NIGA Hands Out Awards

5 April 2006

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – (PRESS RELEASE) -- American Indian tribal efforts to boost hurricane relief, trust
land protection, youth sports and tribal language preservation and protection were recognized here in
Albuquerque yesterday by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.
Stevens shared the stage with Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills as the two handed out the 2006
Chairman's Leadership Awards.

"These awards recognize efforts made all across the United States," said Stevens. "What's more, they
show very clearly the broad range of interests, commitments and impacts tribes are having in their
regions and their country."

Seven tribes were honored for their efforts to relieve the human tragedy and devastation last year of
Hurricane Katrina. The TunicaBiloxi
Tribe, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Agua
Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Pueblo of Sandia, the
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation together raised $5 million for
victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. These are just a few examples of the many more tribes
that sent money, supplies and manpower.

In addition, the Chumash Band of Santa Ynez Indians was honored for almost two decades of effort to
protect lands in trust. The NIGA Hospitality Network was honored for its tireless promotion of
traditional tribal hospitality as a key component in the success of Indian gaming enterprises in America.

The AkChin
Indian Community, the Salt River PimaMaricopa
Indian Community and the Spirit Lake
received awards for bringing thousands of youth together under the banner of the Native American
Basketball Institute.

Also receiving awards were the Indigenous Language Institute, a nonprofit
organization located in
Santa Fe, N.M., which exists to protect, preserve and perpetuate endangered and dying Native
languages; the New Mexico Indian Gaming Association; the All Indian Pueblo Council; and Charles
Colombe, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, who is the tribe's former President
and also NIGA's former executive committee treasurer.

Mills stunned the world of track and field in Tokyo 1964 when he claimed an upset Olympic victory in
the 10,000 meter run. Mills, also present to offer a keynote address and promote sports among Native
American Youth, served as the presenter for the awards ceremony.

NIGA's 15 th Annual Trade Show and Membership Meeting continues in Albuquerque through
tomorrow.

The National Indian Gaming Association is a nonprofit
trade association comprised of 184 American
Indian nations and other nonvoting
associate members. The common commitment and purpose of
NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian people economically,
socially and politically. NIGA operates as
a clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the
public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development.

224 Second Street SE, Washington DC 20003 • Tel. (202) 5467711
• Fax (202) 5461755
• ww.indiangaming.org
Contact: Jesselyn Long (571) 2394086
NATIONAL INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION (NIGA) OPENS TO REFLECT
$20 BILLION INDUSTRY
(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., April 4, 2006) With the glitter of a $20 billion industry shining through
the opening doors behind them, National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) leaders and a host of
dignitaries cut the ribbon today and launched the 2006 NIGA Trade Show at the Albuquerque
Convention Center.
NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. was flanked by Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, former
Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and New Mexico All Indian Pueblo Council Chairman
Amadeo Shije. Together, they underscored the success of the industry, its responsible growth and the
vast impacts it has had toward improving the lives of millions of Americans, Indian and nonIndian.
They all made the same point: Yes, it's great wealth, but even greater is the sharing of it.
"We're not just about Indian Country – this comes from our hearts," said Stevens. "We're about
rebuilding and improving our communities, building schools and hospitals, creating jobs and
opportunity, and sharing our wealth in ways that will help all people."
In the Trade Show, some 400 vendors awaited their share of the Indian Gaming economic pie. Over
5,000 people are expected at the threeday
Conference and Trade Show. The show continues through
tomorrow.
"We've come a long way," said Nighthorse Campbell. "Who would have thought in 1988 that our
bingo games in tin shacks or tents would have developed into a $20 billion industry? Tribes have
done it all and yet remained true to their beliefs, helping not only the tribes, but their local
communities, their regions and even their states."
The Trade Show is dominated by the flashing lights of gaming technology, but it also shows a
lengthy list of bankers, financial consultants, investment counselors and all the trappings of an
industry that is not only successful, but still in rapid growth. Also present in great numbers were
Indian Country regulators.
About two thirds of America's 562 federally recognized Indian tribes are involved in gaming on
some level, 184 of them members of NIGA.
"This show is one indication of what happens when tribes get together and work together," said
Shije, who represents 19 Pueblo nations in New Mexico. "Everywhere, our communities are
benefiting. Everyone wins. Everyone shares."
Mills, his face beaming, his eyes reflecting pride in Indian Country's emergence as an economic
force, spoke of traditional values that remain constant in a time of great development and wealth.
"Our cultures and traditions are the spirit behind the wealth and success," he said. "That is our
strength. More and more of our young people are challenged to take these virtues and values and
create a career. Very few industries include traditions and the cultural values. That is the spirit of
Indian gaming."
The National Indian Gaming Association is a nonprofit
trade association comprised of 184
American Indian Nations and other nonvoting
associate members. The mission of NIGA is to
advance the lives of Indian people –
economically, socially and politically. NIGA operates as a
clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the
public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development.


Related Links
NIGA Indian Gaming 2006 Tradeshow & Convention