• MIGA Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Sports Betting

    14 May 2018

    The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) has issued a statement in response to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional the federal ban on sports betting as established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). The statement reads in full as follows:

    “This Supreme Court ruling, which effectively makes sports betting policy a matter for states to decide, was not unexpected.

    “The current Minnesota legislative session will adjourn on May 21, so we expect that serious consideration of the sports betting issue will be deferred until the 2019 session. Until then, MIGA tribes will take advantage of the interim to study the matter, conduct internal discussions, and work constructively with key legislative leadership to ensure that the tribal perspective is fully considered in the development of Minnesota’s sports gambling policy.

    “The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association has long opposed the expansion of gambling. Whenever new forms of gambling are proposed, Indian tribes must carefully consider how these changes could affect the enterprises that serve as our tax base to support our sovereign government operations, the tribal communities where we provide services and the broader communities that are impacted by the jobs that have been created to support our enterprises.”



  • UMD Offers 1-Week Summer Certificate in Tribal Administration, Governance

    30 May 2017

    The University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) has received a Blandin Foundation grant to offer a one-week summer pilot program leading to a Professional Certificate in Tribal Administration and Governance at a reduced cost of $250 per person. The 2017 Summer Academy is set for July 31-August 4 at the Griggs Center on the UMD campus.

    The program includes the week-long course with expert presentations and hands-on case study projects as well as a fall symposium and spring 2018 retreat. Covered topics include tribal ethics, law, human resources, project management, budgets and leadership. The content is designed to benefit those currently serving in tribal leadership positions, aspiring future leaders, and individuals serving tribes in various administrative/management roles.

    More information is available here.



  • 24th Annual MIGA Golf Tournament Set for June 19

    7 May 2017

    MIGA will host its 24th annual Golf Tournament on Monday, June 19 at The Meadows at Mystic Lake starting at 10:00 am. The gathering is the association’s only yearly fundraising event.

    MIGA Chairman Charlie Vig said the golf tournament helps MIGA sustain its advocacy on behalf of Indian gaming, which has proven to be a successful economic development tool for tribes for more than 25 years. “However, there are still many unmet needs in Indian country, and the tribes must continue to build on what they’ve accomplished,” Vig said.

    Chairman Vig expressed appreciation to the tribes, vendors and suppliers who show their support through participation in the tournament. “Some of these vendors have been part of this effort from the earliest days of Indian gaming,” he said. “We’re very proud of these relationships, and very grateful for them.”

    A registration form for the event is available here.

  • Nearly 400 Join MIGA for 25th Anniversary Celebration

    20 September 2016

    A capacity crowd of more than 380 guests joined Minnesota tribal leaders and dignitaries on Thursday, September 15, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the state’s tribal gaming compacts. In honor of the occasion, Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed Thursday “Tribal Government Gaming Day in Minnesota,” and U.S. Representative Betty McCollum read a letter from President Barack Obama in which he saluted tribal leaders for “helping to open a new era of opportunity for our Nation’s first peoples.”

    Dinner guests enjoyed a wind flute serenade by Ojibwe musician Maxwell Blake and a slide show recognizing the early leaders of Minnesota Indian gaming. Another program highlight was a short video telling the story of the compact negotiations and what the agreements have meant to Minnesota tribes. Following the video, each of the MIGA tribal leaders in attendance delivered brief remarks and introduced their fellow elected officials and staff.

    Ernie Stevens, Jr., chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), noted the key role that MIGA tribal leaders played in the formation of the organization he leads. “It was Minnesota that led the way in creating NIGA,” Stevens said, “and Minnesota tribes continue to be key players in keeping NIGA strong and effective.”

    Keynote speaker Franklin Ducheneaux noted that MIGA’s contributions go beyond Minnesota and beyond Indian gaming. “Minnesota tribal leaders have always understood that when the sovereignty of one tribe is threatened, all tribes are at risk. By remaining unified and speaking as one voice in the defense of sovereignty, MIGA tribes have set an example for the rest of Indian country to follow.”

  • Tribal Enterprise Jobs, Purchasing Boost Minnesota’s Economy

    15 September 2016

    St. Paul, MN–A study released September 15 by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) reports that the state’s tribal casinos account for more than 26,800 direct and indirect jobs statewide and a total economic impact of almost $1.8 billion dollars.

    The job numbers include 13,371 gaming and ancillary jobs, as well as 1,916 non-gaming jobs on and off the reservation. Indirect and induced employment accounts for another 11,097 jobs, bringing the total to 26,384. Tribal government jobs, which were estimated at over 6,000 in a 2007 study, were not included in this study.

    MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said this study is the first to examine the impact of tribally owned non-gaming businesses located both on and off the reservation.

    “As Indian gaming has matured, tribes have begun to focus on diversifying their economies beyond gaming and outside reservation boundaries,” he said. “Many tribes are now operating enterprises that create jobs and pay taxes in their local communities. That makes them even more valuable as economic assets to Minnesota.”

