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Indian Controlled Gambling - “Las Vegas North”

Fraser

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE/JULY 1992      v21 n04 p05  
On Friday, June 19,1992, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Province of Saskatchewan signed an agreement in principle to establish a Saskatchewan Indian gaming commission.

According FSIN Chief Roland Crowe, Indian people "want to have a say in the gaming process, to establish our own rules and regulations, and to control gambling on reserves". The Indian gaming commission is expected to operate similarly to the existing Saskatchewan gaming commission.

In a resolution tabled at the spring legislative assembly of the FSIN it was moved by the Chiefs to develop a draft of the Indian Gaming Act which would effectively establish the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Commission and the regulations required to operate and control Indian gaining in this province.

Included within this resolution was the need for the commission appointees to enter into talks with the province and reaffirm, in the eyes of the province, the inherent right of Saskatchewan Indians to govern affairs on reserve land. The commission appointments consists of appointments submitted by the provincial tribal councils.

In the past, there have been occasions involving gambling and legalities involving the R.C.M.P.. The commission has met with the R.C.M.P. to ask for their input and involvement as well as their cooperation so that proposed gambling venture operate efficiently as well as legally. It is important for the success of this commission and its ventures that people understand that undesirable activities as well as undesirables in general would not be a part of these activities.

"We want to entice some of the people that fly out to Las Vegas". "We would have an operation that is second to none".

The Indian gaining commission anticipates, in the future, the construction and operation of perhaps four to six casinos throughout the province.

Along with the development of these gambling outlets, the commission expects "that the employment opportunities are going to be beyond our expectations".

A number of commission representatives travelled south to Bemidji, Minnesota in May and visited with some of the American tribes that have been economic development advantages of Indian controlled gambling.

"We signed a working letter with the International Gaming Consultants and International Gaming Technologists. Because of their success, we felt that their expertise was important," said Chief Crowe. At that particular conference, some astonishing numbers were revealed. Unemployment rates have gone from 95+% unemployment to less than 5% unemployment for one band in particular. "They have done more than they ever dreamed possible."

The Chief admits that there might be some people that will be concerned about the downside of gambling. "This process of gaming would, have number of advantages such that profits will be regenerated into the communities in the form of donations to recreation facilities and organizations, care for First Nations senior citizens, as well as addictions counselling."

As the commission continues meetings with the provincial government, the gaming commission recognizes that it is necessary to deal with the province until concerns with jurisdiction have been ironed out. As well, resources are not available for the Indian Gaming Commission at present, but they are asking for a contribution from the province of partial grant and loan.

Chief Crowe is adamant that Indian people should be involved in the control of the gaming process. Adds Chief Crowe, We have got to set up these casinos to generate money. Everyone benefits from this agreement. A fair amount of the non-Indian community would be employed as well, thereby generating positive feelings between both communities. If we don't act, some one else will always control our destinies." -- FRASER