Confirmed on June 22, 2010, as chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Tracie Stevens became the first woman to lead the oversight body for the $27 billion Indian gaming industry.
A member of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington State, Stevens was born in Los Angeles, but returned to Tulalip as a child. In 1985, she became the first member of her immediate family to graduate high school, which she did in Yakima, Washington, in 1985. She began her professional career in the gaming industry in 1995 at her tribe’s casino (Quil Ceda Creek Casino), located north of Seattle. There, she worked in human resource management, employee recruitment and training, and operations planning and analysis, before becoming the Tulalip Casino’s executive director for strategic planning in 2001.
In 2003, she became a legislative policy analyst in the tribe’s government affairs office. She represented the Tulalips in negotiations to update gambling compacts between the state of Washington and all federally-recognized tribes in the state. She also lobbied state lawmakers on tribe-related bills, including a controversial measure in 2005 to allow the Tulalips to retain millions in sales tax revenue collected at Quil Ceda Village. The bill did not pass.
In 2006, Stevens was elevated to senior policy analyst, a position she held until 2009. Also in 2006, Stevens received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences from the University of Washington-Seattle, an accomplishment that took many years, as she had to attend night school while working.
In July 2009, Stevens accepted her first position in the Obama administration, becoming senior advisor to Larry EchoHawk, assistant secretary for Indian affairs in the U.S. Department of Interior. In this role, she provided policy guidance on tribal issues such as gaming, law enforcement, energy, tribal consultation, economic development, land-into-trust, tribal government disputes, budget priorities, and treaty and natural resource rights.
Stevens and her husband, Kyle, have one daughter, Cierra.