CITE CGCC AS “EXCEEDING ITS REACH”

2002/12/11

A demand by California tribal governments for a legislative audit and investigation into the activities of a state regulatory agency for tribal casinos will get the support of the state legislature, several influential state lawmakers said Wednesday. Tribal governments are demanding a legislative investigation into the actions of the California Gambling Control Commission, which tribal leaders believe has been exceeding its regulatory authority under tribal-state compacts agreed to in 1999. The investigation is to include an audit of the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund account, which was established so gaming tribes could share revenues with non-gaming tribes and those with limited gaming. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, meeting last week in Alpine, for the second time in three months demanded an audit of the revenue sharing fund and an investigation of the commission. CNIGA, which is comprised of California gaming and non-gaming tribes, is the state’s largest organization of tribal governments. Tribes believe the commission has been promulgating regulations and infringing on tribal authorities in violation of tribal-state compacts and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which gives tribes primacy in regulating gaming on their own lands. “I’m confident the state legislature will fully scrutinize the actions of the commission,” said Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta. “It’s clear to me and the tribes that the commission has been exceeding its regulatory reach.” Assemblyman Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, said he’s in “full support of CNIGA’s call for a legislative audit and investigation.” The vice chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee said he will “vigorously pursue the matter.” Payments from the revenue sharing fund have been delayed for several months and the gambling control commission’s own documents show tribes that presumably would not be eligible to receive money from the fund have gotten checks amounting to several hundred thousand dollars. “This issue not only has to do with the delays in disbursements, but the manner in which they are being disbursed,” said CNIGA chairwoman Brenda Soulliere. “This state administrative body has a trust and fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the intended beneficiaries of the fund and we believe they should be held accountable.” More than $57 million has been paid into the account for distribution to non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming. The revenues are generated through license fees and quarterly payments. Tribes also are committed under the compacts to pay more than $1 billion over the next 18 years into a second, Special Distribution Fund. The fund was established to fund problem gambling programs, reimburse cities and counties for the impact of tribal gaming and help the state pay for regulatory costs. Money from the fund may also be used to make up for shortfalls in the revenue sharing fund. A legislative appropriations bill has not be submitted outlining exactly how the money will be spent. Tribal governments are not required by federal law to share revenue with local and state governments. But tribal leaders agreed during compact negotiations to contribute to the fund as a good faith attempt to continue their practice of helping communities surrounding tribal reservations and rancherias. Assemblyman Ed Chavez, D-West Covina, said he wants to make certain the commission has no role in collecting or distributing special distribution fund money. “I don’t want to see the same problems we’re having with the revenue sharing fund repeated when the legislature gets around to appropriating Special Distribution Fund money,” Chavez said. In a separate motion, CNIGA voted to oppose any legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of agreements between a federally recognized Indian tribe and an inter-tribal consortium of federally recognized Indian tribes as it is an infringement of tribal sovereignty. # # #

ANDREAS, MIRANDA TAKE OFFICE WITH STATE’S LARGEST TRIBAL GOVERNMENTAL ASSOCIATION

2002/12/05

ANDREAS, MIRANDA TAKE OFFICE WITH STATE’S LARGEST TRIBAL GOVERNMENTAL ASSOCIATION

2002/12/05

Mary Ann Martin Andreas, a member of the tribal council for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in Banning, was elected vice chairwoman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the state’s largest tribal governmental organization, at its annual meeting Thursday. Anthony Miranda, president of the Pechanga Development Corporation for the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Temecula, was re-elected secretary of the association, which is made up of most of California’s gaming tribes and several who do not conduct gaming on Indian lands. Andreas, a prominent and influential leader in California’s tribal sovereignty movement, said CNIGA will continue to represent many of the state’s tribal governments on issues dealing with self-governance and the right of tribes to engage in gaming on their own lands. The election came during an all-day meeting during which a handful of tribes announced they would withdraw from the association. CNIGA Chairwoman Brenda Soulliere and Andreas extended their gratitude to the outgoing tribes and recognized their right to chart their own course. “The door is always open to them to come back,” Andreas said. “We’re all about sovereignty, and it’s their sovereign right to make a choice,” Andreas said. “We understand that there is tremendous pressure on tribal leaders.” CNIGA will continue to fulfill its mission of preserving tribal sovereignty and protecting the right of tribal governments to engage in gaming on Indian lands. “We have a strong track record in protecting tribal sovereignty and the right of tribal governments to conduct gaming on Indian land in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Our work on those fronts will continue,” Soulliere said. “What remains unchanged is the need to protect our ability to remain self-reliant.” Tribal government gaming is the state’s fastest growing industry, according to the state Employment Development Department, with more than 35,000 employees, most of whom are non-Indian. Tribal government gaming generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year in state and local taxes. “We will continue our efforts to protect the one solution that has successfully eliminated welfare and created jobs in tribal communities,” Soulliere said. # # #

