CNIGA Chairman James Siva Statement on Governor Newsom Response to DOI Compact Disapproval

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: James May
(916) 754 -7540

CNIGA Chairman James Siva Statement on Governor Newsom Response to DOI Compact Disapproval

July 26, 2022

“While CNIGA believes that every California tribe is entitled to a class III gaming compact that complies with IGRA, and while CNIGA has the greatest respect and appreciation for Gov. Newsom's stated intention to rectify the many historic wrongs committed or facilitated by the state of California against its Native peoples, in this instance Gov. Newsom simply is wrong, and the Department of the Interior is correct. Simply put, the state should not put any tribe in the position of having to choose between the self-reliance offered through gaming, and surrendering its sovereignty in matters not directly related to and necessary for the regulation, licensing and actual operation of class III gaming activities.

As the Department of the Interior, the tribes' trustee, explained in its letters once again disapproving new compacts between the state and two California tribes, Congress never intended that California or any other state be able to use tribal governments' need for gaming compacts as leverage for imposing requirements and restrictions that have little or nothing to do with the actual regulation, licensing or conduct of class III gaming activities.

That is exactly what these two compacts would allow the state to do, just as two compacts signed with these two tribes that the Department disapproved last November did. All of this despite California tribes’ unblemished 22-year record of capable regulation, licensing and operation of their gaming facilities without significant adverse impacts on surrounding non-tribal communities.

The California Legislature recently approved extensions of the compacts that were due to expire on June 30, 2022. Rather than continuing to fight the tribes in court, Gov. Newsom should come to the negotiating table prepared to enter into new agreements that are confined to what IGRA permits. If he were to do that, new IGRA-compliant compacts could be in place well before the current agreements expire, and the chairs of the two tribes whose compacts were disapproved would not have to worry about any threats to their future prosperity.”

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 inherent right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

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