Left to Right: Ernest Stevens, Margo Gray, Pam Shaw, Erin Kekahbah, Roy Ball, Pattie Kramer, Jim Lessert and Gena Warren (Courtesy Photo)
Courteys NCAIED/Kaw Nation
Left to Right: Ernest Stevens, Margo Gray, Pam Shaw, Erin Kekahbah, Roy Ball, Pattie Kramer, Jim Lessert and Gena Warren

Kaw Nation Receives National Award for Visionary Leadership in Gaming


For its demonstrated leadership in tribal gaming and efforts to "buy Indian", Kaw Gaming, Inc. has been honored with a Tribal Gaming Visionary award. Bestowed by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), the Tribal Gaming Visionary award is given to an individual, gaming leadership, gaming enterprise or tribal leadership for their efforts in promoting Native-to-Native business along with exemplary contributions to create jobs for Native people and community. The Kaw Nation was selected because of their diligence in utilizing Native-owned businesses to create jobs for Native Americans, promoting economic growth and sustainability through their SouthWind Casino enterprise.

RELATED: Kaw Nation to Boost Revenues, Add Jobs With Casino Expansion

The Kaw Nation, which operates Kaw Gaming, Inc. and owns multiple casinos in northern Oklahoma, was the first and only tribe to go through a two-part approval process in Oklahoma for Indian Gaming Land Trust Development. These changes were initiated from top tribal leaders who worked hand-in-hand with the gaming enterprise to create a path of economic synergy to grow its casino presence in northern Oklahoma. Kaw Nation and Kaw Nation Gaming Enterprise maximized the location by opening its newest Braman Casino and thereby increased profits for the nation.

Each year the NCAIED presents five national awards during the annual Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas. NCAIED Board Members make nominations through a competitive process until the final winners are selected by vote. Kaw Nation competed against numerous other Tribal Nations before receiving the award. President of the Board of Directors Erin Kekahbah and Chief Operating Officer Pam Shaw of Kaw Gaming, Inc. accepted the award—a special drum—on behalf of the Kaw Nation. “We are so honored to bring this prestigious award home to Oklahoma,” commented Shaw. “I am so proud of our tribal leadership for their visionary efforts that are setting an example for tribes around the country.”

Former NCAIED Board Member and Oklahoma tribal advocate Margo Gray added, “Our goal at the National Center is to create opportunities for Native-owned businesses to thrive in Indian Country and work with progressive tribal nations whose leadership understands the importance of Native-to-Native business, which creates commerce and jobs while protecting tribal sovereignty. Kaw Nation is an excellent example of this.”

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