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SRPMIC, GRIC and Recipients Gather to Celebrate Tribal Gaming Grants

(l-r) Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Vice-President Martin Harvier, President Delbert Ray, Sr., Gila River Indian Community Lieutenant Governor Monica Lynn Antone and GRIC Governor Stephen Roe Lewis.

For the first time, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community united to co-host the 12 Percent Tribal Gaming Grant Program celebration.

Leaders from the SRPMIC and GRIC, area elected officials, and representatives from the roughly 100 organizations that comprise the 2016–17 grant partners attended the two-hour celebration luncheon on November 29 at Talking Stick Resort. The names of the grant partners were also announced.

The grant program was created as part of the 2002 Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts. Over the years, SRPMIC and GRIC have collectively contributed more than $90 million to cities and organizations in Arizona, and more than $8 million was given as part of the 2016-17 effort.

Delegations from the Salt River PIma-Maricopa Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, City of Scottsdale, City of Tempe, City of Mesa and Maricopa County at the 12 Percent Grants Luncheon at Talking Stick Resort.
The celebration’s theme was “United in Giving.” The luncheon took place on Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year, known as the kickoff for holiday and year-end giving to charitable organizations.

Over the past year, tribal gaming in Arizona has contributed more than $1.8 billion to the state economy, SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr., said.

“It’s really been a joy to partner with many of you,” Ray said. “It takes all of us to do something for the person that we may not even know about, that we contribute to their lives.

“I am always inspired when grantees share stories of how tribal gaming grant dollars are put to use. While each group has a unique mission—from preventing child abuse to helping veterans to protecting animals, and much more—they all face the same financial pressures. We value their partnership and the opportunity to support their efforts.”

SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier welcomed the attendees, and Council Member Ricardo Leonard gave a blessing and sang a traditional song. Council Members Jenelle Howard, Archie Kashoya, Thomas Largo, Michael Dallas and David Antone also attended the celebration. A handful of GRIC Council members also attended, along with GRIC Governor Stephen Roe Lewis and Lieutenant Governor Monica Lynn Antone.

“What we are doing today, this resonates and reinforces who we are as O’odham people,” Lewis said. “For Indian people, being united not only as a tribe, not only as a family, but as tribes, we see the power. When we are united in giving, we are all stronger for this purpose.”

Guests offering remarks included Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, UMOM New Day Center CEO Darlene Newsom and Ryan House Executive Director Alyssa Crockett. The latter two shared their gratitude and explained how the tribal grants help their organizations.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was not in attendance, but he thanked both tribal communities in a video presentation.

“I am proud to say that it has been a pleasure to work with President Ray and Governor Lewis on issues that are important to both communities, which are also a reflection of the issues that are common in most tribal communities across our state,” Ducey said. “Whether it is gaming issues, water or health policy, or other matters, both communities continue to demonstrate their leadership.

“To know that over 90 grants this year have been awarded by the Salt River and Gila River communities to cities, towns, counties and organizations throughout the state is a true testament of their commitment and investment to build a better Arizona.”