Commentary: Navajo Gaming fulfills vision of Navajo people, leaders past & present

Quincy Natay and Brian Parrish
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise
Quincy Natay

On Sept. 20, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors welcomed President Begaye, Navajo Nation Council delegates, tribal division directors, Leupp Chapter officials and the public to the groundbreaking of our new, $10 million Interstate 40 Travel Center at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort. 

There we unveiled the first-ever Navajo internship program called “Let’s Build a Business” for 20 Navajo college interns from nearby universities and colleges, including Diné College, Navajo Technical University, ASU and U of A. 

These students will be paid to learn what it takes to build a successful business. They will help plan, design and build our travel center, and be mentored in business operations, management, marketing and human resources. 

Navajo Gaming is a wholly-owned Navajo Nation business entity. We were created in September 2006. We recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of our successful and popular Fire Rock Casino in Church Rock, N.M. 

Since its inception, we have opened three more casinos, employed nearly 1,200 people with 85 percent Navajo employment, and have returned millions of dollars to the Navajo Nation. 

This year we supported Navajo Nation fairs with more than $200,000 in donations. On Sept. 15, in conjunction with the Leupp Chapter, we proudly hosted the Western Navajo Agency Council’s quarterly meeting at Twin Arrows, the only Navajo resort and the only AAA four-diamond resort in northern Arizona. Earlier, we were honored to host the 3rd annual Navajo Nation Economic Summit and Chief Manuelito Scholarship Award presentation and banquet.

Brian Parrish

Navajo Gaming is a part of the Navajo family. Our employees come from all across the Navajo Nation. Our business plans for the future are audacious and exciting. These plans will require the talents of Navajos with years of experience as well as young Navajos now in the process of acquiring their educations in business, marketing, accounting, hotel and restaurant management, culinary arts, IT and various trades.

Navajo Gaming is proud that we are fulfilling the vision of the Navajo people and Navajo leaders, past and present, who saw the great revenue-generating and employment potential of the gaming industry and supported bringing it to the Navajo Nation. In this way, we are fulfilling the vision to see sovereignty flourish through ingenuity, creativity, economic development and increasing prosperity.

A recent economic impact study of Navajo Gaming found “the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise generated significant economic activity which had an overall economic output of $1.3 billion.”

Over the last 10 years through July, Navajo Gaming has paid over $145 million in interest and principal to the Navajo Nation Master Trust Fund for future generations, $18.3 million in gaming distributions to the Navajo Nation and $60.2 million in revenue sharing payments to the states of Arizona and New Mexico.

Moving forward, Navajo Gaming will continue to enhance our offerings, protect the investment of the Navajo people, and create more jobs so our employees can work closer to home and provide for their families on the Navajo Nation. 

Quincy Natay is chairman of the board, and Brian Parrish is the interim CEO of
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise.