Tag Archives: Navajo Nation

AIGA's Spicer Was Featured Speaker in London

Valerie Spicer, Executive Director Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA), was a featured panelist at ICE Totally Gaming seminar, “Opportunities in Indian Country” on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, in London, UK.  The seminar is co-produced by ICE Totally Gaming and Victor Rocha of PECHANGA.net in cooperation with Clarion Gaming’s Ewa Bakun.  Spicer is featured on the panel “Tribal Perspectives on internet gaming and overview of the tribal iGaming ventures.”

“I’m very fortunate that Valerie is able to join me at the ICE Totally Gaming conference in London as a panelist for the Opportunities in Indian Country:  Tribal Gaming Seminars,” said Victor Rocha.  “Val brings an extraordinary background in tribal gaming having worked in both the public and private sectors.  She not only has the respect of our industry, she was recently recognized as a Great Woman of Gaming, Proven Leader by Casino Enterprise Management.  I couldn’t ask for a better person to represent Indian Country in Europe.”

ICE Totally Gaming is the biggest gaming exhibition in the world. ICE 8 Conferences provide in-depth opportunities to learn through case studies, interactive discussions and focused networking about the most exciting areas in gaming. The seminars on Opportunities in Indian Country are free to participants at ICE Totally Gaming and designed to educate the European gaming industry about tribal gaming, the opportunities and impacts.

“The European market has conducted internet gaming for many years.  This program is a timely opportunity for us to engage with this market.  We anticipate an excellent exchange of information,” said Valerie Spicer, Executive Director AIGA. “Tribes will get qualified information on internet and social gaming and the potential business opportunities that can result, more importantly we can tell our story to the European market.  Personally I’m looking forward to explaining the difference between commercial and tribal gaming and how the economic impact from tribal gaming ripples through our communities and also positively affects our neighboring communities.”

The Arizona Indian Gaming Association has a membership of 17 tribes representing more than 90% of the Indian people living on reservations in Arizona. AIGA was established November 21, 1994 by Arizona tribal leaders.  The Association is committed to advancing the lives of Indian peoples – economically, socially and politically – so that Indian tribes in Arizona can achieve their goal of self-reliance.  Current membership includes:  Ak-Chin Indian Community, Cocopah Tribe, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fort Mojave, Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Havasupai  Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab-Paiute Tribe, Navajo Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe,  Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation,  White Mountain Apache Tribe, and the Zuni Tribe.

For more information about ICE, visit http://www.icetotallygaming.com/opportunities-indian-country or ICE Totally Gaming: http://www.icetotallygaming.com/.

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Navajo officials may expand casino alcohol use

Navajo gaming officials want to make it possible for people at the tribe’s Arizona casino to drink alcohol while they’re gambling.

Tribal law permits alcohol sales and consumption only in casino restaurants.

A bill moving through the Navajo Nation Council would allow drinks to be taken onto the casino floor.

Derrick Watchman is the chief executive of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. He says expanding areas where alcohol can be consumed would make the Twin Arrows casino near Flagstaff more competitive with other Arizona casinos.

The expansion wouldn’t carry over to the Navajo Nation’s casinos in New Mexico.

Alcohol is a touchy subject on the Navajo Nation, where the sale and consumption largely is banned.

Watchman expects the discussion over the bill to include the pervasive social ills of alcoholism.

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Navajo Generating Station worth Billions to Navajo Nation

The Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona will help contribute nearly $13 billion to the Navajo economy and help support thousands of jobs from 2020 through 2044 – if agreements can be reached to keep the plant operating beyond 2019 – according to a study prepared for the Navajo Nation and Salt River Project by the L William Seidman Research Institute at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Located on the Navajo Nation, near Page, NGS is one of the largest and most important suppliers of electricity in the Southwest.

According to the ASU report, Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine: An Economic Impact Analysis for the Navajo Nation, NGS and the Kayenta Mine, the plant’s coal supplier, will contribute $12.94 billion to the Navajo Nation economy through sustained jobs and wages if the plant was to remain operational through 2044.

NGS currently employs about 518 people, nearly 86 percent of whom are Native American.  The Kayenta Mine has more than 400 employees, of whom about 90 percent are also Native American.

“I have been saying we need to protect existing jobs on the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly.  “This study shows that the plant and the mine not only support existing jobs at the plant and mine, but support other jobs in the area.”