GAMING SYMPOSIUM EXCLUDES TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS; TRIBAL LEADERS CITE ANTI-INDIAN AGENDA; KEY LEGISLATOR CALLS FOR INCLUSIVE PROCESS

2002/11/13

GAMING SYMPOSIUM EXCLUDES TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS; TRIBAL LEADERS CITE ANTI-INDIAN AGENDA; KEY LEGISLATOR CALLS FOR INCLUSIVE PROCESS

2002/11/13

An upcoming symposium on gaming slated in Sacramento for Thursday is deliberately excluding tribal representatives and is based upon an anti-Indian agenda, tribal leaders charged Wednesday.
No tribal government member or federal official was invited to participate in the Statewide Local Government Symposium being organized by a well-known anti-Indian gaming activist and a lobbyist for the California card club industry.
Listed as “hosts” for the event are Cheryl Schmit, head of “Stand Up for California!” and Sonoma County Supervisor Valerie Brown, who also serves as executive director for “California Cities for Self Reliance.” Brown is paid $180,000 by the Los Angeles County cities of Commerce, Bell Gardens, Gardena and Hawaiian Gardens to head the organization, which was formed to limit tribal government gaming in California.
“Ms. Schmit and Ms. Brown’s notion of a balanced approach is reprehensible,” says Brenda Soulliere, chairwoman for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, which represents most tribal governments with gaming. “Their exclusion of tribal representatives in this so called ‘balanced’ discussion demonstrates their bias, lack of seriousness and respect for tribal governments. Excluding tribal participation defies the fundamental notion of fairness.”
Schmit, in an e-mail to CNIGA offices late Tuesday, denied a request to allow a tribal government representative to even attend the symposium, claiming the meeting room is overbooked. “I have 82 confirmed participants,” she said, “all members of local government, state agencies or commissions.”
“It is very clear to me that the compacts are between the governor under state law and the tribes under federal law,” says Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, the author of legislation ratifying the tribal-state compacts. “What this group should do if they want to take part in this process is be inclusive. It is very disappointing to see that the tribes are not being included in this symposium.”
A panel titled “State Policy Jurisdiction and Laws Regulating Tribal Gaming” not only lacks a member of a tribal government, but includes Richard De Cuir, chief deputy director of the California Gambling Control Commission. Tribal governments contend the commission has exceeded its state-mandated authority under the tribal-state compacts agreed to in 1999.
“Tribes are deeply disappointed that they were not given the opportunity to
participate in this discussion,” says Jacob Coin, CNIGA executive director. “Tribes have always responded to opportunities to openly discuss issues of sovereignty and the impact of tribal gaming on local governments.”
Tribal governments take very seriously the impact tribal gaming may have on counties and municipalities. Tribal governments included in the compacts with the state a pledge to pay $1 billion over the next 18 years to help fund road improvements and other services.
Tribal government gaming in California employs more than 35,000 people, most of who are non-Indian. The industry also generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenues to the state. Tribal businesses also spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year for local goods and services.

Gaming tribes begin contributing to Special Distribution Fund

2002/10/30

Gaming tribes begin contributing to Special Distribution Fund

2002/10/30

SACRAMENTO, October 30, 2002 – Tribal governments on Thursday will make their first quarterly contributions to a state-administered Special Distribution Fund to offset the impact of California’s tribal government gaming industry.
The fund, established in the California Tribal-State Gaming Compacts of 1999, will be used to fund problem gambling treatment programs, reimburse local governments impacted by tribal casinos and help the state pay for regulatory costs.
Money from the fund may also be used to make up for shortfalls in a second Revenue Sharing Fund through which gaming tribes share revenues with non-gaming tribal governments and those with limited gaming.
Tribal governments are not required by federal law to share revenue with local and state governments. But tribal leaders agreed during compact negotiations to contribute to the fund as a good faith attempt to continue their practice of helping communities surrounding tribal reservations and rancherias.
“Tribal governments made a commitment that they would help state and local governments impacted by gaming,” said Brenda Soulliere, chairperson for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “We are honoring that commitment.”
Tribal governments have, in fact, exceeded what is legally required under the compacts, Soulliere said. “Several tribal governments from all parts of the state have already committed to pay counties and municipalities well over $120 million over the next several years to reimburse them for fire and police protection, road improvements and other services,” she said.
“Tribal governments for generations have suffered from the impact of growth and development,” Soulliere said. “We did not have the opportunity to do anything about it. We can certainly sympathize with the concern city and county officials may have about tribal gaming. It is for this reason we established a process to enable local governments to share gaming revenues.”
Tribal governments with casinos are being assessed from 7 percent to 13 percent of the average win from each of their slot machines. The accumulative assessment is higher than California’s 8.84 percent corporate income tax.
Funds contributed are expected to total $60 million annually, with increases anticipated between now and the end of the initial twenty-year term of these compacts. By 2020 tribal governments will have paid over $1 billion to the fund.
In addition to payments to the Special Distribution Fund, tribal governments contribute to the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, which is designed to share tribal government gaming revenues with non-gaming tribes. About $75 million has been disbursed from the revenue sharing fund.
Tribes also have voluntarily shared revenues with local communities, charities and problem gambling programs.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs announced in April of 2001 donations of more than $1.1 million to 61 charities and government agencies. The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians in Alpine in September of 2001 donated $100,000 to 10 San Diego County organizations. The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Temecula last year donated $4.4 million to help pay for improvements to Pala Road.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., California tribal governments contributed $1.2 million to the Red Cross relief effort.
“As in every major crisis that this country has faced, we stand with all of America in offering our resources and support in every way,” said a statement by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in Banning.
Tribal government gaming in California is the state’s fastest growing industry. State Employment Development Department figures show that tribal governments were the only employer in California with double digit growth in jobs for the year ending in September. Tribal governments employ 35,000, according to state figures, a 12.1 percent increase over September 2001. Most of the jobs are held by non-Indians.

