Home NewsCasino Siva, CNIGA’s Siva is a fan of a good deal; she wants to extend her role as ‘tribal leader’ to IGA

Siva, CNIGA’s Siva is a fan of a good deal; she wants to extend her role as ‘tribal leader’ to IGA

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James Siva wants to make everyone happy. James Siva, the man responsible for bringing together the diverse group of tribes who make up California Nations Indian Gaming Association, has an impressive knack for negotiations.

Dennis Hendricks, a member of the Tuolumne Band of MeWuk Indians tribe council, said: “I believe James is a leader who has an exceptional ability to listen to both sides of a situation and reach a consensus.”

Siva claimed that Hendricks had been a mentor to him when he joined the CNIGA Executive Committee.

Siva, who is currently the CNIGA Chairman, hopes that this is the type of leadership the Indian Gaming Association, which will meet in Anaheim beginning on Monday 8 April, seeks. Siva declared his intention to run for Vice Chairman at the Western Indian Gaming Conference, in February. Siva will be facing incumbent David Z. Bean, of Washington’s Puyallup Tribe.

The young minds are rising

Siva, one of the two emerging tribal leaders on this year’s National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 40 Under 40 list of young tribal leaders, is now running for national office.

The National Council for American Indian Enterprise Development honored James SivA, Andrew alejandre and Justin barrett for their leadership roles within tribal communities.

Justin Barrett is the treasurer for Oklahoma’s East Shawnee Tribe. He will likely run against the incumbent treasurer Andy Ebona of Alaska’s Douglas Village. Siva Barrett together would represent the two largest tribal gaming states of the US on the IGA Executive Committee. California and Oklahoma do not have a representative on the IGA executive committee.

IGA elections are scheduled for 9 April. This will be the second day at the conference. The day of the election, those interested in running must nominate themselves. Regional caucuses will then meet and decide who to support. Finally, delegates will vote. Each tribe, no matter how large or small it is, has one delegate and one vote.

It’s time for change!

Both Siva and Barrett run in hopes to effect change.

Siva stated, “I think there’s been an increase in complacency at IGA over the past five to ten years.” It’s understandable that things become repetitive at this level. There are the same types of conferences and lobbying in DC. It’s a common criticism among tribes throughout the nation.

Siva explained that IGA, a lobbying group in Washington DC for tribal issues, needs unanimity to take a position. Siva, who is the chairman of CNIGA (a coalition of 52 California tribes), found it difficult to reach agreement with all issues. She had no choice but to think outside of the box.

He said, “We had to think hard about the meaning of unity.” Unity built upon complete consensus makes any actions impossible. You must have agreement about principles. “We had to agree on our fundamental beliefs, and only then could we disagree but still move forward.”

CNIGA unity is dependent on respect

In 2022, a group consisting of seven commercial operators launched a ballot measure to introduce online sports betting in California. Indian Country ultimately opposed the initiative and it was defeated.

Three tribes signed up to back Proposition 27 – the commercial initiative – along the way. They believed that it was a move towards financial independence, which would allow them to maintain their sovereignty.

California nations indian gaming association chairman james siva announced his intent to expand his tribal leadership role to the national level at the western indian gaming conference in february.

Siva’s executive board and the majority of CNIGA members disagreed with this, but they did not reject or drive away any tribes.

Siva stated, “They attended all our meetings and received respect.” They shared their opinions. “We had to make sure that these tribes felt comfortable asking for commercial help.”

Hendricks said: “It’s been a tough time. CNIGA is responsible for protecting our sovereign rights to gaming. Some people are hurt when someone is on the opposite side. “We worked hard for tribal unity and it hurt, but we are now through, we don’t care if they disagree with our statements or their cause. They still belong to our group, and we value what they say.”

Siva’s Goal: Let everyone be heard

In 2023, as California’s Indian Country began to heal from the rift that had caused it, a commercial group proposed a new ballot initiative. Siva and CNIGA remained steadfast in their opposition.

This group has abandoned their plan and left the tribes of the largest state in America the chance to repair fences and decide what online gambling and legal sports betting will look like.

Siva stated, “I advocate for and try to create space so that everyone can have a seat at the table. They are also able to share their decisions.” I want to expand our industry and promote tribal exclusivity. “I think I can take that national.”

Siva became the chairman of CNIGA after having served as vice-chairman and member-at large. Siva is also vice-chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians where he was previously a member of their tribal council. Siva claims he fell into the tribal leadership but found that it was his calling.

Siva said, “This is my first time doing something that really ticks all of the boxes,” I still get to do academic work like working on policy and legislation. It’s a skill I have mastered. “I’ve been an outgoing person my whole life.”

Similar spirit

Siva, who lives 12 hundred miles to the east has discovered a sortred spirit. Barrett is the youngest member of the East Shawnee tribal executive committee in history. If he succeeds with his IGA bid, he may be the youngest person to ever hold the position. Barrett explained that his family had been in the tribal leadership field for many years, and he felt it would be a good fit.

Barrett and Siva both belong to a group forming the Tribal Leadership Council. The goal is to provide young tribal leaders with the necessary tools for success. Barrett explained that the idea came from a discussion he had with California Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians Chairman Andrew Alejandre who was also on the list of “40 Under 40”.

Barrett stated, “We talked about the fact that there is nothing out there to guide tribal leaders in their job.” The question, then, is “How can we create a future of sustainable leaders?”

When will you write your next chapter?

Barrett and Siva both see winning elections at the local level and having a platform on the national stage as the first step. Siva claims Barrett is uniquely qualified as a treasurer because of his background in tribal casino operations, while Barrett believes Siva has a strong “coalition-building” skill.

Siva’s passion for writing her next chapter will begin by the end of next week if things go according to plan.

Siva replied, “I have always been geeky or a nerd.” I’ve been academically inclined my whole life, yet I have an Ivy League diploma despite being a dropout from high school. After getting my GED, I floated for a while before returning to school and eventually, Columbia.

There is always time for a rewrite.

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