The ASU report examined the direct, indirect and induced economic impact of NGS and Kayenta Mine on the Navajo Nation using the IMPLAN model employed by the state of Arizona to examine various economic projections.  A full copy of the report is available at www.ngspower.com.

The study on the plant’s economic impact on the Navajo Nation is separate from a 2012 study from ASU that concluded that NGS and the Kayenta Mine will provide more than $20 billion in economic contributions throughout the state for the period measured from 2011 to 2044.  The new study examined the economic effects exclusively for the Navajo Nation.

Despite its economic importance, a number of significant challenges threaten the future viability of NGS.  To ensure future operations of NGS, the plant’s lease and various rights of way with the Navajo Nation must be extended and the coal supply contract with Peabody Energy renegotiated prior to any additional costly emission controls from the EPA.

The plant’s lease and various rights of way with the Navajo Nation are set to expire around 2019 and the Navajo Nation Council is currently considering legislation to extend them.  In addition, the plant’s owners are also renegotiating the coal supply contract with Peabody Energy.  Perhaps most significantly, the U.S. Environmental Protection has proposed additional and costly environmental rules to address regional visibility.

NGS is a coal-fired power plant that provides electricity to customers in Arizona, Nevada and California, and energy to pump water through the Central Arizona Project.  The participants in NGS include the plant’s operator, SRP; the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Arizona Public Service Co.; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Tucson Electric Power Co. and NV Energy.

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Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort To Open Memorial Weekend

 

The newest casino in the state — and the first in Arizona for the Navajo Nation — is set to open Memorial Weekend.

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise announced that the grand opening of its Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, located along I-40, exit 219, just east of Flagstaff, is set for  May 24.

Grand opening events throughout Memorial weekend will highlight Navajo traditions while showcasing the property’s state-of-the art gaming, luxurious resort accommodations, fine dining and culturally infused architecture.

The 267,000 SF facility, built by Hunt Construction, showcases Navajo culture and features commissioned artists’ original paintings and other artworks. The structure was designed by the Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas.

“Twin Arrows will create a new benchmark in gaming entertainment while improving the economic health and prosperity of the Navajo Nation,” said Derrick Watchman, CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “As northern Arizona’s premier destination casino resort, Twin Arrows will create approximately 800 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $20M, including salaries and benefits.”

Phase one of the $230M facility includes 1,089 slot machines, 18 table games and 12 poker tables, live Keno, a 5-story hotel with 90 rooms and suites, 16,000 SF banquet and conference center, fully equipped fitness center, heated indoor pool and six distinct dining concepts.

The casino will operate 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The resort also offers 24-hour complimentary valet parking featuring a unique “Valet Express” mobile phone service system.

Hunt Construction recently completed the hotel, conference center, swimming pool, fitness center and casino floor with rotunda, food court, steakhouse, oyster bar, sports bar, 24-hour café, gift shop and coffee shop.

More than 400 Navajo construction workers were employed on the project that began September 2011. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority also worked to prepare the site for construction with the installation of a wastewater treatment plant that recycles well water for landscaping, a cell tower and electric substation that brings additional power to nearby residents and businesses.

“We are grateful to The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas and Hunt Construction Group for their attention to detail and willingness to incorporate the vision of our team in the exterior and interior construction, designs and décor,” Watchman said. “We are proud to be able to incorporate so many aspects of our art and culture in the Twin Arrows property.”

Amenities include:

Exterior

>> The main drive and porte corchere are expressed architecturally as the upward movement of ancestors through the Four Worlds.

>> A water feature at the entrance symbolizes the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and seek new worlds to live in.

>> The hotel tower features a dimensional over-scaled weave pattern, suggesting the work of hands and hearts; the weaving of baskets, textiles, and song.

>> The texture and lines sweeping over the façade of the lower casino buildings relates to the winds sweeping across the Nation bringing life to the Dine.

>> A cascading glass entry to the south of the casino façade recalls the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River.

Entrance

>> At the main entrance of the casino guests enter through a black textured stone vestibule, a contemporary abstraction of the First World.

>> The entrance also contains stone soffits that depict the 1st World of the Insect people, the 2nd World of Bluebirds and Swallow people, the 3rd World of the Grasshoppers, and the 4th World where Man and Woman came to be.

>> A custom chandelier in the rotunda depicts the vertical rise of the people through each world. Hand blown glass rings represent the colors of each world. Droplets of crystal cascade through the rings like water two chrome tubes in the center of the rings symbolize the reeds that were used to enter through the hard sky of the world.