CNIGA Calls for Legislative Audit and Investigation into the Management of the Indian Gaming Revenue Shairing Trust Fund

2002/10/22

CNIGA Calls for Legislative Audit and Investigation into the Management of the Indian Gaming Revenue Shairing Trust Fund

2002/10/22

October 22, 2002, SACRAMENTO—The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is demanding a legislative audit of the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund that was established by the tribal-state compacts for gaming tribes to share revenues with non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming. The California Gambling Control Commission, which has fiduciary responsibility for dispersing monies from the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund account, said in August it would begin mailing out checks for approximately $188,000 to each of the 75 eligible tribes. None of the tribes have received their checks. “There is no acceptable excuse for the delay,” said Jacob Coin, executive director of CNIGA, which represents most of the state’s tribes involved in government gaming. “CNIGA is calling for the state Legislature to exercise its oversight responsibilities and check the work of the commission.” CNIGA also is calling for an investigation into the commission’s management of the fund. Not only have there been needless delays in payments, there is evidence in the commission’s own documents that tribes not eligible to receive revenue sharing money are getting distribution checks from the fund. At best, this is a reflection of the commission’s inability to manage the fund and compile timely and accurate accounting reports for the fund. “This issue not only has to do with delays in disbursements but the manner in which they are being disbursed,” said CNIGA Chair Brenda Soulliere. “This has to do with accountability of a state administrative body that has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the intended beneficiaries of the fund.” The association at a recent meeting in Redding voted unanimously to seek the investigation and legislative audit of the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund account. More than $57 million has been paid into the account for distribution to non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming. The revenues are generated through licenses fees and quarterly payments. Commencing Oct. 31, tribes with more than 200 slot machines prior to Sept. 1, 1999 will also pay from 7 percent to 13 percent of their net win to the Special Distribution Fund. The purpose of the fund, created by the legislature pursuant to Section 5.0 of the tribal-state compacts, is to finance problem gambling prevention programs; to reimburse local governments for off-reservation impacts by tribal gaming operations; and to cover any shortfalls in the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund. Those funds have been estimated to reach from $40 to $140 million per year. To date, California tribes have been provided with no direction from the legislature regarding who is to manage the fund. “Before we get into the same problem we are having with the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, I think the legislature needs to consider whether this commission should be responsible for that fund as well,” Soulliere said. Contact: Susan Jensen (916) 448-8706 # # #

STATEMENT BY THE CALIFORNIA NATIONS INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION CONCERNING EMPLOYMENT GROWTH IN CALIFORNIA

2002/10/16

STATEMENT BY THE CALIFORNIA NATIONS INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION CONCERNING EMPLOYMENT GROWTH IN CALIFORNIA

2002/10/16

October 16, 2002, SACRAMENTO – California tribal governments were the only employer in the state registering double-digit employment growth for the year ending in September, according to figures released this month by the state Employment Development Department. “Virtually everything else was down,” said Suzanne Schroeder, spokesperson for the state agency. Largely due to the growth in the tribal gaming industry, employment by tribal governments rose 12.1 percent for the year, according to the department’s figures. There were 35,200 persons employed in tribal businesses in August of this year, according to the department, compared with 31,500 employees in September, 2001. Employment in all other private and public sectors diminished or climbed only slightly, a trend blamed on the overall slump in the economy. “The figures show conclusively that tribal governments are providing employment growth in the state of California at a time when it needs it most,” said Brenda Soulliere, Chairperson of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “As tribal economies continue to evolve, there will be even more job growth for Indians and non-Indians alike.” Contact: Susan Jensen, Director of Communications Phone: 916-448-8706 Mobile: 916-769-5522 # # #

