New Mexico Tribes Discuss Proposed Compact

The gaming compact between six Native American tribes and the state of New Mexico will expire this year. But after years of negotiations, a new compact has been proposed that would raise revenue sharing percentages. The state legislature and U.S. Interior Department would have to approve the new agreement.

Leaders from more than a dozen Native American tribes recently met in Albuquerque to discuss a proposed gambling compact that would increase revenue sharing percentages.

The compacts of six tribes will expire this year. Those tribes– the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apaches, Mescalero Apaches and Acoma Pueblo, plus the non-casino tribes Jemez and Zuni Pueblos—have negotiated with Governor Susana Martinez’s administration for new gambling compacts. Other tribes operating casinos under compacts signed in 2007 would be able to sign on to the new compacts.

The proposed agreement, the result of years of negotiations, would require the approval of the state legislature and the U.S. Interior Department.

Dion Killsback, general counsel for the Jicarilla Apache, said the tribes need to be unified regarding the compact, or at least should not stand in the way of the agreement.

The Pojoaque Pueblo has filed a lawsuit in federal court that would allow it to bypass the state and arrange a compact directly with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The pueblo’s current compact will expire June 30.