NIGC Chair Affirms Federal Indian Consultation Right

Kudos to National Indian Gaming Chairwoman Tracie Stevens for vocally affirming her and the agency's strong commitment to government-to-government consultation with tribes.

For issues concerning the needs of specific tribes and their operations, we will continue to meet with tribes at their request. For these meetings, we will consult in the most efficient manner. We are currently reviewing our 2004 consultation policy to ensure that it is relevant, timely, workable and respectful. Additionally, as a method to help inform our own consultation policy review process we’re participating in the Department of Interior’s consultation team discussions regarding President Obama’s Nov. 5, 2009 consultation directive. We intend to build better relationships with our sister agencies so tribes are not faced with redundancies.

On December 2, 2010, at the 7th Annual Northwest Gaming Law Summit in Seattle, Chairwoman Stevens confirmed that the agency will consult with a tribal government prior to initiating any enforcement action against that tribe or its gaming enterpise, as contemplated by the NIGC's tribal consultation policy.

As she alludes, it is also important for the NIGC to help ensure that its sister agencies, such as the IRS and FinCEN, also meaningfully consult with tribal governments before launching in inquest into a tribe's gaming affairs. Indeed, the right hand and the left hand of United States' Indian gaming regulatory regime must be in sync when it comes to government-to-government consultation. Otherwise, the Federal Government will likely find itself in breach of the federal Indian consultation right.

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian majority-owned law firm.  He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California.  He can be reached at 206.691.3631 or, or via