U.S DISTRICT COURT SUPPORTS PROPOSITION 1A

2002/07/29

U.S DISTRICT COURT SUPPORTS PROPOSITION 1A

2002/07/29

U.S DISTRICT COURT SUPPORTS PROPOSITION 1A;
INDIAN LEADERS THANK CALIFORNIANS
FOR THEIR CONTINUED SUPPORT
SACRAMENTO, CA, DATE — The U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California has found Proposition 1A to be constitutionally sound and rejected a lawsuit by a small group of California card room operators. California Indian communities are deeply gratified to see the U.S. District Court uphold the overwhelming mandate of California voters for Indian self-reliance. We are grateful to the millions of Californians and thousands of organizations that gave us their support and commitment. With this legal challenge behind us, California Indian tribes can continue on our path to self-reliance.
The lawsuit, which challenged Proposition 1A, was filed by a disgruntled handful of card room operators against the state of California. It sought to expand gaming beyond state and federal limits and to destroy the progress that the tribes and the state have made after a decade of conflict. The lawsuit was a desperate measure to attempt to overrule federal law and Supreme Court decisions that have consistently upheld the constitutional status of tribal governments — not racial groups — to use gaming as a form of economic development.
The court decision affirms the right of tribes as governments to offer gaming and found Proposition 1A to be consistent with federal gaming law.
The overwhelming majority of Californians want to see the limited and regulated tribal gaming authorized in Proposition 1A continue uninterrupted.
The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, California State Assembly and Senate, State Attorney General, California Federation of Labor, taxpayer groups, chambers of commerce, law enforcement, religious and ethnic leaders joined together to support Proposition 1A. The tribal-state gaming agreements, made possible by the passage of Proposition 1A were signed by 61 tribal governments and subsequently approved by the Department of the Interior.
Thanks to Proposition 1A, Indian gaming is transforming the lives of California Indians and is allowing us to provide better health-care, housing and education for our people. We continue to be grateful to the millions of Californians and thousands of organizations that gave us their support and commitment.
# # #
Copies of the court decision are available upon request through our office.
To arrange an interview with a tribal spokesperson,
please contact Susan Jensen at 916-448-8706.

CNIGA Western Indian Gaming Conference

2002/01/29

CNIGA Western Indian Gaming Conference

2002/01/29

NEWS ADVISORY
RELEASE: IMMEDIATE
CONTACT: Susan Jensen (916) 448-8706 or cell (916) 769-5522
MORE THAN 700 TRIBAL LEADERS AND GAMING EXECUTIVES
FROM THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY EXPECTED AT
SEVENTH ANNUAL CONFERNECE IN SAN DIEGO.
San Diego, CA – More than 700 tribal leaders and gaming executives from across the United States will convene Tuesday, January 29th for the opening of the seventh annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) at the San Diego Convention Center.
Among the more than 150 exhibitors at the trade show will be major industry operators including architectural firms, banks, bingo suppliers, electronic gaming vendors, accounting and executive recruitment firms. Exhibitors will include Sodak Gaming Inc, Bally Gaming and Systems, Union Bank of California, Bank of America, Multimedia Games, and many others.
The conference and trade show include a golf tournament, and will run through Thursday, January 31st. Featured events include workshops on re-claiming tribal sovereignty, a legislative update, election strategies, an update on the California network, theft and fraud prevention, regulation, labor and employment laws, and a general managers forum.
The Western Indian Gaming Conference and trade show is a function of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). Founded in 1988, CNIGA currently represents 76 tribal governments across California.
The San Diego Convention Center is located at 111 W. Harbor Drive. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522.
Additional information regarding the Western Indian Gaming Conference may be obtained through our Web site at www.cniga.com/wigc.

CNIGA Elects Brenda Soulliere as New Chairperson

2001/12/10

CNIGA Elects Brenda Soulliere as New Chairperson

2001/12/10

Sacramento, California – December 10, 2001 – The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, an organization comprised of 76 tribal governments, elected Brenda Soulliere of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians as chairperson of the statewide association on December 6. Soulliere succeeds former CNIGA Chairman Daniel Tucker of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation who did not seek re-election.
The organization, which conducts elections annually, also re-elected Ken Gilbert of the Mooretown Rancheria as treasurer. Anthony Miranda of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians was elected secretary in a special election to fill the vacated position for the remaining term of one year. Continuing as vice chair is Paula Lorenzo of the Rumsey Rancheria. Newly-elected officers will serve a two-year term of office.
“This position is a tremendous responsibility because so many tribal communities depend on Indian gaming for their economic survival. I am deeply committed to strengthening our efforts to protect Indian self-reliance and tribal sovereignty,” said Soulliere.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), founded in 1988, is a non-profit organization comprised of 76 federally-recognized tribal governments. CNIGA is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally-recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources. The association’s executive offices are located at 1130 K Street, Suite 150 in Sacramento, California.

