Incorporating cultural design elements into tribal gaming venues

Whether to get into the gaming business is one of the largest economic decisions a tribal organization can make. The choice of design and construction partners to plan and complete the project will depend on many factors. But professionals who deal effectively and sensitively with cultural aspects in designing a tribe’s gaming venue will likely gain competitive advantage for new and repeat projects.

Native American cultures incorporate natural elements, colors, textures and animal lore. Different tribes may favor different animal totems and each has its own prohibitions on elements used in design and decor. For one Pacific Northwest tribe, feathers, or their stylistic representation, must never touch the ground. This prohibition would play a role when designers select floor coverings for a gaming or other tribal venue.

Working with tribal organizations requires designers to hone their listening skills and do exacting research. Successful projects can hinge on accurate reflections of a tribe’s cultural heritage in design strategies.

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