Navajo Gaming Compact met with opposition

Here at Naabik’iyati Commttee.

The first item on Naabi agenda is hearing a report from the Navajo Department of Justice on BCDS and ONSAT but NDOJ is not in the Council chamber so Delegate Leonard Tsosie is asking for a report on Navajo Nation – New Mexico Gaming Compact. Vote is 14 in favor, 2 opposed.

So Delegate LoRenzo Bates is asked to make gaming report, along with President Ben Shelly’s attorney Heather Claw.

Yesterday met with Compact Committee, all 18 showed up. There is advisory group that can ask questions and comment but not vote. All advisory group present. Poquaque, Laguna, Zuni spoke. Navajo folks there too. Jicarilla, Acoma, San Felipe also spoke. Had staff from Northern Edge Casino spoke in favor of NN-NM Gaming Compact. Meeting adjourned for Compact Committee to make comments and committee cud send NN-NM gaming compact back to govenor for amendments. Tribes that opposed. Tribes felt that unfair for Navajo Nation to have five casinos. We argued that we have larger peopulation and larger land base and so couldn’t be treated the same as other tribes and Pueblos. They opposed Child Support Amendment, which Delegates Josh Butler and Nelson Begaye sponsored, for .25 and not .5. We argued for recognition of Navajo courts. But it came down to that free enterprise not for Navajo, only for them. Meeting on Monday and take questions from Compact Committee and also respond to opposing statements from Tribes. And if Compact Committee supports reducing five casinos, Navajo will oppose. There is also deadline and when Compact Committee approves its recommendations, President Shelly also signs off. We did hire PR firm that is doing an excellent job of pushing our position. Zunis asked Compact Committee to table Navajo Gaming Compact and I think it has to do with Land Exchange. Navajo Gaming Compact has received a lot of media attention and there were news stories Albuquerque Journal.

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