Navajo Nation — No Margin for Error … the Stakes are High

Interview with Brian Parrish, Interim CEO, Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprises

Throughout the past year of the pandemic, TG&H/Raving has interviewed several CEOs, Tribal leaders, and general managers from across the country. Many Tribal casinos have been open for months, some recovering lost revenue surprisingly well, providing the vital revenue needed for their Tribal communities.

The Navajo Nation has not been as fortunate.

Navajo Nation was closed for one year and two days. The Tribe instituted curfews, travel restrictions, and closures, many of which are still in place. It’s the largest Tribal Nation in the U.S., covering three states: Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico and is approximately the size of West Virginia.

On March 19, 2021, gaming operations opened up for two of their properties, at 25% capacity and only to Tribal members.

Of the 110 chapters, the Navajo Nation employs team members from 105. The Tribal employment rate is 85%. Parrish overseas a billion-dollar economic machine reliant on tourism. They are at the tipping point for extraordinary and diverse economic development and diversification.

“We’ve got to get our team back and working,” Parrish states with emotion. When asked by Raving CEO Deana Scott about the last year, he states that the past several months have been about “Preserving our enterprise … it’s not about restructuring debt; we’re trying to save communities, businesses, and people.”

This is part one of a two-part interview series with Parrish. Part II will discuss leadership in times of chaos. Don’t miss the next article by subscribing to TG&H and Raving Industry Reports.


Christine Faria 52 Articles