National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens (far left) Jr. on the trade show floor. From left to right: Evander Holyfield, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Adam Beach, Billy Mills and Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera. March 26, 2013. Photo courtesy NIGA.
The National Indian Gaming Association is wrapping up its annual convention and trade show in Phoenix, Arizona, today. The conference drew tribal leaders, government officials and casino industry representatives to the Phoenix Convention Center. Over 5,000 people were in attendance. "Today, we have filled the 315,000 square-foot floor with over almost 400 world-class exhibits, who are our friends in the gaming industry and Native-owned businesses who are eager to build their brands. There is a $28 billion industry behind these doors, and we welcome you," NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens said on the trade show floor yesterday. "I am happy to report that revenues have increased in 2012. This is a tremendous achievement, and our tribal leaders are to be commended."
Nathan Smalls, recipient of the Tim Wapato Sovereign Warrior Award, with Gay Kingman Wapato, the wife of the late Tim Wapato. March 26, 2013. Photo courtesy NIGA.
During the convention, NIGA presented the Tim Wapato Sovereign Warrior Award to Nathan Smalls, the chairman of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Idaho. He was recognized for his efforts in bringing gaming to his reservation. "I know there are people who are continuing to fight for sovereignty," Small said upon receiving the award. "We have to fight and fight and fight. That is who we are, and that is what we will continue to do." The NIGA Chairman's Award was presented to former Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle (D). He was recognized for working to improve the government-to-government relationship with tribes in the state.
Former Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle. March 25, 2013. Photo courtesy NIGA.
"There is so much more at stake here, I am very proud for what we have and accomplished together, a system of consultation that required every one of my cabinet members to visit every single reservation annually, passed Indian child welfare legislation, and moved on environmental issues," Doyle said. "All of this produced much better results. I congratulate all of the tribes who fought to protect their sovereign rights." Get the Story:
Thousands flock to Indian Gaming Convention in Phoenix (KTAR-TV 3/26)
Early Pioneers of Indian Gaming Had Same Goal: To Help Their People (Indian Country Today 3/27)