Tribe Vindicated as Federal Court Rules Santee Sioux Casino Legal

2001/12/07

Tribe Vindicated as Federal Court Rules Santee Sioux Casino Legal

2001/12/07

After years of brutal economic hardship caused by federal seizure of tribal assets, the Santee Sioux Tribe was vindicated today when a federal district court ruled that the tribe has the right to operate Class II devices.
Santee Sioux tribal chairman Roger Trudell hailed the ruling, stating, “This is a tremendous vindication of our ability to use class II gaming to finally provide income for the Santee Sioux tribe. It is a daily struggle just to ensure the basic necessities for our children and elders. We know our struggle to operate gaming is not over but it is time for the Department of Justice to stop its cruel and unjust treatment of our tribe.”
Federal District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled that the Santee Sioux may continue to operate the Class II gaming devices that it had been operating under approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission. The court rejected arguments by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that the devices, called “Lucky Tab II” machines, constitute Class III gaming which would require the tribe to have a compact with the state of Nebraska. The court absolved the tribe from all contempt charges and permanently suspended any fines as well as rejecting DOJ’s claim that the machines violate a federal criminal law called the Johnson Act.
“We are still endeavoring to obtain a compact on gaming with the state to end the years of legal wrangling and be able to put our tribe on the road to Indian self-reliance,” said Trudell.
“We have never asked for anything more the ability to support ourselves.”
The case began in 1996 when the tribe opened its casino after the governor of Nebraska refused to enter into a Class III gaming compact. In response, the Department of Justice seized the tribe’s bank accounts and sued to close the tribe’s gaming operation. After a trial and initial round of appeals, the Department of Justice-imposed daily fines, for operating the casino without a state compact, began taking a crushing toll on the tribe. The Department of Justice garnished every available tribal asset.
“They took everything,” said Trudell. “Not only did the Department of Justice seize our tribal bank accounts but they took the funds from a tribal grocery store, our bake sale funds for our elder care program and an account used to pay for child car safety seats. Despite this victory, we will still be struggling just to get through the Christmas holidays.”
In an effort to get the fines lifted, the tribe obtained approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to operate the “Lucky Tab II” class II devices.
According to tribal attorney Conly J. Schulte of the Omaha law firm of Monteau, Peebles & Crowell, the DOJ disputed the NIGC’s decision and continued its enforcement actions against the tribe. In addition to imposing fines and seizing assets, the DOJ blocked federal grants for the tribe for services like tribal law enforcement. It also sought to put the tribal chairman and 12-member tribal council in jail.
“I hope this decision will encourage the Department of Justice to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on senseless and inhumane efforts to deny the Santee Sioux Tribe its right to operate gaming as a means of providing badly-needed jobs and income for its families,” said Schulte.

California’s Gaming Tribes Share More Than $30 Million with Other Tribes

2001/08/28

California’s Gaming Tribes Share More Than $30 Million with Other Tribes

Financial Sharing By California Tribes Unprecedented In Nation; First Checks Issued Today

2001/08/28

The first checks, drawn from more than $39 million deposited by gaming tribes, are being sent today to eligible tribes throughout the state. The revenue-sharing program, the only one of its kind in the nation, was launched by California gaming tribes to help non-gaming tribes and those with very limited gaming.
According to the tribal-state compact signed by 61 tribes in 1999, 84 of California’s 107 tribes qualify for assistance from the fund. An estimated $25 million is being distributed this week.
“It’s not new for Indian tribes to help our brothers and sisters,” said Daniel Tucker, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), which represents 56 of the tribes that signed state gaming compacts. “What’s new is that we have created a tribal revenue sharing trust fund that guarantees significant revenues for many years to come to tribes that do not have gaming or that have very limited operations. These funds are generated by California tribes solely for support to other California tribes. We are very proud of this historic achievement.”
California tribal leaders today met at the Cortina Band of Wintun Indians’ reservation to commemorate the first installment of revenue-sharing dollars generated by California’s gaming tribes.
Cortina Rancheria, a federally recognized tribe since 1889, located on a remote hillside in southwestern Colusa County, lacks a drinkable water supply and basic telephone service. Today, the tribe received $300,000.
“Our tribe has been looking forward to this since the day the compacts were signed,” said Elaine Patterson, Tribal Chair for Cortina Rancheria, a non-gaming tribe. “The tribe succeeded in bringing electricity to the rancheria only 12 years ago. These revenues will now help the tribe to bring more infrastructure improvements to our land. They will also enable our tribal government to provide much better education and health care for all of our members.”
Monies to the 84 tribes are drawn from the Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund, created as part of the historic tribal-state gambling agreements or compacts that each tribe signed with the state. The compacts became effective with the overwhelming passage of Proposition 1A on the March 2000 ballot, when California voters approved the Indian self-reliance measure allowing tribal governments to operate slot machines and banking card games on their reservations.
Under terms of the compacts, tribes operating slot machines must pay fees for the machines into a tribal revenue sharing trust fund. The trust fund is administered by the California Gambling Control Commission. The compacts authorize the commission, a state gambling regulatory agency, to serve as trustee for the receipt, deposit, and distribution of monies paid into the trust fund by the tribes.
As a result of the machine licensing process outlined in the compact, participating tribes to date have paid more than $39 million into the trust fund. Today marks the first distribution to tribes by the state commission, which to date has only released a partial allocation of the fund.
California gaming tribes have been anxious for the commission to distribute all of the trust fund revenues to qualified tribes as called for in the compacts. Eligible tribes are comprised of both non-gaming tribes and tribes operating 350 machines or less.
“We continue to urge the members of the commission to distribute all of the revenue sharing funds generated by the compact tribes,” said Tucker. “Clearly, an overwhelming majority of tribes in California are non-gaming tribes or tribes with very small gaming operations in remote areas. These tribes are not only eligible to receive these funds, but they are in great need of revenues to better care for their people.”
“We look forward to the commission’s distribution of the rest of the revenue-sharing funds as soon as possible,” said Tucker.
As provided in the tribal-state compacts, California gaming tribes also send revenue to the state to fund problem gambling prevention programs; to reimburse local governments for off-reservation impacts by tribal gaming operations; and to cover shortfalls in the tribal revenue sharing fund.

