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W. Ron Allen Named Indian Gaming Advocate of the Year

Allen honored at G2E by National Indian Gaming Association’s Ernie Stevens

One of the strongest voices for tribal sovereignty and self-determination in Indian county has been named Indian Gaming Advocate of the Year 2011 by Casino Enterprise Management (CEM), one of the nation’s leading gaming trade magazines.

W. Ron Allen, the longtime chairman and chief executive officer of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, was honored by CEM for his decades of support for tribal gaming and his leadership in advancing and protecting the well-being of Turtle Island’s Indigenous Peoples.

National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. announced Allen’s award and recognition as the 2011 Indian Gaming Advocate of the Year at the annual Northwest Indian Gaming Conference in July and again at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas during the first week of October when a crowd gathered in NIGA’s area for a Tribal Leaders’ awards luncheon.

A few decades ago when Stevens, a citizen of the Oneida Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, was a young tribal councilman he “wanted to break barriers, go in record time, get things done immediately if not sooner,” he told CEM. “Ron was one to get me to slow down and work on it, make sure that whatever I do has my best effort in it. He taught me a lot about basic foundation and principles and discipline of working with tribes and in Washington, D.C. That’s something I needed. He helped me to understand the magnitude of the responsibility when you’re elected to a national office and you serve hundreds of tribes to act in their best interests first and foremost.”

As the elected tribal chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe since 1977, and CEO since 1982, Allen is responsible for just about every aspect of his nation’s business and for representing his nation at the local, state and federal level. Allen is responsible for the administration of all of the nation’s programs, including education, career development, social services, housing, health, economic development, natural resource management and cultural/traditional affairs, according to Bluestone Strategy, a consulting team of tribal leaders team dedicated to leading tribes toward stronger economies and communities. Allen is an adviser to Bluestone. As chair and CEO of the S’Klallam, Allen has led the tribe from a landless, resource-less reservation base in 1982 to a land base of over 1000 acres—without federal assistance—and a $26 million annual budget, including revenues from business enterprises that include Seven Cedars Casino, Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery, JKT Development, Jamestown Excavating, and Jamestown Health & Medical Supplies.

Allen’s public service spans time, space and subject. He has been chairman of the Washington Indian Gaming Association since 2003. He has been involved with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) since 1977 as treasurer (his current position), president, first vice chairman, secretary, and delegate. He has been tribal commissioner for the Pacific Salmon Commission/U.S.-Canada Treaty since 1996; co-chairman and delegate for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Tribal Technical Advisory Group since 2003; treasurer and delegate for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians since 1977; co-chairman for the National Indian Policy Center at George Washington University from 1990 to 1996; and founder and delegate for the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State since 1994.

He credits Indian gaming for providing the means for tribes to build their nations. “From my perspective, gaming is about sovereignty. It starts with sovereignty, and gaming just happens to be the vehicle that’s pushed us into the 21st century in a really meaningful way,” Allen told the crowd at G2E. “It’s taken our governments to another level. It’s helped us serve our elders and our children. That’s what’s important about it so that’s why we’ve got to fight for our rights in Washington, D,C., in our state capitols, in our back yards to make sure everybody knows the good things that we’re doing, not only for our own people but for our community.” Stevens presented Allen with a special bolo tie.