Advertise:   712.224.5420

NIGA hopes to raise $1M for Katrina relief efforts

The National Indian Gaming Association hopes to raise $1 million to help tribes affected by Hurricane Katrina.

NIGA set up the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund to accept donations for tribes in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Six federally recognized tribes are located in the states and are dealing with the effects of the disaster, from downed power lines to housing evacuees.

"We�re going to do everything we can to find a place for them,� said Phillip Martin, the chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. "But we have our hands full trying to get water and power back to the reservation. Clean water is of the greatest importance right now �= because so much depends on it."

Efforts are already underway in Indian Country to help people affected by the disaster. The National Congress of American Indians is coordinating donation and individual tribes are reaching out.

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, which was spared any damage, is donating food, water and supplies to local shelters that are housing thousands of hurricane refugees. A portion of the proceeds from upcoming events at the tribe's casino will be donated to the effort.

"What we saw on the news was total devastation," said Stuart John, the interim general manager at the Coushatta Casino Resort. "Many men, women, and children will be without homes, food, and clothing for weeks to come. Our casino associates were quick to reach out to those who sought shelter in Allen Parish."

The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan is holding an Indian taco fundraiser next week to raise money for the victims. The tribe will match all the proceeds.

In Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation is donating all of its Labor Day gaming profits and a week's worth of fuel sales to the disaster effort. The Muscogee Creek Nation is working directly with Bogalusa, Louisiana, to provide supplies to the city.

The Cherokee Nation sent 50 firefighters and is sending food and water for the Mississippi Choctaws to distribute. The Miami, Tonkawa and Kaw tribes are making donations to the Red Cross.

In Montana, the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes on the Fort Belknap Reservation are donating buffalo meat and are starting a drive for clothing, blankets and other essentials.

Angel Wilson, a nurse practitioner at the Indian Health Service hospital in Rosebud, South Dakota, has been deployed to New Orleans to assist with relief efforts. Wilson is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the youngest daughter of tribal vice president Norman G. Wilson.

Donations for the NIGA fund may be sent to the Spirit of Sovereignty Foundation, attn: Hurricane Katrina Fund, 224 Second St. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.

Donations for the NCAI fund can be sent to the National Congress of American Indians 1301 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036.

Get the Story:
Sault Tribe, steelworkers do their bit for Katrina survivors (Soo Today 9/3)
Tribes offer help (The Oklahoman 9/3)
Fort Belknap joins tribes in sending aid (The Great Falls Tribune 9/6)

Relevant Links:
National Indian Gaming Association -
National Congress of American Indians -

Related Stories:
Tribes respond to Hurricane Katrina disaster (9/6)
Mississippi Choctaws hit by Hurricane Katrina (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe welcomes hurricane refugees (8/31)