National Indian Gaming Association chooses new vice chair

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has a new vice chairman as David Bean, a council member for the Puyallup Tribe, was recently sworn into the post.

Bean, who was sworn in on June 20 by NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr., will serve out the remainder of the former vice chairman’s one-year term, after which time he will be up for full re-election at the NIGA’s annual conference and trade show in 2018, when the election will be held, the Tacoma Weekly reported.

Spokane Tribal Councilmember and NIGA at-large 7BALL board member, Greg Abrahamson, nominated Been, who has been a NIGA board member since 2009. The NIGA board voted unanimously for Bean, according to the local Tacoma newspaper.

“I am almost without words,” Bean told the local newspaper. “It was a surprise and is an incredible honor to be recognized in this way by the NIGA board.”

After becoming a NIGA board member eight years ago, Bean reportedly became the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians gaming co-chair, which by default made him the Northwest delegate for NIGA. He said that his vice chairman role will provide him the opportunity to continue to promote the positive and oppose the negative for the Indian community. Bean told the newspaper, “Because casinos are a big part of tribes’ economic development, we need to be on the front lines of anything impacting that positively or negatively.”

Bean said after his current term is up and he is up for re-election, he will seek permission from his elders to run. “I’m happy to fill the role in the interim but going forward I would be talking to my elders in the community to do this full position, ” he said.

Kevin Leecy, the prior vice chair, apparently had to step down from the post after in June 2016 he lost his position as chairman of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Indians in June 2016.

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The NIGA represents 184 federally recognized Indian tribes and is comprised of tribal leaders from around the United Sates. The mission of the NIGA is to protect and preserve tribal sovereignty and the tribe’s ability to become economically self-sufficient through gaming as well as other forms of economic development.