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Chair, National Indian Gaming Commission

On June 25th, 2019, (Edward) E. Sequoyah Simermeyer was nominated to be the chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). According to NIGC’s website, the Commission was established with the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 and has the authority “to regulate and support tribal gaming as a means of generating revenue for tribal communities.” 

In 1995 Simermeyer was an environmental analyst with Battle Mountain Gold, and then an environmental marketing representative with Native Coffees in 1996. He would go onto receive his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1997. Simermeyer went on obtain a Master of Study in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School in 1998. He directed the Akwe:kon Center, Cornell University’s American Indian Center from 1998 to 2001 and served as a research consultant with the Johns Hopkins’ School of Public Health Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Health in 1998.

In 2002 Simermeyer was a teaching assistant at the American Indian Law Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was an intern for the National Congress of American Indians, held a judicial externship with the Superior Court the District of Columbia and was a law clerk at Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP in 2003 and then obtained his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2004. He was appointed as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior in 2007, then worked as Deputy Chief of Staff to the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs and also served as Acting Director Office of Facilities, Environmental, & Cultural Resources, Indian Affairs. From 2014-2015, Simermeyer served as counsel to U.S. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He was appointed to be an associate commissioner on the National Indian Gaming Commission on November 2nd, 2015.

Simermeyer has Navajo ancestry and is a member of the Coharie tribe.

Sources: [Bureau of Indian Affairs Press Release, 09/11/07, “Coharie tribal member nominated as NIGC chair,” Cherokee One Feather, 06/25/19, “2012 Honor Roll,” Dartmouth College, accessed 07/01/19, “2003 Annual Report,” National Congress of American Indians, accessed 07/01/19, “Class Notes,” Cornell Law School,” accessed 07/01/19, “Simermeyer named NIGC associate member,” Cherokee One Feather, 09/30/15, “Contract Costs Consultation,” National Congress of American Indians, accessed 07/03/19, “TRIBAL/INTERIOR BUDGET COUNCIL MEETING,” accessed 07/03/19,  “Sequoyah Simermeyer Nominated as NIGC Chair,” Native Business, 06/25/19, “National Indian Gaming Associated Press Release,” 11/05/15, National Indian Gaming Commission in transition in the Trump era,” Indianz, 05/08/19, “Commission,” National Indian Gaming Commission, accessed 07/02/19] 

[Source: “NCLGS Meeting Discusses New Technology, Casino Safety,” The Seminole Tribune, 01/31/18,  “Coharie tribal member nominated as NIGC chair,” Cherokee One Feather, 06/25/19, “About Us,” National Indian Gaming Commission, accessed 07/03/19]

Current Activity

Simermeyer serves as an Associate Commissioner on the National Indian Gaming Commission, where his duties include regulating the integrity of more than 506 Indian gaming facilities. Simermeyer was appointed to his current position on November 5th, 2015. 

[Source: “Commission,” National Indian Gaming Commission, accessed 07/02/19]

Simermeyer has a profile page listing him as an Adjunct Instructor with American University’s School of Professional & Extended Studies.

[Source: “Ed Simermeyer,” American University: School of Professional & Extended Studies, accessed 07/02/19]

Other Information

Simermeyer declined to join final decisions regarding gaming rights for the Ponca Tribe.

The Ponca Tribe won rights to open a casino on a piece of trust land in Carter Lake, Iowa. The project had been unable to move forward due to litigation from both Iowa and Nebraska. The National Indian Gaming Commission affirmed in three separate rulings that the Poncas had the right to operate on the land. As Associate Commissioner, Simermeyer refused to join the two final decisions in favor of the Ponca Tribe and did not explain his reasoning. 

Sources: [“Ponca Tribe secures victory in long-running battle over restoration of homelands,” Indianz, 11/15/17, “Ponca Tribe scores another decision in favor of gaming rights,” Indianz, 05/02/19, “Trump nominates new leader for National Indian Gaming Commission,” Indianz, 06/25/19]