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December 2011 | Volume 3, Issue 8


NCAI 2011 Convention in Portland, Oregon President Jefferson Keel sworn in for second two-year term


Chairman Stevens leads panel discussion with the ABC 20/20 Pine Ridge Participants at NCAI


PAGE 4 Veterans Day


NIGA Testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs



Native American & Aborginal Youth Recreation Leaders attend the Nike N7 Sports Summit


NIGA celebrates Native American Heritage Day at the National Museum of the American Indian


Photos from the White House Tribal Nations Conference and a Military Panel hosted at NMAI



Our youth are highlighted in the Last Page.



n its 68th year the National Congress of American Indians has elected and sworn in Jefferson Keel as the President of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative tribal advocacy organization. In the closing ceremonies of NCAI’s week long 68th Annual Convention held in Portland, Oregon, the organization swore into office the members of the Executive Board and the twelve Area Vice Presidents (final list included below). In addition to President Keel’s re-election, the NCAI elections resulted in the re-election of both the First Vice President and Treasurer of NCAI. Juana Majel

Dixon, Pauma Band of Mission Indians, and a member of the NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women will serve a second term as First Vice-President. Also, former NCAI President and current Treasurer, W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, was re-elected. Ed Thomas of the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska was elected as the new Recording Secretary. The elections signaled a unified commitment by Indian Country to continue the momentum experienced under Keel’s first two-year term and the critical ongoing work of the NCAI Executive Board.

NCAI 2011 ELECTION RESULTS: PRESIDENT Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation FIRST VICE PRESIDENT Juana Majel Dixon, Pauma Band of Mission Indians RECORDING SECRETARY Edward Thomas, Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska TREASURER W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

AREA VICE-PRESIDENTS ALASKA REGION: Bill Martin, Central Council Tlingit & Haida Tribes of Alaska EASTERN OKLAHOMA: S. Joe Crittenden, Cherokee Nation GREAT PLAINS: Robert Shepherd, Sisseton Wahpeton

MIDWEST: Matthew Wesaw, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi NORTHEAST: Lance Gumbs, Shinnecock Indian Nation NORTHWEST: Fawn Sharp, Quinault Indian Nation PACIFIC: Don Arnold, Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians


ROCKY MOUNTAIN: Scott Russell, Crow Tribe SOUTHEAST: Larry Townsend, Lumbee Tribe SOUTHERN PLAINS: Robert Tippeconnie, Comanche Nation SOUTHWEST: Joe Garcia, Ohkay Owhingeh WESTERN: Ned Norris Jr., Tohono O’odham Nation



ational Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. had the wonderful opportunity of introducing two of the Indian participants featured on ABC’s recent episode of “20/20” at the 68th Annual National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Convention held in Portland from October 30-November 4, 2011. Lakota Nation members Alaina Clifford and Robert Looks Twice appeared on the October 14th episode of “20/20” entitled, “Hidden America: Children of the Plains.” The episode followed Diane Sawyer as she traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to take an in-depth look at lives of young Indian dreamers and fighters as they struggle to reach their goals amidst the stark reality of reservation life: poverty, alcoholism, and unemployment. Nineteen year-old Clifford is an aspiring singer and performer who has auditioned for the hit Fox Television show “American Idol.” Looks Twice is currently the quarterback of his school’s football team and hopes to be the President of the United States one day.

Clifford and Looks Twice were introduced by Chairman Stevens at a luncheon hosted by NIGA, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), National American Indian Council (NAIC), and the Great Plains Chairman’s Association (GPCA). “You know the challenges from your own communities and you know what we have to do. I think everyone agrees that there is no better leader to lead the fight than our young people,” Stevens told the crowd before handing the microphone to Clifford and Looks Twice. “First of all, I’d like to thank you all for allowing us to make it out here. Portland is beautiful. I’m very encouraged by being around so many wonderful Native Americans. I never realized how powerful and how strong we were because where I’m from...we don’t really get that,” said Clifford. “I’m very proud to be here.” “I’d like to thank you all for bring me and Alaina out here. What I learned here is that my Pine Ridge reservation isn’t the only one that is hurt,” Looks Twice told the crowd. “There are other reservations out there that are having trouble and are struggling. We’re all

