From Enterprise Staff
Herbert Johnson Jr. is leading the growing effort to build support for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and Naskila Casino throughout the state.
Johnson, a citizen of the tribe, is the new Community Development Manager for Naskila Casino, the tribe’s electronic bingo facility. In this role, he works to educate community groups about the tribe and about Naskila Casino. Thanks in part to his work, almost 100 community and civic groups have approved resolutions expressing their support for the tribe’s right to offer electronic bingo on its reservation.
“I am very honored to continue our relationship with our supporters and building new bridges within our East Texas region,” Johnson said. “I want to continue great relations with our neighbors within the city, county, chambers of commerce and civic organizations and to continue educating state and local leaders about what Naskila provides.”
Johnson, son of former Chief Skalaaba Herbert Johnson Sr., previously led public relations at Naskila Casino. He is well-connected in the community and has met with many groups around the region to help them learn about the tribe.
Community support is critical as the tribe is hopeful that the U.S. Congress will pass legislation that would treat the tribe like other federally recognized tribes in the country. Other tribes with gaming facilities are regulated under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), but the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in El Paso are regulated under a different structure. Congressman Morgan Luttrell has introduced the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas Tribal Gaming Regulatory Compliance Act, which would ensure all federally recognized tribes that are eligible for gaming in the U.S. are regulated under IGRA.
Naskila Casino is responsible for 800 local jobs and $212 million per year in local economic activity, according to the Texas Forest Country Partnership.
“Herb is a great representative of our tribe and a champion for Naskila Casino,” Chairman Ricky Sylestine of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council said. “People in this community know and appreciate Herb, and I am glad he will continue to build relationships with our neighbors and help them learn about our history, our traditions and our contributions to Deep East Texas.”