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Tribal gaming optimistic about recovery

How will changes to sports betting laws impact tribally owned casinos? Plus, how do the treaties of 1837, 1854 and 1855 play in opposition to Enbridge Line 3?

Changes are coming to the gaming industry that are already affecting tribally owned casinos. Across the country more and more states are opening up sports betting. To break it all down for us today is Victor Rocha. He’s the founder of and this year is the conference chairman for the National Indian Gaming Association

Oil pipelines are making news with the decision to drop the Keystone XL pipeline last week and the on-going fight against the Enbridge pipelines. Mary Annette Pember is our national correspondent covering this issue and she joins us today to give us an update. 

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • An infrastructure bill is quickly transforming into game-changing legislation. 
  • The Quechan Tribe is preparing for a fight over a gold mine on its ancestral lands. 
  • A tribal citizen from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina is hoping to get her tribe to pass a same-sex marriage law.
  • Chelsea Dungee is finally home after a nearly two-week road trip.
  • Kyrie Irving, the only Native American in the NBA, is healing from an injury he sustained in Sunday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Victor Rocha:

"I'm seeing different levels of recovery at different places in the country. If you look at a place like California they're going like gangbusters, and then you look at other regions in the country. They seem to be opening up a little slower. I think some of the speed bumps in the economy are a big factors in that you're looking at a an employment crisis."

"There's a lot of jobs that still need to be filled for a lot of the casinos and hotels and stuff like that. And then the other thing is the economic crisis that we have coming and dealing with services and goods, which are going to be a roadblock to full recovery. Tribes are going to be able to build new facilities and stuff like that. So we've got a lot of new issues on the table that we didn't have before, but I'm still optimistic."

"It is really quite amazing, isn't it? I know when I go down to my tribal casino over the weekend and talking to the employees. You see the waiters are starting to work double shifts and different restaurants and stuff like that. A lot of services aren't up to snuff as they usually are. And, when you leave your casino, you go to McDonald's, you see the same thing, you go to Lowe's you see the same thing, so it's affecting the entire country."

Mary Annette Pember:

"There's so much going on. Just as we're talking now, I got an email from the Minnesota court system that the court of appeals actually upheld the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approval of line three, as far as their certificate of need. However, there was one dissenting opinion from a judge involved. We're going to have a press conference coordinated by some of the Enbridge opponents."

(Find Indian Country Today's Enbridge coverage here)

"To kind of clarify and give us a better sense of of what that means for them. So that was quite a big decision that they were looking forward to. And I imagine they're quite disappointed. As you know a week ago in June 7th, about 179 people were arrested at one of the Enbridge construction sites."

"Actually a pumping station is was it's called, for trespassing and including a Los Angeles times reporter Alan Weisman, who was like 74 and they like strip searched him apparently. And people have very much come out strongly against that. The Committee to Protect Journalists actually denounced the arrest. Right now, as we're speaking, there is a camp that they're calling camp Fire Lights that has been put together by some Anishinaabe, some Ojibwe women and they're conducting ceremony."

Thank you for watching!

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

Mary Annette Pember, Red Cliff Ojibwe, is national correspondent for Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @mapember. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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