together and no one is alone.” Following the introduction of Clifford and Looks Twice, Jayson Brave Heart, CEO of Braveheart Group, LLC., addressed the crowd. Brave Heart was also featured in the 20/20 episode and accompanies Clifford and Looks Twice to their national appearances. “These kids have been put in the national spotlight just like all of Indian leaders have been put in the national spotlight. We have this opportunity to get behind these youth here because everybody is watching. Over 20 million people watched that show and they are emailing, asking, ‘Is this really happening?’ said Brave Heart. “We need to educate non-natives about people like Robert Looks Twice.” Other contributors to the 20/20 Pine Ridge episode, such as Heather Dawn Thompson, who was featured on the show and is currently a federal prosecuting attorney, and South Dakota State Representative Kevin Killer, also spoke at the luncheon. At the end of the program, Fawn Sharp, President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, presented Clifford and Looks Twice with Pendleton blankets.





eterans Day is a very special day each year as the Nation takes time to stop and honor our veterans, both those that have passed and those who serve now to protect the United States of America. Of Indian Country this holiday is of special importance. Native Americans have been a vital part of the armed forc­ es defending this country since the American Revolution. In fact, military statistics show that Native Americans continue to serve at higher rate per capita than any other ethnic group. It is interesting to note that this day of recognition was estab­lished for those who fought and died in World War I, when American Indians were not even citizens of this country. Bravery, service, and sacrifice are part of what Indian people and our Native Veterans have exemplified. They have repeatedly answered the call for this country despite the ad­ versity and obstacles facing Tribal Nations. It is a devotion and courage that fills Indian Country with pride.

Top Left: Chairman Stevens presents an autographed photo to his father of former heavyweight boxer Ken Norton, Sr. who is personal friends with Stevens, Sr. The Chairman also brought his father well-wishes and a Green Bay Packers championship cap and he purchased upon returning home for veterans day where he had an opportunity to visit with Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. Top Right: Ceremonies were held at the Oneida Veterans Memorial, as well as an Veterans Day event which included the dedication of a flag pole at the Robert Cor­nelius VFW Post 7784. Top Lower Right: As part of his travels on during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Chairman Stevens took part in a Veteran’s recognition Pow Wow on the Meskwaki Nation in Tama, IA. Lower Left: Sen. Akaka (D-HI) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs speaks to Native American Veterans, which included Navajo Code Talkers. Lower Right: The Oneida Veterans Color Guard opens ceremonies at the Oneida Veterans Memorial/The Oneida Veterans Color Guard at the flag pole dedication ceremonies at the Robert Cornelius VFW Post 7784 in Oneida, Wisconsin.


+ TESTIMONY + CHAIRMAN STEVENS VERBAL TESTIMONY TO THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS Good afternoon Chairman Akaka, Vice Chairman Barrasso, and Members of the Committee. Thank you for this opportunity to provide the views of the National Indian Gaming Association on the important issue of Internet gaming. I have to say it’s an honor to again be seated on a panel with Senator D’Amato. We testified on the House side last month on this topic. I appreciate his attempts to understand Indian country, and I hope he will continue to learn about why tribal governments cannot compromise Indian sovereignty. As this Committee knows, more than 200 Indian tribes use gaming as a means to generate essential tribal governmental revenue. Under IGRA, that revenue is used to address the severe unmet needs of tribal communities. Because Indian gaming revenues are used for government purposes, tribal government revenues are not subject to taxation. For more than two decades under IGRA, tribes have consistently proven their ability to operate and independently regulate Indian gaming. The success of Indian gaming has been felt across America, creating more than 600 thousand American jobs for Indians and non-Indians alike. Knowing how many people depend on Indian gaming, legalization of Internet gaming raises significant concerns. In 2010, tribal leaders conducted more than a dozen meetings to discuss bills to legalize Internet gaming. This year at our Board meeting in conjunction with our annual trade show, NIGA established the Internet Gaming Subcommittee, and

