Guest Blogger: Christi Hines, CFO Win-River Resort & Casino

Many people do not realize that Native Americans were given the right to operate Casinos on the land upon which their ancestors have dwelt, by the California Voters, with the passage of Proposition 1A on March 7, 2000.  This historic event was the first time in the history of the United States of America, the citizens of a state voted to amend state law to recognize Indian tribes as sovereign nations with the right to self-govern.

In 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the inherent governmental right of Indian Tribes to offer gaming on tribal lands (California v. Cabazon).  The following year Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) which created the statutory framework for tribal governments to engage in gaming as a means of promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.  IGRA requires Indian nations to negotiate with states concerning gaming to be played (scope of games), and regulation, while it ensures that tribal governments are the sole owners and primary beneficiaries of Indian gaming and legislatively recognizes tribal gaming as a way of promoting economic development for the tribes.

On September 19, 1999 most of the 61 California Tribal compacts were signed by tribal officials and Governor Gray Davis.  The signing of the tribal-state compact to regulate Class III gaming on Indian lands, together with the passage of Proposition 1A, ended a decade-long struggle by tribal nations in California to secure casino gaming on their lands.  (See “California Tribal – State Gaming Compact, September 1999”)

Resources: 

1999 California Tribal – State Compact and Model Tribal Labor Relations Ordinance. 

http://www.cgcc.ca.gov/documents/compacts/original_compacts/Redding_Compact.pdf  

Long Road Traveled.  http://www.cniga.com/facts/history.php

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