For Immediate Release ~ June 16, 2004
Washington, DC — The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has scheduled a number of government-to-government consultation meetings with tribes in several states. This week, Vice Commissioner Nelson Westrin, a former Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, is leading government-to-government tribal consultations with various tribes in Michigan and Wisconsin.
"This is an opportunity for tribal leadership to consult with the NIGC on issues pertaining to the regulation of the growing Indian gaming industry," said Westrin. "Earlier this year, the NIGC established a formal government-to-government tribal consultation policy. This policy is a testament of our strong belief of the importance of the NIGC to hearing from tribes and understanding their concerns."
This summer, NIGC Commissioners scheduled tribal consultation meetings in various regions. In early June, all three NIGC Commissioners, including NIGC Chairman Phil Hogen, conducted a training and consultation session in Rapid City, South Dakota. Hogen, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Nation of South Dakota, believes consultation meetings mutually benefit both tribes and the NIGC.
"Tribes are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of their bingo halls and casinos. The NIGC greatly appreciates knowing how we can best provide assistance to ensure that these facilities are running smoothly," Hogen stated. "We learn from tribes, and appreciate the opportunity to share our views and experience."
In addition to the consultation meetings in Michigan, Wisconsin and South Dakota, Westrin will be in Oklahoma with Commissioner Cloyce "Chuck" Choney to conduct consultation meetings with Oklahoma gaming tribes later this month. The meetings will be held in Oklahoma City on June 28-29, 2004. Choney is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.
"When we were first appointed to the Commission, we spent a great deal of time traveling throughout each region to consult with tribes. I am looking forward to continuing our ongoing dialogue with tribal leaders and Indian gaming regulators during these consultation meetings," added Choney.
In July, NIGC Commissioners will be scheduling consultation meetings with tribes in Kansas and the Northwest. Tribes interested in scheduling a consultation meeting with the NIGC should call the agency's headquarters at (202) 632-7003.
The National Indian Gaming Commission is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.