    Other highlights of the study:

    • Tribal gaming and non-gaming enterprises on and off the reservation pay over $0.5 billion in wages and benefits, and generate approximately $126 million in payroll taxes annually. When indirect and induced impacts are included, total wage earnings from tribal enterprises exceed $1 billion.
    • Tribal enterprises account for over $717 million in annual purchases for goods and services, $482 million of which is paid to Minnesota vendors.
    • Since Indian gaming began in Minnesota, tribes have invested more than $2.5 billion in their gaming and non-gaming enterprises both on and off the reservation, including almost $200 million in 2015, and are projecting another $300 million in capital investment in 2016-2017.
    • Minnesota tribal casinos attract almost 23 million visitors each year, making them the 2nd largest tourist attraction in the state, second only to the Mall of America.
    • 9 percent of all tribal enterprise employees are full-time. Approximately 50 percent are women; nearly 30 percent are Native Americans and another 10 percent are other minorities.

    MIGA Chairman Charles Vig, who also serves as Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, said the tribes are proud of their sustained contribution to Minnesota’s economy.

    “Indian gaming has become much more than a tool for tribal development and revitalization,” Vig said. “Thanks to gaming revenues, some tribes are now in a position to invest not only in our own communities, but in our neighbors as well. That means more job opportunities for a diverse work force, more tax revenues for local jurisdictions, and more economic progress for all Minnesotans.”

    The new study, conducted by KlasRobinson QED, was commissioned by MIGA as part of its commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Minnesota’s gaming compacts, which were negotiated and signed between 1989 and 1991. The full report is available here.

  • Key Indian Affairs Leader to Keynote MIGA 25th Anniversary Banquet

    9 September 2016

    St. Paul, MN–(September 8) Franklin D. Ducheneaux, former Counsel on Indian Affairs to the U.S. House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and a key figure in the drafting of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), will deliver the keynote address at a September 15 banquet hosted by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Minnesota’s tribal gaming compacts. Minnesota’s compacts were the first in the nation to be negotiated and signed under IGRA, a process that begin in 1989 and concluded in 1991.

    screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-7-12-12-pmDucheneaux, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, rose to prominence in 1973 as Indian Affairs Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Indian Affairs under Congressman Lloyd Meeds (D-WA). In 1977, he was appointed by Congressman Morris K. Udall (D-AZ) to serve as Indian Affairs Counsel to the full House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee.

    From 1973 to 1990, Ducheneaux played a key role in the crafting of virtually every major piece of Indian legislation to come before Congress, including the Indian Self-Determination Act, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Indian Mineral Development Act, and in 1988, IGRA. During his tenure, he earned a reputation as a fierce and effective advocate for tribal sovereignty and self-determination.

    Ducheneaux’s role in the development and passage of IGRA was particularly pivotal, according to MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy A February 1988 Supreme Court decision (California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians) had reaffirmed the right of sovereign Indian tribes to conduct gaming on their own lands without interference from states as long as gambling was legal under state laws.

    In the wake of that ruling, a coalition of state governors and attorneys general lobbied Congress to pass legislation that would give states some measure of control over the gaming activities of tribes located within their boundaries. Tribes opposed any federal legislation that would give states regulatory authority over their affairs.

    “Frank had the challenging task of drafting a bill that would give states some measure of authority over tribal gaming without going too far in compromising the tribes’ inherent right to govern and regulate themselves,” McCarthy said. “He managed to balance those interests brilliantly, and as a result, the lives of millions of Indian people all over this country were changed forever.”

    “Frank is the architect of Indian gaming as we know it,” McCarthy said, “so it’s only fitting that he should join us as the keynote speaker for this very special 25th anniversary celebration.”

    The event will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel St. Paul Riverfront, a property of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, starting with a reception at 6 pm followed by the banquet at 7 pm.. Tickets are still available through the MIGA website.

  • Stacey Thunder to Host MIGA 25th Anniversary Event

    6 September 2016

    STACEY THUNDERStacey Thunder, well-known Native American producer, actress, television host and attorney, will serve as emcee and host for the nearly sold-out MIGA 25th Anniversary Gala Banquet on Thursday, September 15 at the Intercontinental Hotel St. Paul Riverfront.

    The former host of “Native Report,” Thunder now hosts and produces her own video series, “Indigenous with Stacey Thunder.” She was recognized as one of the inaugural “50 Faces of Indian Country” by Indian Country Today Media Network, and as one of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s “40 Under 40” award winners. She is of Red Lake and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe descent.

    MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said nearly 400 guests are expected to attend the gala, including Minnesota tribal officials, state and federal dignitaries, national Indian gaming leaders, tribal vendors and suppliers, and community members.

    The festivities begin at 6 pm with a social hour followed by dinner at 7 pm. The program highlights include songs by Dakota and Ojibwe drum groups and a short video telling the story of Minnesota’s tribal-state compacts, the first in the nation to be signed under IGRA.

    Scheduled speakers include MIGA Chairman Charles Vig, who also chairs the Shakopee Mdewekanton Sioux Community; National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.; U.S. Representatives Betty McCollum and John Kline, both members of the House Native American Caucus; U.S. Senator Al Franken, a member of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, who will address the group via video message; and John McCarthy. A special keynote speaker will be announced later this week.

    A limited number of individual seats are still available for purchase on the MIGA website.

  • Tribes plan gala to celebrate gaming milestone

    13 August 2016

    Minnesota Indian tribes will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the state’s final gaming compacts on Thursday, September 15 with a gala banquet at the Intercontinental Hotel St. Paul Riverfront, a property now owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.


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