A former Department of the Interior legal advisor on Indian Affairs and the chief legal officer for Sightline Payments, who both have longtime ties to the Indian gaming industry, have been chosen to create the Indian Nations Gaming and Governance Program at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV.
John Tahsuda, a principal at Navigators Global, a Washington, D.C.-based government affairs firm, and Jennifer Carleton, who joined payment processing provider Sightline last year after more than 14 years in private gaming law practice, were named distinguished fellows by the law school and tasked with creating the program and its curriculum.
Southern California’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced a $9 million donation in February 2020 to UNLV to fund tribal development programs through the university’s hospitality college and law school.
Boyd Law School Dean Leah Chan Grinvald said in a statement that Carleton and Tahsuda bring decades of experience advising and practicing before federal, state and tribal governments and agencies on the development and application of tribal gaming law, policy and regulations.
“Their connections to and experiences with Indian nations will enhance our gaming law curriculum, which already boasts the most extensive gambling jurisprudence and the only advanced gaming law degree available in the United States,” Grinvald said.
Carleton spent 10 years as the general counsel for the Oneida Tribe of Indians in Green Bay, Wisconsin, before moving to Las Vegas in 2007.
She is a former trustee of the International Association of Gaming Advisors and was previously the chair of the Indian Gaming Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
“I want to ensure that there is an educational infrastructure in place in Nevada to support the rising generation of attorneys and advisers who understand Indian gaming, its importance and its impact,” Carleton said in a statement.
Her work at the law school will be in addition to her job at Sightline.
Tahsuda was a senior counselor to the Secretary of the Interior and held the title of principal deputy assistant secretary – Indian Affairs. He was also formerly the staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and served as general counsel and legislative director of the National Indian Gaming Association. He is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
San Manuel, which owns Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in San Bernardino County, operates the Palms Casino Resort after acquiring the off-Strip property a year ago. In the 2020 announcement, tribal leaders said the donation was the single-largest philanthropic contribution made by the tribe outside of California to an educational or health care institution. Boyd Law School received $3 million of the donation and $6 million went to the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality.
Boyd’s Indian gaming program was established to create specialized academic training for law school students and attorneys seeking a master’s degree in Indian gaming law.