Statewide Survey Shows Californians Continue To Overwhelmingly Approve Tribal Government Gaming by 78 percent

2001/08/01

Statewide Survey Shows Californians Continue To Overwhelmingly Approve Tribal Government Gaming by 78 percent

2001/08/01

In a recently conducted statewide survey, Californians continue to support Indian self-sufficiency through casino-type gambling by a margin of 78 percent. In many areas of the state, such as San Diego County that has seven gaming operations on Indian reservations, the percentage of support is as high as 80 percent. Los Angeles County voters registered as strong supporters of Indian gaming at 82 percent, as did the Sacramento area at 68 percent.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) commissioned the statewide survey, conducted during the last two weeks of June, 2001, by the national opinion research firm of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates.
“We asked Californians to assist us in getting our compacts and they overwhelmingly expressed their support of tribal gaming with their passage of Proposition 1A in March, 2000. We believe we must keep good faith with the voters,” said Daniel Tucker, chairman of CNIGA’s 76-member tribal organization. “To keep good faith, we need to know what people understand and believe about our gaming operations and about our agreement with the governor and the state.”
According to Tucker, CNIGA members were pleased with the results of the survey, which included 1,200 respondents.
“We have always believed the people of California supported tribal government gaming for reasons that went beyond whether gaming generated revenue for the state or that they liked to gamble. The survey confirmed that Californians continue to see Indian-operated gaming as an issue of justice, fairness and a means of creating economic independence for tribal governments,” he reported.
When asked why a respondent would vote again for Proposition1A, the state constitutional amendment that legalized casino gambling for tribal governments on reservations, 75 percent cited reasons of fairness and equity. (Example: “Indians have had a raw deal for years, it’s their land, let them do what they want on their land.”)
49 percent of survey respondents said they support tribal government gaming because it brings financial security, revenues to tribal communities and Indians have a right to be self-sufficient. Among the positive benefits of Indian gaming, 85 percent of the respondents, identified jobs for both Indians and non-Indians and 79 percent said that tribal government gaming provided a controlled and policed gaming environment.
The survey showed that 73 percent found Indian casinos an attractive form of entertainment and 79 percent agreed tribal government gaming kept betting dollars in California.
In contrast, a majority of California voters rejected the idea of expanding casino gambling beyond Indian reservations — specifically slot machines to horse racing tracks and card clubs — by 57 percent and 54 percent respectively.
“We wanted to assess public support for card clubs, since at this moment, club owners are suing to overturn Proposition 1A and the right of Indians to offer gaming on reservation land. They are attempting to subvert the will of California voters and trying to change state law to allow machines in commercial, not government enterprises,” reported Tucker. “The results continue to show little public sympathy for the claims of card club owners that tribal governments should not have the same right as the state to use gaming to generate funds.”
“While voters were positive about tribal government gaming, the voters also showed us where they have priorities and concerns,” noted Anthony R. Pico, chairman of the CNIGA communications committee. “As tribal leaders we believe listening respectfully to the public teaches us how to uphold and continue to improve our unique relationship with the people of California, and we welcome good information.”
Concern that casinos encourage people to gamble who can’t afford to lose money was “strongly” felt by 34 percent of the voters surveyed.
“This,” Pico reported, “translated into overwhelming support — 81percent — for using the gaming revenue sent to the state by the tribes to provide funds for programs that deal with gambling addiction.”
According to Pico, in addition to funding state regulation of tribal gaming, the tribes insisted that the compact authorize monies forwarded to the state by the tribes be used for three basic purposes: 1) to fund problem gambling prevention programs; 2) reimbursements to local governments for off-reservation impacts caused by casinos, like traffic; and 3) to cover shortfalls in the revenue sharing fund for tribes that do not have gaming. “Today, funding these programs are priorities the public shares with the tribes,” said Pico.
More than 80 percent of the voters surveyed want money from the state’s special distribution fund to provide for programs that deal with gambling addiction; 78 percent want these funds also used to reimburse local governments for the cost of services provided to Indian casinos; and 72 percent supported protecting the revenue sharing agreement between gaming and non-gaming tribes by attaching funds from this account to cover shortfalls in the revenue sharing fund.
Across the state, 64 percent of Californians surveyed believe that tribal government gaming is “adequately regulated by tribal governments;” 62 percent believe tribal gaming operations take into account local environmental requirements and that tribal gaming operations are in “careful compliance with the agreement made by the tribes with the state government;” and 59 percent believe that Indian casinos “work and coordinate with nearby local governments.”

