Indian Country Today recently ran a story about NAFSA, and what we are trying to accomplish for Indian Country and our member tribes and tribal entities. We encourage you to read the full article, but we wanted to highlight the sections that really explain why tribal lending is a vital industry for economic development in Indian Country.
The Chippewa Cree use their lending profits to maintain and grow the business, and have a significant portfolio. They are also pay uncovered elder costs, amenities like coats for all school children, cultural activities, and rebuilding its clinic, which was wiped out in a flood. Plans for economic development include a grocery store and other basic needs.
Chairman Jim Williams of the Lac Vieux Desert Band echoed [Plain Green’s Jay] Abassi’s enthusiasm. His tribe got into the business in 2011 after intense research and preparation. The tribe suffered a huge decline in gaming revenue in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so it was probably the first tribe to own its financial services. His message to interested tribes is that this is one of the best businesses for tribes to be in because it harnesses technology and leverages tribal sovereignty to take advantage of regulatory advantages in the financial space.
The tribe employs 40 people, 15 percent of whom are tribal. The revenue funds 140 tribal government employees, provides money for funding government; revenue has supplemented higher education scholarships, created homeownership opportunities, recently built a new tribal medical center, provided new squad cars for law enforcement, created cultural preservation programs, social service programs (burial funds), renovated the tribal court system, tribal elder home care and transport, and a gathering place for long term medical care.
You can read the full article at Indian Country Today.