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The BRIGHT Path

The BRIGHT Path

Thirty years of tribal unity in gaming started with the formation of the National Indian Gaming Association, and was cemented by the leadership of the late Rick Hill

The BRIGHT Path On August 13, 2013, Rick Hill, chairman emeritus of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), was asked to present a history of tribal government gaming and the role that NIGA has played in protecting and promoting gaming,

both before and after the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988.

While his presentation was not recorded, this article is based on extensive written notes and a copy of the remarks made by Chairman Hill that day. I hope those who knew Rick Hill will hear his voice here,

and those who didn’t can appreciate the legacy of NIGA through his words.After an introduction by Sheila Morago, executive director of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA),

who invited him to give this address, Chairman Hill’s speech started out in a way that reflected his humility and humor.

In only a few short words, he compelled those who were standing in the back of the room to put down their phones, move toward the podium, and listen.

“B-23… I-19… O-31…

“Hello, everyone, I thought Sheila asked me here tonight to call bingo numbers. The Catholic Church is still mad because we stole their sacred sacrament, bingo.

“Some of you may remember (poet and musician) Gil Scott-Heron,when he said, ‘I had said I wasn’t gonna write no more poems like this. I had said I wasn’t gonna write no more words down about people kicking us when we’re down. But the dogs are in the street.

The revolution will not be televised.’”

The two most popular corporate structures are tribally chartered corporations under Section 16, and federally chartered corporations under Section 17.

The Section 17 structure has been recommended, due to the perception that it creates a more solid legal base, although that perception appears to be fading, as tribally chartered corporations have been very successful in attracting financing

and accessing grants and government contracts. The disadvantage of incorporating as a Section 17 is that it can be a lengthy process to get approval from the Department of the Interior, and it is typically more expensive to establish with respect to legal fees.

“Hello, everyone, I thought Sheila asked me here tonight to call bingo numbers. The Catholic Church is still mad because we stole their sacred sacrament, bingo.

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