The California Nations Indian Gaming Association, or CNIGA, was founded in 1988. The group is a non-profit organization composed of federally recognized tribal governments. The organization has several goals concerning the positive promotion of Indian gaming and Native American culture.

Goals of CNIGA

The organization was formed with the purpose of protecting Indian gaming on federally recognized lands, including reservations. CNIGA is involved with the planning and coordinating of legal, policy, legislative, and communications efforts in regard to Native American culture and the industry of Indian gaming. The goal of the organization is to spread information about Indian gaming and to help in the communication between tribal, state, and federal governments by providing thorough technical help and aid to these groups concerning the gaming industry.

The organization recognizes the important case California v. Cabazon, in which the United States Supreme Court recognized Indians’ rights to offer and provide gaming on tribal lands. This landmark case was decided in 1987 and has had a profound impact on tribal governments and the Indian gaming industry.

Over 61 tribal governments have signed a compact with the state of California. Overseen by CNIGA, these compacts include labor agreements, revenue sharing, and environmental protection agreements. The revenue sharing provision ensures that even non-gaming tribes can share in the revenue generated by tribal governments who support the gaming industry. According to CNIGA, tribal governments that were once impoverished and heavily dependent on government subsidies are now flourishing due to the economic benefits of the Indian gaming industry.

CNIGA works to encourage communication between the governments as well as to promote Indian gaming for the benefits of the industry. There is still a certain stigma attached to gambling in the United States and CNIGA works to dispel that stigma in relation to Native American culture and gaming. CNIGA’s goal is to ensure that people understand the role gaming plays in Native American culture and the importance of gaming both culturally and economically to the Native American people. The goal of the organization is to educate people across the United States about the importance of gaming as an industry and as a tradition.