San Diego State University College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

The Brookings Institution Updates 96 year-old Research on Indian Gaming

Dr. Kate Spilde, professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, moderates forum in Washington D.C.

The Brookings Institution Updates 96 year-old Research on Indian Gaming

February 25, 2019

By Sofia Bert

February 25, 2019

It has been 96 years since the Brookings Institution has done any research to follow up on their expedition into Indian Country in 1923 that resulted in the Meriam Report.

“The Brookings Institute is a very high profile, well-respected think tank but they never really followed up tribal issues after that important work,” said Dr. Kate Spilde, Professor in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and Endowed Chair of the Sycuan Institute of Tribal Gaming (SITG) at SDSU.

On Feb. 14 in Washington D.C., Spilde helped moderate a forum held at the Brookings Institution, titled “The Future of American Indian Gaming: The Next 30 Years.” The Chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Cody Martinez, was a speaker on the panel and shared his tribe’s economic development journey. Also in attendance was Adam Day, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the CSU and Chief Administrative Office for the Sycuan Band.

The Brookings Institution is a non-profit organization that conducts in-depth research for solving societal problems at the local, national and global level, according to their website. This Institution of over 300 scholars is located in Washington D.C. and has been around since 1916.

The goal of the event, said Spilde, was to showcase all of the research done since the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and with the help from stories of high-level Tribal Leaders, inspire the Brookings Institution to pursue more research with tribal leaders and scholars in Indian Country.

Spilde said, “With many public policy issues, you can work your whole career and see very little change; when you’re working in this issue of tribal economic development, you can see this change almost every six months and it’s very inspiring.”

Spilde’s colleague Dr. Randall Akee, an Associate Professor at UCLA, who received a two-year fellowship from the Brookings Institute, asked her and the SITG to partner with him on this event.

“96 years later we held this event and really put tribal governments and sovereignty on the agenda at Brookings, and luckily [Akee] will still be there for another whole year and a half after this, and he’ll be able to keep developing their research in this area,” Spilde said.

Spilde said that SDSU is very lucky to host the SITG because it is the only Institute of its kind to fund the national effort of research on tribal government gaming. According to Spilde, the three-pronged goal of the SITG is to teach tribal casino operations classes, do outreach to tribal communities, and work on research and public policy that impacts Indian Country.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

More PSFA Stories