Puyallup Tribal Councilmember David Bean was sworn in on June 20 as vice chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). He will serve out the rest of the one-year term of the former vice chairman, then be up for full re-election at NIGA’s next national conference.
Nominated by NIGA at-large board member and Spokane Tribal Councilmember Greg Abrahamson, the vote among the NIGA board for Bean was unanimous.
“I am almost without words,” Bean said in appreciation. “It was a surprise and is an incredible honor to be recognized in this way by the NIGA board.”
Composed of tribal leaders from around the U.S., NIGA is an inter-tribal association of 184 federally recognized Indian tribes. Their mission is to protect and preserve tribal sovereignty and the ability of tribes to attain economic self-sufficiency through gaming and other forms of economic development. NIGA operates as an educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribal policy makers as well as the public on issues related to Indian gaming and tribal community development. Located on Capitol Hill and working directly with federal agencies, members of Congress and the Trump administration, NIGA works to ensure that the special status of tribes is recognized and protected when issues affecting tribal sovereignty arise.
Bean has been a NIGA board member since 2009. He then became the gaming co-chair for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, which automatically made him the Northwest delegate for NIGA.
He said his new role as vice chairman will let him continue promoting everything positive and opposing anything negative for Indian Country. “Because casinos are a big part of tribes’ economic development, we need to be on the front lines of anything impacting that positively or negatively,” he said.
Bean said that when his current term is up and it comes time for re-election, he will turn to his elders.
“For me traditionally, I would seek permission from my elders to run for that position. I’m happy to fill the role in the interim but going forward I would be talking to my elders in the community to do this full position.”
Bean emphasized that it would be impossible for him to do this work alone, expressing much gratitude for the team effort comprised of the Puyallup Tribal Council, the hardworking staff at the Tribe, and the lawyers and lobbyists in Washington, D.C. who work on behalf of the Puyallups.
“It’s important to note that this would not be possible without the full support of the Puyallup Tribal Council, the community and my family,” he said. “Our tribal council sets the legislative priorities and they have confidence in me to carry out those priorities on behalf of the tribe when it comes to members of Congress and the administration.
“I’m just going to continue keeping my sleeves rolled up and working for the Puyallup Tribe and Indian Country. I feel incredibly blessed to have this honor bestowed on me by council and community.”
Idaho House Rep. Paulette Jordan is NIGA secretary. She said Bean was nominated unanimously by the board of prominent NIGA leaders for a reason.
“Councilman Bean is the most exceptional leader I’ve had the privilege of working with. Whether it’s working with our U.S. president or local city officials, he is fighting for security and protection of the people. His passion for his people continues to inspire me and now having been sworn in as vice chair of the NIGA, he will serve all of Indian Country with even greater capacity,” she said.
“There is no one more suited to take on this role for our association that comprises the level of responsibility, ability to communicate and build support for our policies that protect our greatest interests than Councilman David Z. Bean. I count myself fortunate to work alongside him on the Hill and wherever else may be, to ensure that our future continues to grow and prosper as our ancestors had dreamed.”