Wednesday, March 2, 2016

NIGC Derelict In Its Fiduciary Responsibility to Individual American Indians

Good article in Indian Country Today.  Here are some excerpts.


Indian Country Today - NIGC Must Deter Gaming Per Capita Misuse

By Gabriel S. Galanda 3/1/16

It is easy to blame the Congress, the BIA,, and federal courts for allowing mass tribal disenrollment to flourish. They are all complicit.

But behind the scenes another federal entity plays a key role, especially in the increasing number of disenrollments tied to gaming per capitas: the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC).

Over the last five years, the NIGC has shied away from regulating gaming per capita distributions, and by doing so emboldened a growing number of tribal politicians to disenroll their kin to increase income for those politicians’ allies.
More to the point, while the NIGC does not have authority over any tribe’s “enrollment decisions,” the agency does possess the statutory power—and indeed is mandated—to intercede in disenrollment-related gaming per capita misuse. 25 U.S.C. § 2702(2); 25 C.F.R. § 290.14(b). The Commission can and should regulate the money. Prior NIGC Chairmen understood that. The current Commission demurs.
The NIGC’s deference to an intra-tribal system of check and balance in that context, is derelict. So is the Commission when it comes to the trust responsibility it owes to every single enrolled member of gaming tribes.

By the admission of former NIGC Chairman Harold Monteau, the NIGC owes a “direct trust (fiduciary) responsibility to American Indians”—meaning not merely to tribal governments, but to tribal members, including those who face disenrollment.  (emph. added)