has since met several times. The Subcommittee is made up entirely of tribal leaders from throughout the country and their respective support teams. As a result, tribal leaders nationwide unified behind a set of core principles that I’d like to now share with you. (1) First, legislation should acknowledge that all tribes are eligible to both operate AND regulate Internet gaming. Under IGRA, tribes have proven our ability to both regulate and operate gaming facilities. That expertise should be recognized in the new legislation. In addition, the National Indian Gaming Commission is the only federal agency with experience in regulating any form of gaming in the U.S. They’re the only logical entity to regulate tribal Internet gaming. (2) Second, legislation should allow customers to access tribal Internet sites as long as it’s legal where the customer is located. Again we have experience here. Tribes have conducted gaming beyond local tribal borders for years by linking machines to broaden participation. Internet gaming is the next logical step. (3) Third, as I stated above, Indian gaming revenues are dedicated to meeting tribal community needs. That’s essentially a 100 percent tribal tax. Legislation should acknowledge that tribal Internet revenues must not be taxed. (4) Fourth, legislation must fully protect tribal rights under IGRA and existing tribal-state gaming compacts. Tribal-state gaming compacts have been carefully negotiated. Tribes have invested significant resources

based on these agreements, and they must be honored. (5) Finally, our principles ask that Congress NOT amend IGRA as it establishes a new law on Internet gaming. Many federal laws recognize Indian tribes as governments outside of Title 25, and tribes ask to follow that precedent These are the core principles that tribal leaders nationwide have united behind. Unfortunately, current Internet gaming proposals – including the bill offered by Congressman Barton – violate these principles, and we oppose their passage. My written testimony details our concerns, but I’ll summarize our major objections: ONE, the bills fail to treat tribes as government operators, TWO, the bills would tax tribal government revenue, AND THREE, the bills would violate IGRA and existing tribal-state compacts. In closing, Indian gaming has proven to be the most effective tool to help many tribes address more than a century of failed federal policies. More than 600 thousand American families, and more than 200 tribal communities rely on the current system. If Congress is going to change the system, Tribes ask that the new law follow these principles: that it provide fair access to tribes, that it continue to treat Tribes as governments, and that it respect the essential government purposes for which tribal revenues are used. We truly appreciate the Committee’s oversight, and look forward to working with you and your Senate colleagues on this important issue.


+ N7 SUMMIT + (NCAI); Tawanee Joseph, Executive Director of the Four Host First Nations; Notah Begay III, Founder of the Notah Begay III Foundation and PGA Tour Pro; Waneek HornMiller, Co-Captain of the 2000 Canadian Olympic National Water Polo Team & IndigenAction member; and Craig Robinson, Head Coach of Oregon State University Men’s Basketball Team. In addition, Nike N7 Athlete Ambassadors, distance runner Alvina Begay and slam-dunk innovator Kenny Dobbs, headlined the Summit and provided personal insight into how sports has impacted their lives. Begay and Waneek Horn-Miller also lead Summit participants on a 2-mile run or walk each morning to promote the spirit of sport and physical activity.


ative American and Aboriginal youth recreation leaders gathered at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, for the Nike N7 Sports Summit. Hosted by Nike N7 and the Board of Advisors of the N7 Fund, more than 400 participants, including NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., attended the Summit aimed at educating, empowering, and encouraging participants to create impacting and sustainable sport and physical activity programs for Native American and Aboriginal youth. The three-day Summit, held from October 28-30, featured a kick-off performance by Native American country music recording artist and N7 Fund Board of Advisor member Crystal Shawanda. Keynote speakers and panelists included government and community organization representatives as well as experts in the field of philanthropy, such as: Sam Kass, Assistant White House Chef & Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives for The First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative; Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians

