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The National Gaming Commission announced the Fiscal Year 2021 gross gaming revenue hit a record high, totaling $39 billion. It’s a 40 percent increase from the Fiscal Year 2020 and a 13 percent increase to Fiscal Year 2019.

"While last year experienced a record number of closures there was also growth with new operations opening. This demonstrates gaming operations and tribes are making difficult decisions as they navigate a rebound from the pandemic," Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer said in a statement.

Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland said the numbers reflect the Indian gaming geographic, demographic and financial diversity.

"The industry has much to celebrate and be proud of,” she said.

Simermeyer added that the pandemic has given the Indian gaming industry an opportunity to improve in the future.

"NIGC recognizes this year's rebound has not been felt equally by all tribes. We are committed to helping all tribal operations benefit from the regulatory lessons learned over the past two years," he said.

The Fiscal Year 2021 revenues are calculated from “independently audited financial statements” from 510 gaming operations, owned by 243 federally recognized tribes. — ICT

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Nicole Aunapu Mann will be making history as the first Native woman to fly into space this fall.

Mann, enrolled in Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in northern California, will be aboard the SpaceX Crew-5 mission to go to the International Space Station no earlier than Sept. 29.

“It’s very exciting,” she told ICT referring to being the first Native woman in space. “I think it's important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”

This is NASA’s fifth crew rotation flight as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. As mission commander on the SpaceX spacecraft called Dragon, Mann is leading all phases of the flight from launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. She will also serve as the Expedition 68 flight engineer on the space station. READ MOREJourdan Bennett-Begaye, ICT 

In the Pacific Northwest, a new advisory council is being called a “historic improvement” toward better relations between Indigenous people and the city.

Last week, the “Seattle City Council” appointed its first Indigenous Advisory Council.

It is the first-of-its-kind in the state’s history.

It is made up of nine newly appointed members, including local Indigenous organizers as well as leaders of tribal and urban Native communities.

The new council will advise the city government on policies and issues impacting American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people living in Seattle.

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That also includes regional tribes in the state such as the Duwamish people who are not federally recognized. — ‘ICT Newscast with Aliyah Chavez’

After a long break, Alaska Natives will gather by the thousands in person for the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention this fall. The event comes after a 3-year break due to COVID. It’s scheduled for Oct. 20-22 at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

The convention draws tribal members and Alaska village and regional corporation shareholders from across the state, including more than 191 federally recognized tribes and 11 of the 12 regional Alaska Native corporations. It also features an artists’ market and traditional dance performances.

The convention includes presentations and panel discussions on a range of topics, as well as political debates and speeches by officials. Delegates of tribes and corporations vote on resolutions that provide direction to the Alaska Federation of Natives, the statewide advocacy organization.

The last time the convention was held in person was in 2019 in Fairbanks. The 2020 and 2021 conventions were held virtually. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Unity.”

Usually the Alaska Federation of Natives convention brings 4,000 to 5,000 Alaska Natives together from across the state, the largest gathering of any kind in Alaska. — ICT

The Arizona State Senate is hosting the Navajo Code Talkers Day on Aug. 14 at the Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix.

Thomas H. Begay, a marine and Navajo code talker, will be the keynote speaker.

 It will also be live streamed on Facebook. — ICT

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The Native American Rights Fund is inviting federally recognized tribes to sign on to the Haaland v. Brackeen Tribal Amicus Brief for the Indian Child Welfare Act, Native children and Native families.

The deadline to sign is Aug. 15 at noon Eastern Time.

“If your Tribe would like to add its name to the brief, please reach out to NARF Senior Staff Attorney Erin Dougherty Lynch at dougherty@narf.org as soon as possible,” Turtle Talk said.

About 260 tribes have signed thus far. Tribes who signed on to the previous brief when the case was before the Fifth Circuit are not automatically on the Tribal Amicus Brief. — ICT

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