Opponents Gear For Tobacco-Free Override - NVision 2009 LEAD Program
-1. 77 percent of youth report using some type of commercial tobacco for non-religious, non-ceremonial use;
-2. 36 percent of Diné youth are smoking on a daily basis
-3. 18 percent of Diné fifth and sixth graders are chewing smokeless tobacco
-4. 56 percent of Diné ninth and tenth graders are chewing smokeless tobacco
— Source: Thomas Walker Economic issues:
A 2005 Federal Reserve Bank study examined the effect of Delaware’s tobacco ban and found that “revenues from the state’s three gaming facilities declined significantly after the implementation of the smoke-free law.”
A 2007 University of Louisville study concluded after statistical analysis that the effect of a comprehensive smoking ban results in a large decrease in slot machine revenue.
A 2008 Colorado Business Journal study found that after the smoking ban was implemented, there was a 15 percent gross gaming profit decline and some small casinos were forced to close.
— Source: Navajo Gaming Enterprise
By Kathy Helms
WINDOW ROCK — Members of the Health & Social Services Committee are dismayed with President Joe Shirley Jr.’s veto of the Navajo Nation Commercial Tobacco-Free Act of 2008 and have asked for a special session to override the veto.
“We feel strongly his decision to veto this legislation was a reaction to Navajo Gaming Enterprise’s issued statement that 40 percent of Navajo jobs would be compromised if this act was passed,” said Thomas Walker Jr., HSSC chair. “He is failing to see the overall impact on the Navajo people.”
The ban would prohibit the use of tobacco products in public places, places of employment, and shared public airspace within the Navajo Nation — a move which has upset proponents of the upcoming Fire Rock Casino in Churchrock.
A special session is expected to be held sometime this week. If Walker’s move for an override is approved by Ethics and Rules Committee, once it reaches the Navajo Nation Council floor, it will go up for a vote without further debate.
“Before summer session when there was lobbying going on, we picked up on how the gaming office had raised questions and issues and had begun a campaign to defeat the legislation for their own purposes, which is to protect the economic interests, or potential interest, that that office has,” Walker said.
“This is not a casino law, this is not a gaming law or economics law. This is health law, health policies, and that’s why we’re pushing it still.”
George Hardeen, communications director for the Office of the President/Vice President, said Shirley vetoed the legislation a month ago. “Navajos should wonder how serious the committee’s dismay is if it took this long to express it.
“Since the Council passed this legislation — barely — in mid-July, I’ve seen just one person smoking a cigarette on the Navajo Nation,” Hardeen said Friday. “There will be 100,000 people in Window Rock for the fair this weekend. The only people you’ll see smoking are the guys running the carnival rides, and they’ll be gone by Monday.
“While obviously well-intentioned, this is a ban that the Navajo Nation doesn’t need because it tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said.
Budget and Finance Committee Chairman LoRenzo Bates agreed, citing his chapter of Upper Fruitland as example. “Navajo people have respect for each other. I have never seen somebody pull up and light up a cigarette at Upper Fruitland Chapter or the senior center.
“I have never seen anybody smoke in any of the governmental buildings within Navajo. At rodeos, when that grandstand is filled, I haven’t seen any. They’ll walk away and smoke someplace else — again, because we have respect for each other.
“I’ll support a smoking ban within reason, but the way it’s written now, it’s not within reason,” he said. “Smokers are going to smoke — bottom line. Take away all the cigarettes, all the tobacco on Navajo, and those folks are going to go off Navajo to buy it, and those off-reservation vendors are going to love it.”
Walker said the ban would not infringe on the religious right to use ceremonial tobacco.
“We respect the religious rights of people, and this law reaffirms that. The separation of church and state is clear in the legislation.”
Upon passage of the legislation, policies have to be developed on how the law will be enforced, he said. “The veto message hinted that it’s going to be hard to enforce. How does the president know? He wants to talk details now. He jumped ahead. The law will enable us to create such policies. That’s where the details come in.”
According to Navajo Gaming Enterprise, the scope of the act goes well beyond any legislation of its kind to date. The ban will affect the ability to obtain adequate financing for future Navajo casinos. “Indeed, a planned travel center casino along U.S. Interstate 40 in Arizona will likely be canceled, as well as a larger resort casino further west,” Navajo Gaming Enterprise states in an open letter to Council.
“The Gaming Enterprise has been in negotiations with a number of banks for such financing. When the Tobacco-Free legislation was passed, we received written communication from a bank stating predicted revenue declines ‘would potentially impact financing pricing terms, covenants, and could potentially limit interest investors. The potential for a failed offering could also exist.’”
Walker stated in a response letter that Taos Mountain Casino, owned and operated by Taos Pueblo, has not allowed any commercial tobacco smoking since it opened in 1994, “and it is a highly successful and profitable operation which has benefited from reduced operating costs.”
NVision Now Recruiting For 2009 LEAD Program
Fellow Application Deadline October 22, 2008
Longmont, CO - First Nations Development Institute's Leadership & Entrepreneurial Apprentice Development (LEAD) Program is a unique American Indian nonprofit leadership development opportunity for motivated individuals seeking to create a stronger future for tribal or reservation-based nonprofit organizations.
The goal of the program is to support the growth of future American Indian nonprofit leaders by educating and training emerging leaders in Native nonprofit management. First Nations has selected NVision, a national non-profit organization and affiliate project of the Seventh Generation Fund based in Longmont, CO, to serve as the host organization for the Colorado LEAD cohort program.
Five to twelve emerging Native professionals in the Denver/Boulder metro area will be selected for the year-long program who are interested in acquiring the professional development, mentorship and leadership training opportunities provided by the program. NVision, in partnership with First Nations Development Institute, will seek to accomplish this goal by offering leadership development opportunities for emerging Native leaders who are either seeking to work in the nonprofit field or are already employed by a Native nonprofit.
The Colorado LEAD cohort will be comprised of the following activities, which are funded by First Nations Development Institute.
1. Monthly mentoring meetings to be held at various locations throughout the Denver/Boulder metro area. NVision leadership will host these meetings that will provide important educational and professional development opportunities through engagement with local Native nonprofit and/or business leaders who will serve as mentors to LEAD fellows.
2. Quarterly training sessions to be facilitated by either NVision or First Nations Development Institute that will be centered on the following areas: Native Leadership, Fundraising, Program Management & Evaluation, and Financial Management.
3. Quarterly symposiums and networking events will be hosted by NVision for LEAD fellows with Native and non-Native non-profit, business and community leaders.
4. Attendance at LEAD training events including the annual LEAD Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico April 7-9th, 2009. LEAD fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in a portion of the Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) annual conference to be held in Albuquerque April 7-8, 2009. LEAD fellows' travel and participation at the NAP & LEAD annual conferences will be fully funded by First Nations Development Institute.
Please note this is a yearlong commitment from November 1 to October 31, 2009. If you are interested in participating and would like to obtain a LEAD fellow application, please contact Crystal Echo Hawk, President of NVision at 303.895.0995 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are due by October 22, 2008.
Crystal Echo Hawk, NVisionTel: 303.895.0995
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon
1216 Fall River Circle
Longmont, CO 80501
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