So as we sat waiting to do a presentation on the “Guide To Booking NationalEntertainment” training program to the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association. My associate (Gary Jourdain) and I (Corey […]
So as we sat waiting to do a presentation on the “Guide To Booking NationalEntertainment” training program to the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association. My associate (Gary Jourdain) and I (Corey White) discovered we knew several people at this rare gathering of leaders. As we sat in the audience part of the room before the meeting started, I was talking with a person I had met several years ago at the Great Plains Indian Gaming Association conference at Mystic Lake Casino. I will not disclose the name or Tribal affiliation of this person as that is not what the focus of this post is.
While we talked, the discussion led to Native entertainers and who we (CRW Productions) now represented. After explaining that our purpose there was not to book concerts or Native comedy shows, but was to introduce a new training program. As I started to ramble on about the different aspects of what we are starting and how it will create positive effects on all aspects of Native entertainment, the statement was made “Native entertainers have no value to casinos” by this person. Insert sad face here 🙁
Unfortunately, this is the standard rule. I have heard many casino employees say “Native shows don’t work here, so we don’t do them.”
This mindset is because the third-party talent buyers are not and have not ever been interested in developing Native artists or shows because it takes time, a lot of time. And they would have to establish relationships with not only Native artists but the crowds that attend these shows along with learning the dynamics of the culture.
The much easier path for them has been to consistently refer to the couple of Native shows they have booked in the distant past that failed. This statement has been repeated enough throughout the last 20 years that we say it about our people and our entertainers. We have grown to avoid them and refer to them as having no value to us.
Yes, it is first and for most true that these casinos are businesses and run on numbers for the production of profit. But it also true that we have an opportunity here to change the way future generations view Native entertainment and entertainers. We have never had the chance to share our experiences, failures, and successes in a secure public forum like this. So let’s learn from one another and show support by keeping each other informed about new artists, great shows, even show ideas you would like to see from Native entertainers. Most important, let’s not speak of one another as having no value, that thought process was a not created by Indian country and should never make its way into our communities or businesses.
No casino will ever book Native shows every weekend, but if every casino did one event per year, it would give hundreds of new opportunities for these entertainers to grow in popularity and gain more financial value.
If “value” is what you are looking for. Get the Tribes youth group to book the artists and show they would like to see, as most of these artists do workshops and motivational speaking in addition to their stage shows. You then have the youth program approach the Tribally owned casino and say “These Native entertainers want to come and positively influence our futures, the artists also stated that they would throw in a show for the casino, will you guys pay for it?”
No dollar “value” can match the opportunity to change even one young Tribal member’s entire life and show them opportunities that they may not know they have.
On average these shows can cost between $1,500 to 10k.
I do not need to list the statistics of suicide and continued abuse in Indian Country for you to see the instant “value” of these entertainers and shows.
Book the shows, stick with it, don’t give up, do it til it’s expected, and keep pushing for an overall change in this attitude of “no value.”