Members of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) visited the Southern Ute Indian Tribe on Monday, Feb. 26 to provide information to Tribal Council and the Southern Ute Division of Gaming on the work the association does.
“The reason for the visit is to strengthen our voice in Washington [D.C.], that’s why we’re here,” Ernest Stevens NIGA chairman said.
NIGA gave a brief history of the association and updated the tribe on the lobbying the association does in Washington D.C. Since NIGA was established in 1985, it has served as a lobbying organization, Jason Giles, NIGA Executive Director said. NIGA has been instrumental in helping pass legislation that helps Native tribes and has also worked to stop legislation that threatens tribal sovereignty, Giles said.
“Every election … people get into office that are unaware of tribal governments,” he said.
Which is why it is important for tribes to be involved with new political systems coming in Giles said.
Southern Ute Chairman Clement J. Frost thanked the association for the presentation and let them know that the tribe works well with the state of Colorado.
“We are thankful for the Governor … that he understands the tribe and that the tribe has the support of the Governor’s office and CCIA. We appreciate the state’s relationship with the two Ute Tribes,” he said.
The Southern Ute Gaming Commission will be attending the NIGA’s Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention March 13-15 in Phoenix, AZ.