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NIGA Honors ‘Woman Warriors’ at Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention

NIGA honored seven Woman Warriors today. Pictured clockwise from top left: Lynn Valbuena, Melanie Benjamin, Stephanie Bryan, Bernadine Burnette, Fawn Sharp and Shannon Hosley. Woman Warrior not pictured: Virginia Hill, Indian Country Advocate, honored posthumously. (Photo compilation Native Business)

“Our Women are our strength and our resilience and ensure our future. These great Women leaders have without a doubt been strong leaders for not only the Tribal communities they represent but are the greatest example of leaders who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of Tribal government gaming and economic diversification, serving as examples for all of Indian Country.” —Ernest L. Stevens, Jr.

The National Indian Gaming Association honored seven outstanding Women for their excellence in Tribal leadership this morning at the 2019 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego, California.

This year’s class of “Women Warriors” honorees are:

  • Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota
  • Stephanie Bryan, Tribal Chair and CEO for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama
  • Bernadine Burnette, President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Arizona
  • Shannon Hosley, President, Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in Wisconsin
  • Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation in Washington State
  • Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California
  • Virginia Hill, Indian Country Advocate (Posthumously)

NIGA states: This is an amazing panel that continues to follow up on upon our previous couple of years, where we felt it necessary for the world around us to understand the powerful role that Native women play, not just in leadership, but in life. While our movement in Indian Country has always governed by our traditional values, it is vital in today’s society that we highlight the roles that women play, not just in leadership, but in the heart of our traditional community. In Native tradition, Women have always been considered as the sacred givers of life. The balance between males and females in decision making has always been important.

The 2019 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention is taking place this week, April 1 – 4, 2019, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

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