The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has joined sister organizations, tribal governments, and tribal leaders, in calling for an end to what it described as the ‘destructive’ federal government shutdown, the longest running of its kind in the country’s history.

The association is now urging its Member Tribes and any other tribal citizen within Indian Country to submit stories of hardship that the shutdown is causing their communities, to be shared with Congress and the Administration.

In a statement, NIGA said: “The government shutdown directly impacts essential governmental services to all residents of Indian Country. It is endangering lives and property on tribal lands, burdening those most in need—the poorest of the poor in the United States. Native Nations entered into treaties with the United States. In so doing, our governments ceded hundreds of millions of acres to the federal government. In return, the Government promised to provide for the health, education, public safety, and general care of Reservation residents.”

Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr emphasized: “There is nothing more essential to the lives of our Tribal citizens than maintaining the health, safety, education, and welfare services on the Reservation that depend on Federal money. As the shutdown lingers on, these services are being cut-off, or are at risk of being substantially reduced. Our Board Members and NIGA Member Tribes are now urging Congress and the President to end this shutdown.”

By way of a call to action from its members, the association said: “NIGA is committed to sharing your stories of the shutdown’s impact on your Tribe and its citizens. As a national Tribal resource located on Capitol Hill, we are uniquely situated to tell your stories daily to Congress and the administrative agencies that serve Indian Country. Stories and any comments can be submitted to Rudy Soto at RSoto@indiangaming.org or Chelsea Blake at CBlake@indiangaming.org.”