NCAI conference attendees were invited to a special grand opening preview of the newest NIKE store indowntown Portland, Oregon. Participants were able to be the first to not only preview the new store, but to purchase the new Nike N7 product line. Top Photo: (L-R) Tex G. Hall, N7 Foundation Board Member and Three-Affiliated Tribe Chairman, Joe Burton, (Saboba), Oregon State University Basketball Player, Kenny Dobbs, Native American Slam Dunk Champion and Chairman Stevens. Center Photo: Dr. Evan Adams, actor turned physician, who played Thomas Builds-The-Fire in the movie Smoke Signals took part in the Nike N7 Summit. Lower Photo: Members of the Nike N7 Foundation Board pose at the Portland Niketown with the Native American crowd in the backdrop.




n November 1st, President Obama issued a proclamation celebrating Native American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Day on November 25th. In honor of Native American Heritage Day, NIGA Board Member Andy Ebona and a group of Tlingit dancers from Alaska performed at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The Yaaw Tei Yi (Herring Rock), a traditional Tlingit cultural group from Juneau, Alaska whose mission is to teach and promote Tlingit/Haida song and dance at NMAI. Deriving their name from the legends of the Kiks.adi (Frog) Clan from Sitka, Alaska, the group performs traditional songs “belonging” to specific clans and which cannot be sung without the clans’ permission. The President’s message on Native American Heritage Day is an important reminder to all Americans that we should take a moment to reflect upon the Native American contributions to the formation of the United States. The Native American Heritage Day Public Law is the result of five years of hard work by the National Indian Gaming] Association working alongside our sister organizations NCAI, NIEA, and numerous Tribal regional organizations. Indian Country is indebted to Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA 43rd) and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) for their Congressional leadership in enacting this into law.


In 2008, Hartford and Mary Black Eagle of the Crow Nation adopted U.S. President Barack Obama into their family. Today, Hartford offers a prayer to the tribal leaders as his wife translates. December 2, 2011. Tribal leaders snap a quick photo of U.S. President Barack Obama at the third White House Tribal Nations Conference. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC. December 2, 2011.

Watch U.S. President Barack Obama’s Speech on


December 2, 2011. NIGA Executive Director Jason Giles—attorney, Marine Corps Captain, and tribal citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation moderated a program featuring a panel of American Indians who have served our country in the armed forces, including Debra Kay Mooney (Choctaw), an Iraq War veteran who organized and hosted a powwow in a war zone in Iraq in 2004 (objects from the powwow will be on display at the NMAI museum during the program); Chuck Boers (Lipan Apache/ Cherokee), an Iraq War veteran and the recipient of two Bronze Star and three Purple Heart medals; John Emhoolah (Kiowa), a Korean War Veteran who joined the Oklahoma Thunderbird Division when he was still in high school and later helped lobby for the passage of the Native American Religious Freedom Act; and Joseph Medicine Crow, a World War II veteran who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barack Obama.


“Knowledge comes not from the present, but from the stories from our elders and the opportunities we give to our children.” - Ernie Stevens




In the photo: L-R - Chairman Stevens, Julian Juan, Danni Walker, and NCAI Youth Council Co-Presidents Randy Ashley Begay and Quintin Lopez.

Chairman Stevens hosted the annual NCAI Youth Commission Luncheon during the 68th Annual NCAI Convention in Portland, Oregon. Stevens, who was instrumental in the establishment of theNCAI Youth Commission during his tenure at NCAI, has continued to work along side the NCAI Youth Commission since its inception. The NCAI Youth Commission established the Ernie

Stevens, Jr., Leadership award several years ago, and is presented to individuals voted on by the NCAI youth council who are honored for their commitment to community and youth leadership. The 2011 NCAI Youth Council awardees were: Julian Juan from Tohono O’odham and Danni Walker from the Ho-Chunk Nation.


Save the Date april 1-4, 2012 • San Diego, ca. for more information, viSit Watch highlights of the 2010 Phoenix Convention on

Indian Gaming Update - December 2011  

This is a monthly publication created by the National Indian Gaming Association.

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