- By Native News Online Staff
WASHINGTON — After seeing its members excluded from federal funding programs in the recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the National Indian Gaming Association is encouraging tribes to reach out to legislators to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
In a letter to members yesterday, NIGA executives Ernie Stevens Jr., Jason Giles and Danielle Her Many Horses encouraged tribal members to send letters to their Senators and Congressman as soon as possible to ensure that tribal gaming would be included in the next federal relief package related to COVID-19. NIGA represents 150 tribal governments nationwide.
Tribal gaming was wedged out of U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) funding programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided $349 billion in forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The exclusion was based on SBA standard operating procedures (SOP) that exclude businesses that generate more than one-third of their revenue from legal gambling.
“We can no longer wait for the SBA to come to its senses,” NIGA executives wrote in a letter to members. “Indian gaming is Tribal Government gaming, which generates funding for essential tribal government services: Education, Health Care, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Fire Protection, Water and Sanitation, Child and Elder Care, Cultural Centers and Museums.”
The letter concludes: "Please send the Attached Letter to Your Senators and Congressmen As Soon As Possible because Congress has the next COVID-19/CARES Act+ Legislation Under consideration now."
Tribal leaders can find a copy of the letter NIGA is encouraging tribes to send to Congressional members here.
Celebrating 10 years of Native News...
We launched Native News Online back in February 2011 with the belief that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope it inspires you to celebrate our first decade with a gift of $10 or more to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.