Press Statement From CNIGA Chairman Daniel Tucker on Publicly Traded Corporation Legislation

2001/07/16

Press Statement From CNIGA Chairman Daniel Tucker on Publicly Traded Corporation Legislation

2001/07/16

Tribal leaders from throughout the state are meeting today with state legislators to urge the legislature’s rejection of two bills — AB 572 (Firebaugh) and SB 51 (Vincent) which would enable publicly-traded corporations to receive gambling licenses
and to own gambling enterprises in California.
These bills represent a huge expansion of commercial gambling — a move that voters have Consistently said they do not want. Should these bills become law, these big corporations will ultimately harm California tribes’ ability to support themselves by introducing widespread gaming into our cities and major communities. For the first time, Wall Street giants would control commercial gaming in this state.
With Prop 5 and Prop 1A, Californians voted for limited gaming on Indian lands because they believed in Indian self-reliance and in limiting gaming to reservations where they believed it could do the most good. What they didn’t vote for was widespread commercial gambling.
Funds from gaming have allowed us to improve our lives on the reservation. But this better way of life threatens to be taken away by commercial gaming interests.
Nevada approved publicly-traded corporations in the 1960’s and forever changed the landscape of that state. California does not want to become another gambling mecca.
By contrast, California voter support for gaming on Indian lands is higher than ever. Even before Prop 5, tribal gaming contributed more than $4 billion and thousands of jobs annually to the state’s economy. Since then these contributions have grown dramatically. We have generated revenue to share with non-gaming tribes and local governments as well as for state regulatory oversight and problem gambling programs.
Indian gaming is working and California wants to keep it that way.

More Than 150 Tribal Leaders and Gaming Executives Expected at Third Annual Mid-Year Conference

2001/06/26

More Than 150 Tribal Leaders and Gaming Executives Expected at Third Annual Mid-Year Conference

2001/06/26

More than 150 tribal leaders and gaming executives will convene Wednesday, June 27 for the California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s (“CNIGA”) third annual Mid-Year Conference at the Fess Parkers DoubleTree Resort. The event will be prefaced Tuesday, June 26 with a golf tournament at the Sandpiper Golf Course.
The conference will feature a series of panels on strategic marketing for Indian casinos, construction and financing, and Class II gaming. The luncheon, featuring keynote speakers Gary Renville and Mitchell Underwood, Indian Tribal Government Specialists for the Internal Revenue Service, is scheduled at 12:15 p.m. Immediately following the seminars, CNIGA will host a General Managers forum including discussion items such as regulation, slot machine selection, employee hiring and retention, and marketing.
“This year is a benchmark year. Thanks to the California voters, who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 1A, and the Governor who signed compacts with the California Tribal Governments, California gaming tribes are beginning to achieve their dream of self-reliance,” said Lynn Valbuena, Chair of the CNIGA conference committee.
“Tribal government gaming has helped eliminate the need for welfare on reservations across the state. Indian gaming also supports an estimated 50,000 jobs, 90 percent of which are held by non-Indians,” said Valbuena. “This year is unique. For the first time in California history non-gaming tribes will benefit directly from Tribal government gaming.”
The California Tribal-State Compacts negotiated by the State of California and the Tribal Governments includes a revenue sharing provision for non-gaming tribes, which entitles each non-gaming tribe to receive up to $1.1 million dollars in gaming revenue. “CNIGA is proud to see the gaming tribes assist the non-gaming tribes in achieving self-reliance,” said Valbuena.
The Fess Parkers DoubleTree Resort is located at 633 East Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522.

