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Arizona Indian Gaming Tribes Honor Lori Piestewa

22 April 2003

PHOENIX, Arizona – (Press Release) -- The Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA) is contributing $5,000 to honor the sacrifice of Lori Piestewa, the first U.S. female soldier killed in the Iraq war. The contribution has been sent to the memorial fund created by the Hopi Tribe for Piestewa's two children.

"The leadership of AIGA wanted to express our deep appreciation to Lori Piestewa for her service to our country. They also wanted to provide some financial support for her children," said David LaSarte, executive director of AIGA. LaSarte added that Piestewa's service to her country is not unique for Indian people. Historically, according to the Department of Defense, American Indians have the highest record of service per capita compared to any other ethnic group.

Piestewa's 507th Army Maintenance Company was ambushed March 23 near Nasiriyah, Iraq. She was one of 11 soldiers listed as "missing in action" for almost two weeks. On April 4, the Pentagon confirmed her death.

AIGA represents 17 Arizona Indian tribes. Members include the Ak-Chin Indian Community, Cocopah Tribe, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fort Mojave Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Havasupai Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab- Paiute Tribe, Navajo Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Quechan Indian Tribe, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tohono O'odham Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

Quechan Tribal Chairman, Mike Jackson, who served as an adviser with an elite Army military command center during the Viet Nam war, is AIGA President. For more information, contact David LaSarte at AIGA, (602) 258-4822.

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