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NIGA Tradeshow to Draw Indian Gaming Executives Nationwide

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In less than 11 days, representatives from 184 tribal nations and gaming industry executives behind casinos across Indian country will descend on San Diego for the National Indian Gaming Association’s (NIGA) 2017 Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, April 10-13, at the San Diego Convention Center.

Entering its 32nd year, the tradeshow is the largest gathering of tribal leaders and casino executives in the country. It’s where the community gathers to learn, network and exchange industry-specific ideas. Beyond an educational and networking experience, NIGA’s gathering serves as an occasion for cultural celebration of success, strength and self-reliance.

Check out the robust list of exhibitors here.

Educational tracks will cover casino operations, human resources & management, leadership & development, i-gaming & fantasy sports, information technology, security & surveillance, legislative/policy, marketing, National Indian Gaming Commission regulation & compliance, Tribal gaming Protection Network (TGPN), women in tribal gaming, enterprise development, cannabis policy, and finance.

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In conjunction with this year’s Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, the NIGA Seminar Series continues with Commissioner Certification Trainings. Space is limited—register here.

Two golf tournaments coincide with the NIGA’s major event. The Chairman's Golf Tournament will tee off at 10.a.m. on Monday, April 10 at the Sycuan Golf Resort's Willow Glen Course. The Vice-Chairman's Golf Tournament commences the same day and time at Sycuan's Oak Glen Golf Resort. Both courses are located at 3007 Dehesa Road, El Cahon, California.

The Chairman’s Welcome Reception takes place at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on Monday, April 10 evening at 6 p.m. All registered attendees and guests are encouraged to attend the complimentary event, which includes an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dancing, and celebration, plus special presentations and entertainment.

The most prestigious event at NIGA’s Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention is the Wendell Chino Awards Banquet, April 12, 6:30 p.m. at San Diego Convention Center. The banquet honors the legacy of longtime president Wendell Chino of the Mescalero Apache Nation. President Wendell Chino spent his life protecting tribal sovereignty and advancing Indian self-governance. At the banquet, NIGA will celebrate President Wendell Chino and honor an individual who upholds his legacy by awarding him or her the Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award.

Winter Legislative Summit

Last month, NIGA hosted its annual Winter Legislative Summit at the Stanley Crooks Tribal Leaders Conference Center in Washington, D.C., March 7-8. The yearly legislative winter gathering provides legislative updates, reports, and information from members of Congress and the Presidential Administration.

NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., welcomed attendees to the meeting room and expanded facility dedicated to the memory of Stanley R. Crooks. “He wanted a place for Indian Country to be able to meet and strategize and work our agenda with Congress. We are fortunate to have the Tribal Leaders Center to gather and bring our minds together as we embark on our education and lobby efforts with Congress and the Administration," Stevens, Jr. said.

Tribal leaders and Indian gaming representatives heard updates on gaming and economic development, tribal labor relations, restoration and protection of tribal homelands, and respect for tribal sovereignty from a variety of organizations and congressional representatives. Attendees heard from the National Indian Health Board on the new healthcare bill that was introduced just this week, Jonodev Chaudhuri & fellow Commissioners of the National Indian Gaming Commission and an update on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), provided by Jodi Gillette, an advocate and lobbyist on Native American Issues and Policy Advisor at Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP.

Congressional representatives who provided legislative updates included, Congressman Tom Cole (R - OK 4th Dist.); Senator Steve Daines (R-MT); Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D - WI 4th Dist.); Congressman Darrel Issa (R - CA 49th Dist.); Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ 6th District); Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA 1st District); and Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA 35th Dist.). Attendees also heard updates from Mike Anderson, the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs (SCIA) Staff Director and Chief Counsel.

The first day's agenda concluded with discussions with the Tribal Economic Growth Alliance. Chairman Stevens kicked off the discussion and said, "Economic Development is a key component of what we have to do (Indian Country). We need to be passionate about it and we need to appreciate that this is what we have to push with this administration! As I carry forward the legacy of my Father from some forty years ago in his work with the Indian Policy Review Commission, we must prioritize the advancement of Economic Development for all of Indian Country. We've been making America great for a long time. Tribal Government Gaming has done our share to help this Country in its biggest recession in well over seventy years. However, we must continue to work this new Administration to help them understand who we are as Sovereign Tribal Governments and the many needs that continue to go unmet in Indian Country.

On Wednesday, March 08, the NIGA Winter Legislative Summit agenda included Senator John McCain (R-AZ); Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN 4th Dist.); Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D- NM 1st Dist.); Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA 6th Dist.); Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA 8th Dist.); Congressman Paul Cook (R-CA 8th Dist.); Congressman Raul Ruiz (D-CA 36th Dist.); Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA 10th Dist.); Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA 29th Dist.); Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT 1st Dist.); Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA 1st Dist.) and Mark Cruz, a representative of Congressman Tod Rokita (R-IN 4th Dist.)

The day concluded with a presentation from the Department of Energy, Office of Indian Energy Policy & Programs Director, Chris Deschene. They are engaging with Tribal Casinos to "Go Green," and extended an invitation to the National Tribal Energy Summit, May 1 -3, 2017 in Washington, DC at the JW Marriott.

Chairman Stevens said of the event, "As always, we have the responsibility to our member Tribes to continue our advocacy for the many issues we need addressed on behalf of Indian Country. From Tribal Labor Sovereignty, to restoring our homelands, to maintaining the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and preparing our priorities for infrastructure and economic development initiatives that are on the horizon, we must me diligent. We must be on the ground working with this new administration and we need to be straight forward, informative and the champions of our cause. The work of the National Indian Gaming Association, our partner organizations and Tribal Leadership is critical. We must continue to be diligent, continue working together and continue to have our voices heard in Congress and the Administration."

Tribal Leaders and gaming representatives will come together next month at the NIGA Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention, April 10-13 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego California.