>> The rotunda floor mirrors the chandelier in an infinity circle reflection.

Casino

>> The casino’s theme is “The Glittering World.”

>> Its ceiling depicts a Navajo night sky and the Milky Way with custom decorative chandeliers.

>> At the center of the casino a VIP area is surrounded by a custom silver and bronze metal chain drapery. The metal drapery creates an oval with grass and reed designs.

>> Crystal lanterns surround the outer layers, and inside a reflective chandelier with independent rays of light form a central ceiling feature.

>> Additional detail throughout the casino recalls the glittering Dook’ o’osliid, the western mountain that “light shines from within”.

Other Interiors

>> Custom commissioned artwork is featured throughout the resort, casino and conference center.

>> Each restaurant has a different theme celebrating Navajo traditions.

>> Resort rooms and suites (available in three different configurations) feature a contemporary décor. Select rooms have panoramic mountain views and the iBahn entertainment system, which features the latest technology in room entertainment (a personalized multimedia HDTV experience).

>> The resort is further embellished with the sacred colors of the Navajo Nation and the unique basket weave design

Phase 2

The HOZHO Spa will open in early 2014. HOZHO is a Navajo concept meaning ‘balance and beauty’. The spa will be connected to the existing heated indoor pool and will include two additional mineral pools and a tranquility room. Guests will also be able to select from a variety of therapeutic massages and extensive line of SPA oils and treatments. An additional 110 rooms and suites will also be added to the resort during Phase 2.

“Ya at’eeh. We welcome Arizona residents and tourists to experience our world-class gaming and array of dining options this summer,” said Maureen Curley, chairwoman of the Board of Directors for the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “We are committed to building business opportunities for the Navajo Nation as we provide an economic boost to the entire region and put Navajo people to work.”

Twin Arrows is the fourth casino of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. More information on Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/TwinArrowsAZ.

 

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Navajo Nation looks to fill jobs at Flagstaff casino

The Navajo Nation is looking to fill 800 jobs at its newest casino opening this year near Flagstaff.

A job fair is being held Friday through Sunday in Flagstaff to fill accounting, human resources, marketing, hotel administration, food and beverage, training and other positions. Drug screening and background checks are being done on site, and candidates could be offered a job on the spot.

Navajos will be given preference for employment.

The $150 million Twin Arrows casino along Interstate 40 will have a hotel, conference center, spa and golf course. It is scheduled to open in mid-May.

The Navajo Nation operates three casinos in New Mexico. The Twin Arrows casino will be the first on the Arizona portion of the reservation.

Hospitality And Casino Construction Increase On Tribal Lands - Gila River Indian Community

Hospitality And Casino Construction Increase On Tribal Lands

The Gila River Indian Community is building two new hotels that total more than 200 rooms, a new, 70,000 SF casino, and a conference center. The Navajo Nation is building its first Arizona casino near Flagstaff.

“(Construction in Indian country) is actually one of the market sectors that is really thriving,” says Rogers Owers, an attorney with Andante Law Firm, whose speciality is construction laws in Indian country. “Whether it’s design, construction, or brokering the real estate deals, cash flows into the industry as a whole.”

In Tucson, a new 44,500 SF convention center and a 1,120-car parking structure opened at Casino del Sol in November. Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino increased its guest capacity to 300 rentable rooms, and renovated its restaurant in July.

As several Arizona tribes reveal major hospitality and casino construction projects, one thing is a sure bet — 2012 is shaping up to be another jackpot year.

The Arizona Department of Gaming reports that trial casino revenues steadily declined from 2008 to 2010, but returned to the green in 2011. During this period, hospitality and casino construction in Indian country slowed.

Talking Stick Resort, which opened its doors on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in 2010, was the last significant Native American casino and hospitality project in almost a year.

Today, several sizable construction projects in Indian country are underway or open for business. The largest, a multifaceted undertaking by the Gila River Indian Community, includes a new 90-room hotel and the demolition and remodel of Vee Quiva Casino in West Phoenix, plus a new conference center, 130-room hotel and restaurant at Lone Butte Casino in Chandler.

The Gila River Indian Community, going all in, also is reportedly opening a new hotel at Toka Sticks Golf Course in Mesa, which is a short distance from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

The construction venture at Vee Quiva is still in its developmental stages, according to Melody Hudson, public relations manager for Gila River Casinos. It is expected to open in the summer of 2013 at a cost of $135M.