Statement by CNIGA Concerning the Filing of Lawsuit Against Proposition 1A

2001/05/01

Statement by CNIGA Concerning the Filing of Lawsuit Against Proposition 1A

2001/05/01

Today’s lawsuit, which challenges Proposition 1A, was filed by a disgruntled handful of card room operators, against the state of California. The suit is completely without merit and seeks to destroy the progress that the tribes and the state have made after a decade of conflict.
Not only does the lawsuit seek to thwart the will of California voters who have twice overwhelmingly supported tribal gaming on Indian lands, the lawsuit demonstrates the card rooms’ fundamental misunderstanding of federal law which confirms the right of tribes as governments to offer gaming. Federal law was not intended to – nor does it limit the sovereignty of states and tribes to define what kind of games are allowed within their borders.
Proposition 1A is legally sound and we are confident the courts will affirm the will of the people to support California tribal government gaming on Indian lands. The overwhelming majority of Californians want to see the limited and regulated tribal gaming authorized in Proposition 1A continue uninterrupted.
The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, California State Assembly and Senate, State Attorney General, California Federation of Labor, taxpayer groups, chambers of commerce, law enforcement, religious and ethnic leaders joined together to support Proposition 1A. The tribal-state gaming agreements, made possible by the passage of Proposition 1A and signed by 62 tribal governments, were subsequently approved by the Department of the Interior, and are now in effect and working well.
Today’s latest action is frivolous and not unexpected — it is a desperate measure by a few isolated card clubs. By filing this lawsuit, these card rooms are trying to overrule federal law and Supreme Court decisions that have consistently upheld the constitutional status of tribal governments — not racial groups — to use gaming as a form of economic development.
Thanks to Proposition 1A, Indian gaming is transforming the lives of California Indians and is allowing us to provide better health-care, housing and education for our people. We continue to be grateful to the millions of Californians and thousands of organizations that gave us their support and commitment.

More Than 700 Tribal Leaders and Gaming Executives from Throughout the Country Expected at Sixth Annual Confernece in Palm Springs

2001/01/01

More Than 700 Tribal Leaders and Gaming Executives from Throughout the Country Expected at Sixth Annual Confernece in Palm Springs

2001/01/01

More than 700 tribal leaders and gaming executives from across the United States will convene Monday, January 15th for the opening of the fifth annual Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
Among the more than 100 exhibitors at the trade show will be major industry operators including architectural firms, banks, bingo suppliers, electronic gaming vendors, accounting and executive recruitment firms. Exhibitors will include Sodak Gaming Inc., GameCash, Visix, Bally’s, PDS Financial, Canyon National Bank, RSM McGladrey, Coca-Cola, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and many others.
The conference and trade show will be prefaced Saturday, January 13th with a golf tournament, and will run through Tuesday, January 16th. Featured events include workshops on regulation, compliance, financing and facility management.
“This year marks a turning point for tribal government gaming. Thanks to the California voters, who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 1A, California Indian tribes are finally achieving self-reliance,” said Lynn Valbuena, WIGC conference chair.
“Tribal government gaming has helped eliminate the need for welfare on reservations across the state. Indian gaming also supports an estimated 50,000 jobs, 90 percent of which are held by non-Indians,” said Valbuena. “It has made an incredibly positive impact on the state economy, generating more than $4 billion and eliminating state welfare payments by $50 million.”
The Western Indian Gaming Conference and trade show is a function of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). Founded in 1988, CNIGA is an association that currently represents 74 tribal governments across California.
The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros. Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests, and can be reached by calling (916) 769-5522.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Names Jacob Coin as First Executive Director

2000/06/19

California Nations Indian Gaming Association Names Jacob Coin as First Executive Director

2000/06/19

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, a non-profit, Native American organization of seventy tribes dedicated to the protection of Indian sovereignty and tribal gaming, announced today that the membership has selected the organization’s first Executive Director. Jacob Coin, who has served as the Executive Director of the National Indian Gaming Association since July of 1998, was elected to a two-year term that will start on the first of August.
“After an extensive search, we concluded that Mr. Coin was the best candidate for the position. We look forward to Mr. Coin’s proven professionalism and leadership as CNIGA continues its efforts to preserve the unity and sovereignty of California’s Indian tribes and advances its role as a source of tribal gaming information and technical support. Jacob will be a tremendous asset for CNIGA as we move forward in this post-Proposition 1A era,” said Daniel Tucker, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “We place great importance on the trust that the people of California have bestowed on us, and we know that Mr. Coin shares our commitment to sustaining this trust,” Tucker said.
As Executive Director of CNIGA, Mr. Coin will be responsible for establishing the direction and effective operation of the association through the refinement of CNIGA’s mission, goals and related policies. Specific responsibilities will include establishing and administering a new organizational structure and personnel program within CNIGA, the implementation of an educational program for CNIGA members pertaining to tribal gaming in California and the maintenance of an effective internal and external communications program. Mr. Coin will also monitor state and federal policies and legislative activities that affect the gaming and non-gaming tribes of California.
“Leading this association is an exciting and momentous opportunity. I look forward to working with and on behalf of all of California’s Indian tribes to protect and preserve the self-reliance that they have achieved through gaming and to further CNIGA’s commitment to action and education,” said Mr. Coin.
Mr. Coin is a member of the Hopi Nation of Arizona. His prior experience includes serving as the Executive Director of the National Indian Gaming Association and the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, and he has gained extensive governmental relations and economic development experience through his positions with national Indian organizations and on Capitol Hill.