TULSA, Okla. – The National Indian Gaming Association and Pawnee Nation College in Pawnee, Okla., have partnered to establish a program to provide tribal gaming instruction and education to tribal members and employees. Through the partnership, Pawnee Nation College will be the first tribal college in the nation to offer such a program.
The college will offer student instruction in the areas of tribal gaming, business, hospitality and other gaming-related derivatives as stipulated in the College’s Mission and the College’s Tribal Gaming Regulatory Initiative. The primary purpose of the partnership is to promote the professional advancement of Indian people in the Indian gaming industry through educational opportunities for current and future tribal gaming employees.
The partnership was made official through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. and Pawnee Nation College President Dr. Todd Fuller. The memorandum also recognized the invaluable contribution of tribal colleges for promoting community, social, cultural and economic development in tribal communities.
“I am an educator by heart and by trade,” Stevens said. “Tribal colleges, for me, are the best place in the whole world. I have five kids and all of those kids are completely educated through the tribal college system. If we can do more through tribal colleges, then our people are better and our communities are stronger.”
He also expressed his gratitude at being apart of the Indian education movement.
“This is an honor; to be here today, to move this agreement forward, to promote and advance education, that is my life’s goal,” he told the college. “Today, being here with you folks, this is one of the best moments. If I can help you educate the young – that is my goal.”
Pawnee Nation President George Howell welcomed Stevens and thanked NIGA for its assistance with the program.
“We hold education as a high priority. I really appreciate you coming and helping us with this agreement. We’re looking to make good things happen in Indian country with this agreement.”
Fuller expressed his excitement about the partnership and having NIGA aboard to support the program.
“What we believe with this partnership and this agreement is that it becomes a very attractive opportunity for people once they know that the National Indian Gaming Association is affiliated with the college and that we have a partnership like that. The credibility that it creates for us as an institution is just tremendous.”