“Rebuilding Vee Quiva Casino is part of a strategic plan the Gila River Indian Community has set in place to refresh our casinos while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Community and creating new job opportunities in Arizona,” says Anthony Villareal Sr., Casino Expansion Owners Team chairman.

After its reconstruction, Vee Quiva Casino will total nearly 175,000 SF — almost double its original size.

Further north, the Navajo Nation broke ground last March on Twin Arrows Casino outside of Flagstaff, its first casino in Arizona.

The 320,000 SF, $150M casino, scheduled to open in July, will include a hotel and conference center. General contractor is Hunt Construction and the architect is Friedmutter Group.

Some casinos, on the other hand, already have their cards on the table. Casino Del Sol and Harrah’s Ak-Chin opened their newly renovated facilities in 2011.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe renovated and expanded Casino Del Sol’s hotel and convention center in Tucson to the tune of $75M. The additions included 215 new rooms, a conference center, a parking structure and a spa. It is the second phase of the tribe’s ongoing hospitality and casino refurbishment project. McCarthy Building Companies served as GC and LEO A DALY was the architect.

McCarthy project manager Kurt Nyberg says construction went smoothly because the tribe first commissioned his company in 2003.

“What helped with this expansion is that the Casino Del Sol had gained building experience when both firms worked on the original casino project,” Nyberg says, “so the process was not entirely new from the owner’s perspective.”

Another big player in Arizona, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort, finished its hotel and restaurant renovations in July after 11 months of construction. Lead designer Jason Ploszaj of RSP Architects says the construction was vital, because the “hotel was turning away guests nightly.”

The expansion, a $20M, 5-story hotel tower, doubled the number of rentable rooms at the Maricopa resort.

“In order to better serve guests, Harrah’s decided that after more than 10 years of success, and expansion of 152 new hotel rooms was necessary to refresh the hotel experience,” Ploszaj says.

For more information on casino and hospitality construction visit, ciic.construction.asu.edu

 

AZRE Magazine March/April 2012

Antelope Canyon

The Beauty Within Antelope Canyon

The most photographed and most visited slot canyon in the American Southwest calls Page Arizona near Lake Powell home. Within the 120-foot walls of the stunning Antelope Canyon lies a sacred and spiritual place on the LeChee Chapter land of the Navajo Nation.

Divided into two parts, Upper and Lower Canyon, you are greeted with spectacles unimaginable as light shoots onto the canyon floor illuminating the sandstone- and limestone-mixed walls painted by nature in radiating hues of warm tans, rustic oranges and sun-burnt reds. As many choose to hike the canyon, it serves as a haven for the photographer in you, as the beauty within the canyon practically places one-of-a-kind photo opportunities in front of your lens.

The Upper part of the canyon received the Navajo name of Tse’ bighanilini, meaning, “the place where water runs through rocks.” This portion of the canyon is highly visited due to it being on ground level requiring minimal hiking or climbing by its visitors. This half of the canyon is an ideal location for capturing the radiating sunbeams filling the canyon as they occur most often in the Upper Canyon. The attraction of the alluring shafts of light is best viewed from mid-March through early October.

The Navajo named the Lower Canyon, Hasdestwazí, meaning, “spiral rock arches.” This half of the canyon requires more hiking and climbing via the installed stairways and ladders along with the canyon walls that take on a “V” shape. Although this portion of the canyon does not attract as many photo-hungry patrons as the Upper Canyon, it does boast sites less commonly photographed with much less fellow visitors. Lighting in this half of the canyon is best in the early and late afternoon.

Within the unique canyon that nature continues to create is the world’s highest natural bridge spanning approximately 275 ft., 42 ft. thick and 33 ft. wide. This spectacle that takes place outside the canyon walls has appropriately taken the name Rainbow Bridge Trail.

As the surrounding desert landscape is no stranger to flash flooding caused by seasonal monsoon rainstorms, the canyon walls have been carved out over time to create this truly breathtaking space and patterned walls that many flock to year-round to view. Known to the Navajo as a sacred place, being inside the canyon walls is much like being in a cathedral; the sight is simply moving and the experience is ever lasting.

To visit this hidden Arizona gem and have it come to life right in front of your eyes, it is best to schedule a tour ahead of time. In that, be prepared with the newly enforced time limit of two-hours inside both the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. Many of the guided tours second as an instructional photo tour allowing you to capture the best images within the canyon.

To learn more about Antelope Canyon and schedule your tour, visit antelopeslotcanyon.com.